This is a short statement of what I think my strengths are for potential research activities, educational efforts, and other activities. My vita contains more details; here I describe my background and strengths in general terms.
I am first and foremost an interdisciplinary individual. My undergraduate education was mostly in physics, then geology and geophysics. In graduate school I gained extensive experience in tropical meteorology with three separate advisors – each a tropical meteorologist with different areas of expertise. I was involved in oceanographic research for a summer while at the University of Miami, and, much later, participated in an oceanographic cruise on an Ecuadorean Navy Ship. In general, my research activities have focussed on obtaining the best observational data sets to answer different questions. Although I dislike the term “expert”, if I must, I am first an expert in meteorological observations, observing systems, and the meteorological phenomena that such observations are capable of describing. But I am a generalist, not a specialist. I have been the chief scientist on more than 30 research flights in 6 field programs, using research aircraft to sample a wide range of phenomena, including polar lows and wintertime extratropical cyclones, low-level jets in the subtropics, and even tropical storm genesis events. I have also developed widespread observing networks using low-technology pilot balloon measurements to determine wind climatologies over poorly described regions of the tropics. I generally try to use the most appropriate (and economical) tools required for the problem at hand.
Having worked mostly in the tropics and with developing countries, I feel that I can accomplish more with less. Because I have worked closely with many meteorological services I have a better perspective of the problems (“challenges”) that are common to most of them. Much of this work was in the field – at remote sites or locations not commonly visited by foreign scientists.
My interests extend well beyond the atmospheric or even the earth sciences. I have had a long interest in astronomy, and an equally long interest in aspects of biology, especially botany. These interests have led me to renew my activities in these areas. But now I can use my knowledge of global climate and weather phenomena to help understand the distribution of species.
Although most everyone is a believer in education, I have carried out a number of activities that have not been common among researchers. I built-in two workshops (of 3-week duration) into my research projects. I have twice initiated participation in educational activities with Mexico of three-month duration. I twice participated in 2-week workshops in Ghana. These and many other educational efforts were not part of my required job description – and in fact adversely impacted my research “productivity” at times. My view, not held by all of my colleagues, is that productivity is much more than publications, journal impact factors, citations, or even the number of students graduated.
Finally, I believe that one of my strengths is my familiarity with the world around us. Not evident on my CV are the large number of independent travels to different parts of the world. Most of these were focused on natural history subjects, whether mangroves and birds in northern Australia, volcanic landscapes in Hawaii or Nicaragua, or cacti on dry hillsides in any one of literally a dozen countries in Latin America.