Dear Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) Alumni and Friends,
The calendar year is drawing to a close and I am pleased to send you holiday greetings along with this third edition of the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) newsletter. There are many exciting things happening in the department and this is a way to share some of our news with you.
After fifteen years, the new long-awaited National Research Council (NRC) rankings were released (September 28, 2010). The Department tied with Colorado State University for the #1 ranking by two different ranking methods and shared a virtual toast with CSU when the rankings were announced.
UCLA AOS ties for first in USNRC rankings with Colorado State!
The undergraduate program is healthy and continues to grow, with a larger number of courses offered to meet demand. Our upper division courses in climate change (AOS 102) air and water pollution (AOS 104), physical and chemical oceanography (AOS 103 and M105) have become so popular that when they are offered, they fill to capacity almost instantly. As a direct result, the department now offers AOS 103, 104 and M105 twice a year.
The department is pleased to report the return of the ocean field trip offered in AOS 130: California’s Ocean, with a new high-speed research vessel, the “Zodiac”. Burkard Baschek will lead a group of students to the ocean to learn about taking measurements, analyzing samples and writing up the results (see “Faculty Research”).
Each year a number of our students continue to secure internships at the National Weather Service offices in California, including those at Oxnard, San Diego, Sacramento and Monterey. Some internships are paid and lead directly to permanent employment with the Weather Service. AOS is very proud that graduates of our program currently serve in the Weather Service and other NOAA offices across the United States.
In 2009, three of our students completed our rigorous Mathematics/AOS interdepartmental program. After graduation, one of our graduates headed to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Weather Service, before embarking on graduate school.
In the past two years AOS has had 13 M.S. students graduate (six of whom continued toward a Ph.D. degree), and 8 Ph.D. students graduate. Below is a list of the latter with their adviser and current postgraduate employer:
Seung Hee Kim M.S. ’05, Ph.D. ’10 (Fovell, UCLA);
Wen Li M.S. ’07, Ph.D. ’10 (Thorne, UCLA);
Hsi-Yen Ma M.S. ’05, Ph.D. ’09 (Mechoso, UCLA);
Ben Meiselman M.S. ’06, Ph.D.( ’10 pending) (Fovell, Wilshire Associates);
Aloisia Nuijens M.S. ’08, Ph.D. ’10 (Stevens, Max Planck Inst for Meteorology);
Panu Trivej M.S. ’05, Ph.D. ’09 (Stevens, Environmental Resource Management - ERM);
Qing Yue M.S. ’05, Ph.D. ’09 (Liou, JPL/Cal Tech);
Shasha Zou M.S. ’06, Ph.D. ’09 (Lyons, Univ of Michigan)
GRADUATE STUDENT AWARDS AND ANNUAL BANQUET
Our annual awards banquet was held on Friday, October 22, 2010, to honor graduate student achievements in three areas:
Bjerknes Memorial Award - graduate student award for academic excellence.
Neiburger Memorial Awards – graduate student award for outstanding teaching.
Brian L Bosart Graduate Student Award - unselfish service to fellow students and positive contributions to departmental life while demonstrating a firm commitment to academics.
This year, the 2010 award winners were Lunjin Chen ’09 M.S. ’09 C.Ph. and JunHong Liang M.S. ’07, C.Ph. ‘08 (Bjerknes); Huihui Yuan B.S.’08, M.S. ’10 (Neiburger); and Sarah Kapnick M.S. '07, C.Ph. ‘09 (Bosart).
In addition to honoring our student award winners, a special tribute was made to honor Professor Michio Yanai, who passed away suddenly, shortly before the awards banquet (see “Faculty Transitions”). The Department was particularly honored that Mrs. Yoko Yanai and her sons were able to be present for a slide show capturing significant moments from Professor Yanai’s life – both personal and professional. Robert Fovell, Wen-wen Tung (Purdue) and Roger Wakimoto (UCAR) paid touching tribute with their words and poem.
Professor Michio Yanai passed away suddenly at his home in October. A seminal figure in tropical meterology and much admired Professor Emeritus in our department, Michio had been greatly looking forward to attending a symposium in his honor and sponsored by the American Meteorological Society as part of the 91st AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington. It will take place on January 27, 2011.
Dr. Yanai started his career as a typhoon researcher. His 1964 review paper on the formation of tropical cyclones served as the most comprehensive reference on the topic for more than a decade. His observations of the mixed Rossby-gravity wave (also known as the Yanai wave), his systematic approach of estimating apparent heat sources (Q1) and moisture sinks (Q2) and associating them with the bulk properties of convective systems such as cloud mass flux and detrainment, and his diagnostic studies of the Asian monsoon (in particular his widely-known studies on the impacts of the Tibetan Plateau) have guided research in these fields up to the present day. Dr. Yanai was professor emeritus of the UCLA Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department and was bestowed with the Charney Award in 1986 and the Fujiwara Award of the Meteorological Society of Japan in 1993. His UCLA Tropical Meteorology and Climate Newsletter served the communities on the internet from 1996 up to his recent, untimely passing.
The theme of the symposium is “Tropical Meteorology: Convection, Cyclones, Waves, and Monsoons”. Invited speakers will survey the evolution of research in these aspects of tropical meteorology during the period of Professor Yanai’s career, including contributions from and inspired by him and from other scientists, and present the most updated advancement in these fields. A poster session dedicated to the Symposium will be held and submissions relating to Professor Yanai’s research areas and contributions will be shared. All registrants for the AMS Annual Meeting are invited to attend the Michio Yanai Symposium. A luncheon to honor Professor Yanai’s memory will be held on Thursday, January 27th. While the Yanai luncheon ticket is not included in the conference registration package and must be purchased separately. We encourage you to purchase tickets when pre-registering since only a limited number of tickets will be available on-site. All abstracts, extended abstracts and presentations will be available on the AMS Web site (www.ametsoc.org/meet/annual/). For more information, please contact the program chairpersons: Robert Fovell ( ) or Wen-wen Tung ( ).
The Department has established the Professor Michio Yanai Memorial Fund which has already received many donations from around the world. Should you wish to contribute, donations should be made out to the “UCLA Foundation” with “Professor Michio Yanai Memorial Fund” written in the memo section.
MAIL TO: Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences c/o Dawn Zelmanowitz
405 Hilgard Avenue, 7133 MSB
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1565
Professor Bjorn Stevens remains on leave pro tem as Director of the Atmosphere in the Earth System group in the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg.
RECENT PUBLICATION HIGHLIGHTS
This past Fall members of the Space Physics group (including Toshi Nishimura, Jacob Bortnik, Wen Li, Larry Lyons, Richard Thorne) had a very thrilling and important result published in the journal Science. It is the discovery of the origin of the "pulsating aurora", whose origin has remained a mystery since the 1960's.
The science article can be found at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/330/6000/81
And some media coverage here: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/northern-lights-electromagnetic-waves-100930.html http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39444145/ns/technology_and_science-space/ http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20100930/sc_space/cuethechoruswhycertainnorthernlightsdance
Also in the Fall, members of the Space Physics group (including Richard Thorne, Binbin Ni and Xin Tao) had a paper published in Nature on the origin of the diffuse aurora.
Thorne et.al.  discovered that scattering by chorus is the dominant cause of the most intense diffuse auroral precipitation, solving the long-standing controversy on which plasma wave modes are more important to the occurrence of the diffuse aurora that provides a major source of energy input to the Earth's upper atmosphere as well as an essential linkage between the magnetosphere and the ionosphere.
The Nature paper can be found at: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7318/full/nature09467.html
Tom Weber and Curtis Deutsch co-authored a paper published in Nature. They discovered that the 'Redfield ratio', a biological constant used to estimate nutrient and carbon fluxes from plankton ecosystems to the deep ocean, actually varies significantly across latitude in the Southern Ocean. The variations are associated with the biogeography of different plankton families in the region, suggesting that changes in the distributions of these families could alter the strength of the biological carbon pump in the ocean.
The paper can be found at: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7315/full/nature09403.html
And a 'News and Views' piece about the paper can be found at: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7315/full/467538a.html
Congratulations to all the authors.
In June 2010, the Division of Physical Sciences at the University of California at Los Angeles purchased a new high-speed research vessel (Figure 1) that is currently outfitted by Professor Baschek at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and is expected to be fully operational in spring 2011.
The vessel is designed for cost-efficient high-speed research applications in the coastal ocean such as the airplane guided in situ measurements of spiral eddies in Southern California Bight (Figure 2), but will be an ideal platform for coastal, oceanographic, or limnological research for faculty and researchers in several different Departments at UCLA, and will be used for undergraduate and graduate teaching.
The vessel offers seating for 8 students or researchers and is fully equipped with state-of-the-art research equipment such as water inflow system for temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll, a meteorology station, a current meter covering the upper 50 m of the water column, an instrument taking water samples and measuring temperature and salinity in the upper 600 m of the water column, as well as GPS, compass, radio and high-speed internet communication with shore and airplane, winch and davit.
The vessel will be based in San Pedro and will be operated by the Southern California Marine Institute – a consortium of 12 major universities in Southern California. UCLA became a member of SCMI in November 2010.
Figure 1: UCLA’s new high-speed research vessel Zodiac offering space for 8 scientists or students.
Figure 2: Spiral eddy of 3 km diameter measured on January 31, 2010, 10 miles west of Catalina Island. The eddy is visible in sun glint image and sea surface temperature measured from an aircraft. The new research vessel will carry out simultaneous in situ measurements of temperature, salinity, and currents.
I encourage you to explore our web site and discover the broad range of research interests we have. To find out more, click on Research at http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/content/view/30/75.
The Department continuously enhances undergraduate instruction in the Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences (AOS). Instructional Enhancement Initiative (IEI) funds received from the Dean’s Office were used to refresh the AOS instructional computer laboratory with state-of-the-art Linux workstations and software, with Gigabit ethernet connectivity. The funds were used to acquire Linux computer servers to serve our instructional and web needs. The Department purchased a head-node for the computer lab, a weather server to collect and archive the UCLA weather data and a web server. The purchase of new laptops and projectors has enhanced classroom presentation. Computer monitors were placed at the main entrance of the Math Sciences Building (the “Breezeway”) to present up-to-date weather conditions and forecast, along with course information. The Department also set up new display monitors in the east wing of the 7th floor in the Math Sciences Building that present the departmental research and student accomplishments. The display cases are housed with large LCD TV monitors in addition to the weather translator. One TV showcases the current research in the department, with presentations displaying short videos, movies, pictures, and charts contributed by the AOS faculty and researchers. The second monitor displays the pictures of current publications, department events, AOS awards winners, and weekly seminar information. Reconfiguration and consolidation of the workspace for the AOS IT support staff has been completed. The remodeling included expansion of the existing office space for the IT staff.
Future projects include a refurbishment of the Brian Bosart Memorial Lounge; web programming work to update and revamp the AOS website to add dynamic web forms and applications to streamline the workflow in the administrative office, keeping with the UCLA Green initiative. Planning has begun for all three projects, though completion will depend on funding availability.
AOS WEB SITE AND FACEBOOK LAUNCH
The second edition of the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences newsletter announced the launch of our department Web site: http://www.atmos.ucla.edu. With this newsletter, we are pleased to announce the launch of the AOS Facebook page. Please look for us under “Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA”. We hope you will visit our web site and Facebook page and let us know what you think.
ALUMNI NEWS AND INFORMATION
When the Department web site was launched, an alumni page was created here: http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/content/view/118/234/. We encourage you to fill out the personal update form at http://www.uclalumni.net/AtmosphericOceanicSciencesUpdate. AOS relies on your news and photos. We would love to hear all about your activities, and so would your former classmates. Please forward suggestions for what additional information would be of general interest to
Please mark your calendars for February 22nd and 23rd, 2011 when Dr. James E. Hansen (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Columbia University) will be serving as the guest lecturer as part of the annual Mautner Lecture and Graduate Award . Dr. Hansen will present two talks - the title of his scientific talk is “Climate Sensitivity,” and the title of his public talk is “Human-Made Climate Change: A Scientific, Moral, and Legal Issue.” Times are to be determined.
The lecture series was founded by Leonard Mautner in 1983 to provide a forum to transmit and translate scientific thought and accomplishment to UCLA students, faculty, and the broader Los Angeles community. Lecturers are asked to make two presentations on two separate days, one for UCLA's scientific community, its faculty and graduate students (first day); and the other for a public lay audience, including undergraduate students (second day). The public lecture should be presented in such a way that a lay audience can understand the science. A reception for attendees immediately follows each lecture.
Through the Mautner Memorial Lecture Series, the UCLA community has been able to enjoy such distinguished lecturers as Richard Feynman, Paul Berg, Roald Sagdeev, Robert Gallo, Ted Ringwood, Roald Hoffman, Floyd E. Bloom, Martin Rees, Harold Varmus, F. Sherwood Rowland, Eric Landers, and Eric R. Kandel (2009 lecturer).
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 at http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/content/view/99/222/.
Our department, though relatively small, has had a great impact on the field as confirmed by the recent NRC ratings. We have had a long history of excellence and collegiality which has undergirded our research programs. We hope to create even stronger ties among our alumni, faculty and students. Please share this newsletter with your fellow alumni, friends and colleagues. We would like to hear from you as well. Do not hesitate to e-mail questions, comments or updates on your activities that you would like to share to .
With best wishes for the holiday season,
J. David Neelin
Chair and Professor
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences