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 Low clouds over Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Low clouds over Fox Glacier,
Westland National Park, New Zealand

Group Members

John Cassano
John CassanoMeteorology and climate of polar regions using regional climate models and numerical weather prediction models, in-situ and remotely sensed observations, and various data analysis techniques

Research Scientists

Mimi Hughes
Mimi HughesMimi's research focuses on improving the understanding of key orographic meteorological physical processes, especially those important to the mid-latitude water cycle and those potentially impactful to ocean circulation and sea ice cover in the Arctic. Her primary tools in this endeavor are dynamically-downscaled reanalysis datasets, generated using a state-of-the-art regional climate model (i.e., the Weather Research and Forecasting model and the Regional Arctic System Model [RASM]) with reanalysis data as the lateral boundary conditions (e.g., ERA Interim). She generates and maintains small ensembles of regional climate modeling downscaling products (RASM and WRF) and evaluates the downscalings’ representations of meteorological conditions using reanalysis datasets and standard and experimental observations collected within NOAA’s Physical Sciences Division. Then, with a focus on orographic airflow and precipitation, she diagnoses the downscaling products’ ability to properly represent these key physical processes, works toward understanding the sensitivity of these processes to model configuration, and uses the downscaling datasets to further our understanding of these physical processes.

Post docs

Catrin Mills (

Catrin MillsCatrin’s research focuses on the relationship between day-to-day weather patterns in the Arctic and sea ice variability, using multiple tools, such as a pattern recognition tool called self-organizing maps (SOMs). Her research taps into potential predictive capabilities—highly useful for native Arctic communities and stakeholders. She is interested in studying the impacts of extreme weather events on society by using neural networks and other multivariate methods in order to create metrics that augment predictability of atmospheric phenomena and are tailored to user-needs.

Melissa Nigro (

Melissa NigroMelissa's research focuses on the driving forces of the low-level wind field over the Ross Ice Shelf. She uses observational data and numerical weather prediction systems to understand the mechanisms that drive the wind flow in the transitional area between the Transantarctic Mountains and the Ross Ice Shelf. The project focuses on the influence of synoptic scale and mesoscale systems on the wind field in this region. As well as the impact of the topographic forcing from the Transantarctic Mountains.

Associate Scientists

Elizabeth Cassano
Liz CassanoLiz's main focus of research over the past few years has been studying cyclones which affect the North Slope of Alaska, if and how they are changing and formation mechanisms of these cyclones. Liz's current work is data analysis in support of the FWI and SNACS projects. Future work will be to expand to sea ice studies (i.e. what are the mechanisms resonsible for a sea ice parcel melting or surviving the summer melt season?) and extend the cyclone work to determine a cyclone climatology of formation mechanisms for cyclones in the North Slope area.

Associate Scientists/Graduate Students

Alice DuVivier (

Alice DuVivier Alice's research involves understanding how the atmosphere and ocean interact in high wind conditions. Her research focuses specifically on the seas around southern Greenland, which are climatically important because they are one of the few regions globally where open ocean convection (surface water sinking) takes place. Additionally, southern Greenland is the location of strong wind events called tip jets and barrier winds that occur frequently during the winter, are small in size, and produce hurricane force winds. This research uses both the atmospheric Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and the coupled Regional Arctic System Model (RASM - in development) to explore and understand the exchanges of heat and moisture that take place between that atmosphere and ocean during strong wind events and the response of the atmosphere and ocean to these exchanges.

Graduate Students

Cody Phillips (

Cody PhillipsCody's research focuses on temperature extremes in the Arctic and associated synoptic atmospheric conditions. Other research interests include short-term convective weather forecasts, numerical weather prediction assessment, and effective science communication.

Michael Stone (

Michael StoneMichael's interests lie in understanding polar climate and atmosphere, specifically in characterizing the effect of synoptic circulation conditions on localized climate variables. His current work can be summarized as attempting to understand the causal relationship between changes in greater synoptic flow and shifts in local climate conditions. Michael also has a personal interest in snow mechanics and avalanche dynamics.

Past group members