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Event Time
3:30 p.m.
Atlantic Building Room 2400 & Zoom

AOSC Seminar by Dr. Robert Atlas, 9/29/2022

AOSC Seminar

Dr. Robert Atlas

Director Emeritus, NOAA AOML Miami


Title: Personal reflections on the evolution of weather forecasting


This talk will complement Dr. Atlas's recent memoir "Weather Forecaster to Research Scientist" published by the American Meteorological Society. It will begin with an overview of the essential nature of weather forecasting and the main approaches that have been used. Dr. Atlas will then describe briefly his personal experience as an apprentice forecaster with the U.S. Weather Bureau in the early 1960's and as an operational forecaster in the U.S. Air Force in the 1970's. This will be followed by highlights from some of the research that Dr. Atlas has been involved in over the last 50 years, such as the initial impact of quantitative satellite data on numerical weather prediction, extreme weather events, and Observing System Simulation Experiments.



Dr. Atlas received his Ph.D. in Meteorology and Oceanography in 1976 from New York University. Prior to receiving the doctorate, he was a weather forecaster in the U.S. Air Force where he maintained greater than 95 percent forecast accuracy. From 1976 to 1978, Dr. Atlas was a NRCouncil Research Associate at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, an Assistant Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science for SUNY and Chief Consulting Meteorologist for the ABC television network.

In 1978, Dr. Atlas joined NASA as a research scientist. He served as head of the NASA Data Assimilation Office from 1998-2003, and as Chief meteorologist at NASA GSFC from 2003-2005. Dr. Atlas has performed research to assess and improve the impact of satellite data on numerical weather prediction since 1973. He was a key member of the team that first demonstrated the significant impact of quantitative satellite data on numerical weather prediction and is the world’s leading expert on Observing System Simulation Experiments.

He served as a member of the Satellite Surface Stress Working Group, the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) Science Team, the ERS Science Team, the SeaWinds Satellite Team, the Working Group for Space-based Laser Winds, the Scientific Steering Group for GEWEX, the Council of the American Meteorological Society, and as Chairman of the U.S. World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) Advisory Group for model-based air-sea fluxes. He is currently a member of the Science Teams for two NASA space missions.

From 1974-1976, he developed a global upper-ocean model and studied oceanic response to atmospheric wind forcing as well as large-scale atmospheric response to sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (unusual events). In more recent years, his research concentrated on the role of how the air and sea interacts in the development of cyclones, the role of soil moisture and unusual SST events in the initiation, maintenance and decay of prolonged heat waves and drought, and most recently on the modeling and prediction of hurricane formation, movement and intensification.

He is a recipient of the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the American Meteorological Society’s Banner I. Miller Award. In 2019, just prior to his retirement from NOAA, he was honored by the National Hurricane Center for Enduring Contributions to the nation’s hurricane forecast and warning program, and by the U.S. House of Representatives for his service to the nation.


Contact: Sumant Nigam

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AOSC Seminar

Pre-seminar refreshment: N/A
Seminar: 3:30-4:30pm, Room: ATL 2400(only when in-person)
Meet-the-Speaker: 4:30-5:00pm, Room: ATL 3400(only when in-person) [For AOSC Students only]

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