Background and Interests

I am a meteorologist by education and experience. I have spent most of the past 38 years involved in atmospheric science work – first in studying atmospheric science as a graduate student, and then in conducting meteorological research. For most of the time it has been intellectually stimulating and has allowed me to travel widely, especially in the developing world where much of my research took place.

However, I have been interested since youth in many aspects of biology that were put aside – at least at a professional level – since they did not closely overlap my meteorological research interests. Some details of this I will add to this page later. But for now I will say that, through a fortunate coincidence of meteorological and personal events, both professional and personal interests have converged in the climate research I have been doing in recent years. Some of these activities are likely to be of special interest to the communities involved in biogeography, ecology or nature conservation efforts.

I am not particularly skilled in web design, GIS, or computer programming (my students did this essential work for the most part), so I am developing this web page because  I have total control over the content. This page will be somewhat minimalist in its sophistication. However, this is not to say that content will be lacking.

My motivation for developing this page is to help those efforts that I believe have great urgency today. See here or here for some of my perspectives on what is, and isn’t important. While there might be many ways to do this, I believe strongly that education at the global level is key to making progress in key issues related to conservation. And this page is one small component in that education effort.

Focus of this page

We all do what we can. I have a background in mesoscale meteorology and tropical weather and climate, and I am familiar with the climate and weather of many locations in the tropics, through my research and personal travel. I have extensive experience in observing the atmosphere with different technologies. And while I might be content to continue my research, trying to publish profusely, and seek whatever stature is possible in my specialization, I have long since given up some of these goals that are common to many main-track scientists.

This website will present what I believe to be some essential information related to climate and weather (I will discuss the distinction in due course) that is really necessary for biogeographers and many ecologists to have. Some of the information will also be valuable to conservation organizations.

I hope to publish many of the topics discussed on these web pages. My official duties prevented me from following this line of work, since my NOAA laboratory and my official duties were not closely aligned with these “side-interests”.  However, as I have now taken early retirement from NOAA (on 31 July 2013) I am exploring these other options.

My immediate interests

I am putting material online so that I can show potential collaborators of the value of this information. My formal research papers are quite unrelated to what biologists might be familiar with – even biogeographers with climate backgrounds. And the material I am working on now has not been written up formally. Much of it involves examples of imagery that are not suited to the condensed format of journal articles. To see what I have done (in terms of formal and conference publications – hardly a summary of one’s career) see here.

My limited experience with biologists has convinced me that this community knows less about the subject matter of meteorology than is needed to fully interpret the natural landscape. Perhaps I am wrong, but I suspect not. I am considering developing and teaching short courses in climate and weather topics that would be focused on the needs of research biologists. Such an intensive course, perhaps of one to two week duration, could be offered where there is a collective need for this background. Such a course would be unlike the introductory courses commonly offered at universities, or the courses in agricultural meteorology. Whether such an educational model would actually have sufficient interest remains to be seen. Part of the reason for my participation in the IBS meetings in Miami in January 2013 and Bayreuth in 2015 was to evaluate such interest.

The currently visible content of this page includes a series of powerpoint presentations that I have given over the past few years and some additional powerpoints that highlight specific geographical regions where the cloud climatologies we are developing show particularly interesting features. Links to more complete explanations of the various products and our procedures may be made active, as soon as I bring them to a more acceptable form.