Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Newsletter - October, 2007
Dear Alumni and Friends of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences,
I am pleased to send you the first issue of the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences annual newsletter. There are many exciting things happening in the department, and this is a way to share some of our news with you.
As you know, the department is a national leader in understanding the physical and chemical processes involved in Earth's fluid envelope and the near-Earth space plasmas. These topics are more relevant than ever as human activities change our global environment and mitigation and adaptation measures are crucially necessary.
Our department receives the most research grants per capita in the UCLA College Division of Physical Sciences. Each faculty member receives an average of $400,000 to $500,000 each year. These grants help us recruit and retain excellent graduate students, and offer us the ability to provide our graduate students with research opportunities early in their careers. To a lesser extent we also offer opportunities for research to our undergraduate students, and we hope to expand these in the future.
NEW UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS
This past year the Institute of the Environment launched a new undergraduate major in environmental science. It is designed to provide broad, but fundamental training in both the scientific and social aspects of the environment. Our faculty members -- professors David Neelin and Suzanne Paulson especially -- have been very active in the creation of this program, as well as in its teaching. Its curriculum is partly filled by students choosing to take a minor in an affiliated department such as ours. http://www.ioe.ucla.edu/
Working with the Department of Mathematics, we have created a new interdisciplinary undergraduate major. With the leadership of our Professor Robert Fovell, the program is designed to provide rigorous mathematical training with a comprehensive background in topics relevant to atmospheric, oceanic and environmental sciences. The program is intended to provide particularly good preparation for graduate studies in a streamlined course of study. I am pleased that we can offer our students an alternative to the more time-consuming double major, while strengthening our ties with another department in the Division of Physical Sciences. http://www.UCLAlumni.net/AOSOct07_02?email=HAQM
NEW AND DEPARTED FACULTY MEMBERS
The department was fortunate to hire three new assistant professors this year: Burkard Baschek (from University of British Columbia and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Kristen Corbosiero (SUNY Albany and NCAR), and Curtis Deutsch (Princeton and University of Washington). These outstanding scholars and researchers will help the department maintain its outstanding programs in atmospheric science, and expand our reach in oceanic science. We look forward to welcoming them to the UCLA campus during the 2007-08 academic year. For more information on the research interests of our new faculty members, please visit http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/content/view/30/75/.
These appointments are in part to replace several recently departed faculty members who have made highly valued contributions to our department: Professors Michael Ghil (now at the Department of Land, Air, and Ocean, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris), Nicolas Gruber (environmental physics, ETH, Zurich), and Roger Wakimoto (Earth Observing Laboratory, NCAR).
Professor Kuo-Nan Liou and JPL's chief scientist for Earth science and technology spearheaded the establishment in March 2005, of a joint UCLA and JPL institute in the Earth system science field. The Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering (JIFRESSE) was subsequently established at UCLA and, in July 2006, Professor Liou was appointed by the UCLA vice chancellor for research, Dr. Roberto Peccei, as its founding director. It fosters research and graduate-training collaborations between JPL and UCLA, and its primary focus is modeling and measuring climate changes on the regional scale, with of course special attention to California. http://www.jifresse.ucla.edu/.
The Geosciences Initiative is a strategic hiring plan sponsored by the Division of Physical Sciences to foster interdisciplinary research between our department, the Earth and Space Sciences Department, the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, and possibly other geoscience units at UCLA. A preliminary plan was approved by an inter-departmental workshop in June, and we anticipate posting several job advertisements sometime this fall. This is an excellent opportunity for us to expand the breadth our study of the Earth system. Examples of areas of possible joint appointments include cryospheric physics, hydrology, light-element geochemistry and paleoclimate.
The Institute for Digital Research and Innovation (IDRE) at UCLA was established this year. It supports computing infrastructure (e.g., housing workstation clusters owned by research groups), education (e.g., courses in programming for massively parallel computers) and faculty research proposals. Professor Bjorn Stevens is our most active faculty member in IDRE, and he is leading a project to develop a new Large-Eddy Simulation code for the atmospheric boundary layer and clouds. http://www.idre.ucla.edu/
The department holds a weekly seminar on Wednesday afternoons at 4 p.m., plus several more specialized seminars. We encourage you to attend those of interest to you; the topics and schedule may be found by clicking on events at http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/. We also hold an annual student awards banquet in November that you are welcome to attend (Nov. 16 this year).
I encourage you to explore our Web site and discover the broad range of research and teaching interests we have -- to find out more, click on research at http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/.
Our department, though small, has a long history of excellence and collegiality since 1940, and we hope to create stronger ties among our alumni, faculty and students. Please share this newsletter with your fellow alumni and colleagues. We would like to hear from you as well: please e-mail questions, comments or updates on your activities that you would like to share to .
Chair and Professor
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences