Libby Barnes looks for extreme weather in the middle distance | SOURCE | Colorado State UniversitySOURCE

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, 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]

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  4. Atmospheric rivers:
  5. Read more about Barnes here.:

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