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Old News About the Department


Prof. Zhengyu Liu publishes paper on AMOC

Prof. Zhengyu Liu, in collaboration with a research team led by a former UW student Wei Liu, has published a paper on the recent issue of Science Advances on Jan. 4th. Their new finding suggests that in current climate models, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) may be too stable in response to future climate forcing, such as the rising CO2 and melting water of Greenland. Therefore, future climate change may be more abrupt than predicted by present IPCC models.  This study highlights the importance of continued understanding and improvement of climate models.
Future climate may change faster than predicted by IPCC models


Dr. David D. Houghton Memorium


UW-AOS Alumni Reception at 2017 AMS Annual Meeting

If you are attending the AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle, please join us for the annual UW-Madison Alumni Reception! It will be on Tuesday night, January 24, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the Grand Ballroom D of the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. Don't forget to pick up your new Bucky Badger pin when you stop by for food, drinks, and reminiscing with old friends and current colleagues.

Congratulations Ankur Desai

on being awarded a Fall 2016 University Housing Honored Instructor Award. Honored Instructors is a student initiated program in University Housing that encourages students to recognize instructors that have made an impact on their learning. Every semester we invite those living in University Housing to nominate teachers who inspire them.

Prof. McKinley in Inside UW

read the full article here.

Congratulations Tracey Holloway

on your AMS Special Award for ESWN and appointment to lead the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST), Read about the NASA Health and Air Quality Initiative here

The AMS 2017 Award Winners and Fellows

Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN)
For inspirational commitment to broadening the participation of women in the Earth sciences, providing a supportive environment for peer mentoring and professional development

Walter F. Dabberdt
For decades of leadership in urban meteorology, including fundamental contributions to street-canyon modeling, monitoring networks, and evaluating severe weather impacts on cities

Louis Uccellini
For dynamic, forward-looking leadership in a distinguished career dedicated to advancing operational meteorology to make the nation weather-ready

Jon Davis
For extraordinary vision to advance the role of meteorology in the new energy economy and outstanding leadership of the AMS Energy Committee and its conference

Kuniaki Inoue (Dr. Larissa Back's former student)
For his paper, “Gross Moist Stability assessment:  Convective Amplification and Decay”

Journal of Climate
James Kossin
For careful, thoughtful, and insightful reviews that significantly improved the quality of manuscripts

2017 New Fellows
Henry (Hank) E. Revercomb (SSEC)

Three AOS Professors receive named professorships!

The Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department is excited to announce that three of our faculty have been awarded named professorships! Congratulations to Prof. Galen McKinley (Bryson Professor in Climate, People, and the Environment), Prof. Grant Petty (Ned P. Smith Professor of Meteorology) and Prof. Ankur Desai (Ned P. Smith Professor of Climate Science)! All three AOS professors intend to use these awards to advance new research and teaching within Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. More information can be found here.

AOS 401 research project at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Kemp Natural Resources Station

An article written by Prof. Ankur Desai is featured in the Kemp's Point newsletter can be found here. Undergraduates, graduate students, and even two middle schoolers braved the elements over two three-day field trips to Kemp as part of a program at the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) Department at UW to expose students to meteorological instrumentation and field experiments.

2016 Student Awards

Congratulations to the following outstanding AOS students (view pictures):

  • Kirsten Mayer – Horn Award for excellence in overall performance as an undergraduate
  • Shae Hamm – Lettau-Wahl Award for overall excellence as an undergraduate
  • Michelle Feltz – Lettau Award for outstanding performance as a Teaching Assistant
  • Connor Dacey - Schwerdtfeger Award for excellent performance in first year graduate studies
  • Ross Dixon – Wahl Award for outstanding performance as a Teaching Assistant
  • Zoe Brooke-Zibton – Sunkel Award for exceptional scholarly potential as an undergraduate
  • Cody Beeson and Brian Zimmerman - Ettenheim Award for involvment in a project where there is personal collection of data over land and/or water with an emphasis on physical meteorology, followed by a written report at the completion of the research project.
  • Matt Hitchman – GSA Teaching Award for teaching excellence in a graduate level class
  • Melissa Breeden – Colloquium Student Service Award for creative dedication to the department's intellectual life

AOSS Poster Winners:

  • Graduate Winner – April Hang
  • Graduate Honorable Mention – Kai-Wei Chang and Ethan Nelson
  • Undergraduate Winner – Henry Nuckles
  • Undergraduate Honorable Mention - Gabe Bromley and Matthew Westphall

2016 Reid Bryson Scholarship Winners:

  • The $1,000 Graduate Student Award goes to Alex Matus of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences for his poster, “What are the climate impacts of African biomass burning aerosols?” (coauthor Tristan L’Ecuyer)
  • The $500 Graduate Student Runner-up Award goes to Yun “April” Hang of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences for her poster, “Distinguishing the effects of different cloud types on the atmospheric radiation budget” (coauthor Tristan L’Ecuyer)
  • The $500 Undergraduate Student Award goes to Emily Nettesheim of the Department of Zoology for her poster, “Future Prairies Under A Warmer Climate: A Case Study of the Cold Tolerance of Two Prairie Plant Species” (coauthors Laura Ladwig and Ellen Damschen)

Congratulations to Kuni Inoue for winning the Max Eaton prize

It is great pleasure to inform you that Graduate Student, Kuniaki Inoue was just awarded the Max Eaton prize for best student presentation at the 32nd Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology through AMS this year. It is also worthy to point out that this is already the second time a student advised by Professor Larissa Back has received such an honor.  This is a very prestigious award, for which the competition is especially strong.  Congratulations to both Kuni and Larissa for their fine work.


AOS 102 Online Flyer Summer term 2016
This on-line version of AOS 102 will provide a comprehensive overview on climate and climate change with a local focus on the Great Lakes Region. We're excited to offer this course completely on-line! Along with a lighter carbon footprint and the added convenience of web-based access, we hope you'll enjoy interacting via our on-line forum, along with taking the occasional web-based field trip.To view the course content and participate in the forum, you must be registered for section 1 of AOS 102 (640-102-001) for the UW-Madison 2016 summer semester. Please note that reliable access to the Internet is required. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on assignments, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as the library or any other WIFI hot-spot, to keep up and keep learning.

Prof. Zhengyu Liu and his collaborators published a paper on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences projecting the future of Atlantic climate variability

Using computer models with future global warming scenarios, Prof. Zhengyu Liu and an international team led by Prof. Jun Cheng from China recently published a paper on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Their study suggests that interdecadal variability (i.e. variability of periods of several decades) of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) will be shortened and weakened under future global warming scenarios. They propose that the shortening of the variability is caused by the changing oceanic wave speed in response to global warming, which subsequently reduces the amplitude of the variability.  The AMOC is a key ocean current that modulates global climate and this finding may have important implications for the future projection of climate and climate variability.

PNAS paper:
Reduced interdecadal variability of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation under global warming

Report at Phys.org:
Variability of major oceanic currents driven by climate change

Congratulations to Prof. Tristan L'Ecuyer and to Prof. Ankur Desai on their UW2020 Proposals

Tthe just-announced selection of three(!) highly competitive UW2020 proposals (only 14 selected campus-wide out of 134 submitted) on which one or the other is serving as Co-Investigator:


Also our affiliate, Jack Williams, is involved in this UW2020 Proposal, which has relevance to our department in establishing a new research center on abrupt  change: turner-abrupt-ecol-change


Prof. Dan Vimont is a new co-chair of the CLIVAR SSC

Congratulations Prof. Dan Vimont on your new co-chair position with US CLIVAR.


Holloway honored for promoting public dialogue

Congratulations to Prof. Tracey Holloway, who was recently honored with a AAAS Public Engagement Fellowship! The prestigious award acknowledges Prof. Holloway’s work on promoting dialogue between science and society. You can read more about Prof. Holloway’s work and the award here from Inside UW Madison.

Prof. Galen McKinley and co-authors have an opinion article published in Eos

Starting today in Paris, the international community is trying to agree on how to limit the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere so as to reduce future climate change. Reducing fossil fuel use is crucial. It is also possible that carbon storage in the land biosphere and in aquatic systems could help to reduce the atmospheric load. Though our understanding of how to enhance such long-term carbon sinks is poor, these strategies are being included in policy portfolios. In an Opinion article in Eos, Professor Galen McKinley and co-authors explain the state of the art in carbon cycle understanding and call for new investments in carbon cycle science to support climate change mitigation policy. Read the article here.

Congratulations Jacola Roman and Jessica Gartzke. Both recieved awards at the 20th International TOVS Study Conferences (ITSC).

Jacola won gold in oral presentations for "Measurement Requirements and Current Capabilities for Satellite Remote Sensing of Precipitable Water Vapor." and Jessica won silver in poster presentations for "Ten Years of CAPE Observations in the U. S. SGP from the AIRS Hyperspectral IR Sounder: Climatology, Validation, and Near-real Time Applications."

Prof. Michael Morgan elected to the UCAR Board of Trustees, Congratulations Michael!


Prof. Jon Martin featured in Marshall Shepherd's segment "Wx Geeks" on the Weather Channel

Prof. Martin talks about the shrinking arctic cold pool and other topics. The Weather Channel's hurricance and storm specialist, Greg Postel, who also appears with Jon in the segment, is an alum of our PhD program.

UW-Madison is now StormReady!

UW-Madison was officially recognized as StormReady by NWS Director and UW-AOS Alum Dr. Louis Uccelini at a ceremony on September 10. Here is the NWS article. Thanks to all involved in making this happen!

image courtesy of UW-CIMSS

Tracey Holloway named inaugural fellow of AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute


Prof. Dan Vimont interviewed by WPT regarding the ongoing El Niño event

The interview is scheduled to air tonight (9/4/2015) at 7:30 on "Here and Now" on Wisconsin Public Television.


Understanding El Niño: Q&A with climate scientist Dan Vimont

Understanding El Niño: Q&A with climate scientist Dan Vimont

Prof. Ankur Desai's Research Highlighted on the Rhinelander, WI News

Rhinelander News Channel 12

2015 Student Awards

Congratulations to the following outstanding AOS students (view pictures):

  • David Loveless – Schwerdtfeger Award for excellent performance in first year graduate studies
  • Kuni Inoue – Lettau Award for outstanding performance for best M.S. thesis
  • Claire Pettersen – Colloquium Student Service Award for creative dedication to the department's intellectual life
  • Zak Handlos – Wahl Award for outstanding performance as a Teaching Assistant
  • Kaitlyn Krzyzaniak – Horn Award for excellence in overall performance as an undergraduate
  • Steven Fons – Sunkel Award for exceptional scholarly potential as an undergraduate
  • Tyler Wright – Lettau-Wahl Award for overall excellence as an undergraduate
  • Britta Gjermo, winner; Sarah Benish, runner-up – AOSS Poster Awards Undergrad
  • Megan Kirchmeier-Young and Andrew Winters, winners; Zak Handlos and Jiang Zhu, runners-up – AOSS Poster Awards Grad

2015 Robock Lecture now online

If you missed the 6th annual Robock Lecture back in March, featuring MIT Prof. Kerry Emanuel speaking on "The Problem of Hurricanes and Climate", you can now view the talk - online here.

AOS Inaugural Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement

The AOS department announces a new award to recognize our high-caliber and accomplished alumni. Awarded alumni will be recognized during the University of Wisconsin reception at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting. If you know someone deserving of this award, please submit a nomination. For the inaugural award to be presented January 2016, please submit no later than October 1. Nominations can be submitted here. Please include your name, the nominee’s name and contact information, and a one paragraph write-up of their accomplishments.

Senior Capstone Seminar Presentations Mondays April 13 - May 4  AOSS 811 1:20-2:35

Capstone Seminar Spring 2015 Schedule

UW-AOS professor Desai co-writes a paper for PNAS and UW provides the press release

AOS Professor Ankur Desai co-wrote a paper on wetlands. Here is the UW press release: Team tracks the uncertain climate footprint of wetlands

PNAS Article: The uncertain climate footprint of wetlands under human pressure

Video Highlights from the 2014-2015 Antarctic Field Season

UW-AOS Alumni and Students Lee Welhouse, Dave Mikolajczyk, Elin McIlhattan, and Carol Costanza spent part of this past Northern Hemisphere winter in Antarctica, performing various maintenance tasks at serveral AWS sites. Carol Costanza was kind enough to share some video with us of their work.

Here is a summary of several station visits

Other videos include
Traveling to Antarctica
Training and AWS Prep
Antarctic Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
AWS Installation: Ferrell, Laurie II, and Minna Bluff
South Pole: Waiting for a Plane
Nico and Henry AWS Replacements
AWS Visits End of January, 2015

Thanks, Carol for sharing!

2015 Robock Lecture will be given by Kerry Emanuel

The 2015 annual Robock Lecture will be given by Professor Kerry Emanuel from MIT on Tuesday March 24th, at 7PM at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. The talk, entitled "The Problem of Hurricanes and Climate" is free and open to the public.

UW-AOS professors Desai and L'Ecuyer featured in this WhyFiles article

AOS Professors Ankur Desai and Tristan L'Ecuyer, as well as CCR Director Jack Williams and several other CCR Scientists were featured in a recent WhyFiles article. Who is a climate scientist? Check the story to see!

Andrew Winters receives the 2014 Teaching Award

The Campus-Wide TA Award Committee has selected Andrew Winters as a winner of a 2014 Teaching Award! 

Congratulations Andrew!

Prof. Liu article in Science

Prof. Liu is co-author on examining the hydrological changes across North and East Africa during the last deglaciation, published in Science.

Prof. Liu article in Nature

More groundbreaking work from Prof. Liu on the dynamics of paleoclimate, published in Nature. Here's a UW News article as well.

Badger Weather Blog goes public!

Since late September, students in ATMOCN 452 (Synoptic Laboratory 1) have been developing and issuing weather forecasts for the Madison area each day on a blog: the Badger Weather Blog (http://badgerwxblog.blogspot.com). The purpose of the blog is for students to develop their skills in interpreting and diagnosing observations and model forecast data as well as their communication skills to the general public (Public Forecast Briefing) and to those more familiar intimately with the science (Forecast Discussion). After an initial round of forecasts earlier this semester, starting on Monday evening 27 October, the website will go "live." Students are expected to respond to the questions posed about current and future weather in Madison in the comments section of each post.

Please note that the forecasts are issued in the late afternoon/early evening each day Monday through Thursday. In cases of severe weather, please always consult the National Weather Service for more detailed and timely updates.

AOS students, staff, and faculty interested in supporting this effort on Fridays, weekends, and between semesters should contact Michael Morgan (mcmorgan@wisc.edu).

We welcome your comments and questions regarding the forecasts going forward. All comments will be screened before being posted.

U.S. Professors of the Year

John A. Knox, AOS PhD 1996, was a selection and contender for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching CASE Professor of the year. 2014 State Winners

Congratulations, John!

Professor Tripoli elected AMS Fellow

AOS Professor Greg Tripoli has been elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. This honor recognizes those "who have made outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years."

Congratulations, Greg!

Professor Ackerman named Associate Vice Chancellor for the Physical Sciences

As part of the new Graduate School administrative structure, AOS Professor and CIMSS director Steve Ackerman has been named Associate Vice Chancellor for the Physical Sciences. Here is the University of Wisconsin news article announcing all of the new administrative positions.

Congratulations, Steve!

Professor Liu describes ongoing research about a climate conundrum

Proxy data or models: which is right with respect to past climate? Here are a University of Wisconsin news article and an abstract from PNAS

Robock Lecture - Prominent climate scientist Mann speaks at UW-Madison - Now, view online!

The 2014 annual Robock Lecture was given by Distinguished Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University on Thursday April 17th, at 7PM in the Ebling Science Symposium Center. The talk, entitled The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches From The Front Lines can now be viewed online here. The talk was followed by a reception and book signing. The event was very well attended. Thanks to all for planning and attending and making this lecture a success!

Peter Lamb - 6/21/1947 - 5/28/2014

Image of Peter Lamb, courtesy of CIMSS, University of Oklahoma
Photo c/o CIMSS, University of Oklahoma

Peter Lamb, George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the School of Meteorology and Director of the University's Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS), passed away suddenly at his home in Norman, Oklahoma on May 28, 2014. Peter Lamb received his PhD from UW-Madison in 1976. He was a strong advocate for UW-Madison and for the historic department he attended. His primary research interests were in the physical and dynamical processes of climate and its short-term fluctuations. He is well known for the personal touches he made to the lives of his colleagues and the people he mentored. He was a tireless leader of CIMMS and of all of the NOAA Cooperative Institutes and the research they conduct in support of NOAA and the nation. We will remember his hand-written notes on yellow legal paper that added a personal touch to all meetings and correspondence. His soft-spoken, authoritative voice and personal warmth is a loss to us all.

A memorial service will be held in the Atrium of the National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd, Norman, Oklahoma on June 7, 2014 at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to be made to the Ethembeni School, a boarding school serving 300 physically disabled or visually impaired students in the Kwazulu-natal region of South Africa. Please visit www.ethembenischool.co.za to donate and reference "in honor of Peter James Lamb" in the comment section.

His obituary may be found here.

2014 Student Awards

Congratulations to the following outstanding AOS students (view pictures):

  • Nick Ofstun – Schwerdtfeger Award for excellent performance in first year graduate studies
  • Alex Matus – Lettau Award for outstanding performance as a Teaching Assistant
  • Ross Dixon and Croix Christenson – Colloquium Student Service Award for creative dedication to the department's intellectual life
  • Shellie Rowe – Wahl Award for outstanding performance as a Teaching Assistant
  • Eric Loken – Honorary Horn Award for excellence in overall performance as an undergraduate
  • Alex Haugstad – Horn Award for excellence in overall performance as an undergraduate
  • Joe Nettesheim – Sunkel Award for exceptional scholarly potential as an undergraduate
  • Sam Hartwick – Lettau-Wahl Award for overall excellence as an undergraduate
  • Kristina Williams and Marian Mateling – WxChallenge foreast awards - Kristina won the overall best forecaster award, beating out all faculty, grad students and undergrads for the Norman, OK forecast period. Marian was a runner up for the undergrad category for Norman - 4th overall when you consider all faculty, grad students and undergrads.

Professors McKinley and Vimont contribute to Climate Change forum

On December 11th, 2013, AOS professors Galen McKinley and Dan Vimont spoke at an informational forum: "Climate Change: What it means for Wisconsin's Economy and Natural Resources," (View the agenda) hosted by Representatives Fred Clark (D) and Jeff Mursau (R) of the Wisconsin Legislature and co-hosted by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts & Letters.

The forum agenda stated, "The purpose of the forum [was] to begin the discussion of how a changing climate affects Wisconsin's many natural resources and, consequently, Wisconsin's business practitioners that depend on these natural resources.

Steve Ackerman named as a 2014 AMS Fellow

Congratulations to Prof. Steve Ackerman who was named as a one of the 2014 American Meteorological Society Fellows.

Weather Forecasting Article up on The Why Files

Includes interviews with Prof. Jonathan Martin, UW Alumni NWS Director Louis Uccellini and UCAR Director Emeritus Richard Anthes, as well as Hank Revercomb.
Weather: [More data + more computers = better forecasts]

New Department Chair

With the start of the new school year, Prof. Grant Petty, who has been with the department since 2000, is taking over the reins as Department Chair from Prof. Jonathan Martin.
Thank you, Jon, for your 9 years of dedication, service, and hard work!

News 3 Interview of NWS Director Louis Uccellini about "Building a Weather-Ready Nation"

If you missed the Town Hall, you can watch this extended interview of Dr. Uccellini by News 3 Chief Meteorologist Gary Cannalte.

NWS Director Louis Uccellini to lead Town Hall discussion August 22, 2013

Uccellini, the National Weather Service Director and an alumnus of UW-Madison, will be in Madison later this summer to lead a Town Hall discussion titled "Building a Weather-Ready Nation." The discussion will address the question of how we as a nation can better prepare for extreme weather events and other key influences of weather on society.

Sponsored by SSEC and AOS, the event will be held on August 22, 2013 from 5-7pm in the Hector DeLuca Forum at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. The Town Hall is open to the public and we're hoping to reach a wide audience. Each of us, scientist or not, has a role to play in discussing how to actively prepare for weather disasters.

Please see the posted abstract for further details

University of Wisconsin grad Louis Uccellini leads National Weather Service

Article in the April 28, 2013 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Professor Bennartz et. al. article published in Nature explains Greenland's record breaking 2012 ice melt

AOS Professor Ralf Bennartz and collaborators have published a study in the April 4 issue of Nature describing the events and processes leading to the record ice melt. A University of Wisconsin News article also summarizes the work..

CCR celebrates 50 years

Congratulations to the Center for Climatic Research on their 50th anniversary. Since 1962, CCR faculty, scientists and students have been working to understand how the climate works and why it changes. The Nelson Institute's In Common Magazine has a nice writeup on the history of CCR.

AOS Alumni donate GR2Analyst license to department

Several UW-AOS alumni have contributed toward, and donated a license for the advanced Nexrad Level II analysis program GR2Analyst to the AOS Department. The students had been using the software after leaving the UW and found it to be extremely useful for analysis of radar data. The software is already being used in our senior level Synoptic Lab (453) class, and will likely be utilized in the AOS 441 Radar and Satellite course as well. Special thanks to Jacob Beitlich, Dan Henz, Brian Miretzky, Matt Sitkowski and Dima Smirnov! Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Rooftop Camera images and movies

The AOSS building hosts three rooftop camera (currently facing west, northwest, and north.) The most recent images and time lapse quicktime movies are now available. Daily sunrise to sunset movies and highlights of particularly interesting phenomena will be coming soon.

Journal of the UW-AOS

This is an unofficial journal of working papers written by undergraduate and graduate students of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. These papers are not intended to be used as official references.
Check out their work in the Journal of the UW-AOS


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