12th Symposium on Education


Graduate field training in atmospheric measurements

Melanie A. Wetzel, DRI, Reno, NV; and R. D. Borys and D. R. Lowenthal

A graduate-level course in atmospheric field measurements and field project design is conducted routinely at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) Storm Peak Laboratory, a high-elevation research facility in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The course is part of the Atmospheric Sciences graduate degree curriculum of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), but also is taken by graduate students from other University of Nevada programs in both Las Vegas and Reno (Chemistry; Environmental Sciences & Health; Hydrogeology; Earth and Resource Sciences). The field portion of the course is coordinated with concurrent research projects and continuous monitoring activities at Storm Peak Laboratory, and the students are also invited to bring or use instrumentation relevant to their thesis or dissertation studies. Emphasis is on interdisciplinary questions and have included such topics as the impacts of aerosol-cloud interactions on snow hydrology, the identification and evolution of chemical signatures from snowmobile emissions in snowpack, UV actinic flux effects on air chemistry over snow-covered terrain, and the role of valley inversion cycles in release of urban pollutant aerosol to orographic cloud. The course format is designed to simulate all steps in the process of an independant field research project. Each student creates a project proposal according to National Science Foundation guidelines, including a description of instrumentation, field methods and analysis procedures. In-field time is brief since the course is held during January between semesters, so instrument setup and data collection schedules are carefully planned and each student provides a daily weather briefing in the mode of a large multi-investigator field operation. Following the field phase, students prepare journal-ready manuscripts to report on their research procedures and results, and present conference-format talks in open seminars at DRI.

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Session 5, University Educational Initiatives: Continued
Tuesday, 11 February 2003, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

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