Libby Barnes looks for extreme weather in the middle distance

by Anne Manning | June 6, 2017 10:31 AM

Libby Barnes[1]

Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science Libby Barnes at her desk. On the left monitor: water vapor image of an “atmospheric river” in the Pacific Ocean; on the right, a diagram of atmospheric circulation in the tropics. 

There are those scientists who predict weather patterns one to seven days out, and there are those who model long-term probabilities in weather and climate for seasons or decades to come.

Libby Barnes, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science[2], works at the challenging boundary between these short- and long-term forecasts. Her aim is to understand extreme weather two weeks to two months in the advance – in the field, what’s called sub-seasonal timescales.

A story [3]on Climate.gov, a publication of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), details Barnes’ research goals: ensuring better predictions of the behavior of “atmospheric rivers.” Not actual rivers, these are tropical moisture patterns that typically flow from the tropics to mid-latitudes; they resemble rivers from a satellite view.

Atmospheric rivers[4] provide the West Coast with up to half its annual precipitation, but can also cause damaging floods – and their behavior is hard to predict beyond seven- to 10-day time scales. Barnes and her team at CSU are studying atmospheric river behavior in part by examining the Madden-Julian Oscillation pattern in the tropics.

Barnes’ work – including her leadership of a task force working to predict sub-seasonal extreme weather – has been recognized many times over. Recently, she was a featured speaker at NOAA Science Days, an event that connects the entire NOAA community with NOAA-supported research. Barnes also participated in a public media event hosted by NOAA and the American Geophysical Union.

Read more about Barnes here.[5]

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://source.colostate.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/barnes_Full.jpg
  2. Department of Atmospheric Science: http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/
  3. A story : https://www.climate.gov/news-features/features/noaa-funded-researcher-libby-barnes-talks-about-special-challenges
  4. Atmospheric rivers: https://www.engr.colostate.edu/givingtoengineering/atmospheric-river-prediction/
  5. Read more about Barnes here.: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/features/noaa-funded-researcher-libby-barnes-talks-about-special-challenges

Source URL: http://source.colostate.edu/libby-barnes-looks-extreme-weather-middle-distance/