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Ben Balsley

Ben B. Balsley

Ben Balsley is a Fellow of CIRES (University of Colorado) and a Research Professor in Electrical Engineering. He was heavily involved in the pioneering development of the radar wind profiling technology between 1975 and 1995, including the design, construction, and use of the Poker Flat MST Radar in Alaska, the Tropical Pacific Wind Profiling Network across the Equatorial Pacific, and Peru's Machu Picchu Radar in Antarctica. Currently, he directs the renaissance of TLS (kite-and balloon-borne) atmospheric profiling, and is actively involved in the analysis of the resulting data sets. He also leads a new CIRES effort to develop and use the Powered Parachute (PPC) as a tool for atmospheric measurements in the first 3 km of the atmosphere.


B.S., Electrical Engineering, California State Polytechnic College, 1957.

M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado, 1964.

Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado , 1967.


1957-1959 - Electrical Engineer, NBS (IGY Field Station in Trujillo, Peru).

1960-1963 - Electrical Engineer, NBS, Jicamarca Radio Observatory, Lima, Peru (facility design plus electrojet experiments).

1963-1966 - U.S. Government Education Training Act (M.S., 1964; Ph.D., 1967).

1966-1969 - Ionospheric Physicist, Jicamarca Radio Observatory, Lima, Peru.

1969-1985 - Physicist, Aeronomy Laboratory/NOAA, Boulder, Colorado.

1985-1990 - Chief, Tropical Dynamics and Climate Program, Aeronomy Laboratory/NOAA, Boulder, Colorado.

1985-present - Fellow, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

1991-present - Research Professor, Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado.


Scientific Research Society of America
American Geophysical Union
URSI Commission G
American Meteorological Society


Department of Commerce Award for Sustained Superior Performance, 1962.
Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for Outstanding Performance, 1974.
Distinguished Alumnus Award, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, 1975.
Department of Commerce Outstanding Paper Award, 1981.
Doctor Honoris Causa (Honorary PhD), Universidad de Piura, Piura, Perú, 1994.
Distinguished Engineering Alumnus, University of Colorado, April, 2002.

Closely Related Publications

Balsley, B. B., R. G. Frehlich, M. L. Jensen, Y. Meillier, and Andreas Muschinski: 2003, Extreme Gradients in the Nighttime Boundary Layer: Structure, Evolution, and Potential Causes: Jour. Atm. Sci. 2496-2508, 15 October.

Frehlich, R. G., Y. Meillier, M. L. Jensen, and B. B. Balsley, 2003: Turbulence measurements with the CIRES TLS (Tethered Lifting System) during CASES99. Jour. Atm. Sci. 2487-2495, 15 October.

Fritts, D. C., C. Nappo, C. M. Riggin, B. B. Balsley, W. E. Eichinger, and R. K. Newsom: 2003, Analysis of Ducted Motions in the Stable Nocturnal Boundary Layer during CASES-99. Jour. Atm. Sci., 2450-2472, 15 October.

Balsley, B. B., D. C. Fritts, R. Frehlich, M. Jones, S. Vadas, and R. Coulter: Up-Gully Flow In the Great Plains Region: 2002, A Mechanism for Perturbing the Nighttime Lower Atmosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 29, 37-1-37-4.

Frehlich, R. G. Y. Meillier, M. L. Jensen, B. B. Balsley: 2004, A statistical description of small-scale turbulence in the low-level nocturnal jet, Jour. Atm. Sci., 61 , 1079-1085.

Other Significant Publications

Muschinski, A, R. Frehlich, M. Jensen, R. Hugo, A. Hoff, F. Eaton, and B. Balsley: 2001, Fine-scale measurements of turbulence in the lower troposphere: An intercomparison between a kite- and balloon-borne, and a helicopter-borne measurement system, Boundary Layer Meteorology, 98, 219-250.

Balsley, Ben B., Michael L. Jensen and Rod G. Frehlich, The use of state-of-the-art kites for the profiling the lower atmosphere: 1990, Boundary Layer Met., 87, pp 1-25, April.

Balsley, Ben B., John W. Birks, Michael L. Jensen , Karl G. Knapp, Joseph B. Williams, and G. William Tyrrell, Vertical Profiling of the Atmosphere Using High-Tech Kites: 1994, Environmental Science and Technology, 28, 422A-426A, September.

Balsley, B.B., and K.S. Gage, The MST radar technique: Potential for middle atmospheric studies: 1980, Pure Appl. Geophys. (PAGEOPH), 118, 452-493, 1980.

Collaborators (last five years)

CIRES: J. Birks, R. Frehlich, D. Helmig, M. Huaman, M. Jensen, M. Jones, L. Kuck, A, Muschinski, and R. Rodriquez;
CoRA: D. Fritts, G. Poulos, C. Riggin, S. Vadas;
NCAR: J. Sun, S. P. Burns, D. Lenschow;
ANL: R. Coulter;
NOAA: R. Banta, R. Newsom, W. Eichinger, C. Nappo;
UMass: S. Frasier, T. Ince;
UConn: D. Miller;
Jicamarca Observatory: R. Woodman, J. Chau;
University of Minnesota: K. Davis;
WSMR: F. Eaton, R. Hugo;

Ph.D. and MS Graduates and Graduate Students

L. Liziola (Atlantic Bell); J. Chau (Jicamarca Radio Observatory, Peru); M. Huaman (Cornell University); M. Jensen (CIRES), R. Rodriguez (Universidad de Piura, Peru), Y. Meillier (CIRES, U. of Colorado).

Postdoctoral Scholar Sponsor

T. Smith (TRW), R. Worthington (U.K.)

Graduate Advisor

Prof. D. T. Farley (Cornell University)