Typhoons can be deadly. Packing winds of more than 75 miles an hour, these unpredictable storms, often accompanied by major flooding caused by intense rainfall, can tear apart homes and buildings, topple trees, and endanger human lives. Scientists use computer programs to analyze how typhoons grow, what routes they are likely to follow, and how much rain they may contain. Recently, CS15 alum Ali Jakobsen, who now attends Berry College, was given the opportunity to present research authored by Dr. Jessica Sutton and co-authored by Kathryn Lanyon in a poster session at the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Boston. Here, in her own words, she describes the experience of presenting this important research at such a prestigious conference.
"When I started at Berry College, I met my academic advisor (Dr. Sutton), and I told her I was passionate about climate change, specifically meteorology. She and I discussed working on her research project: "Comparing Precipitation from PERSIANN and TRMM during Typhoons." I started working on it almost immediately. I spent weeks learning the project and computer program (R-Studio) we use to gather, subset, and rewrite all our data into new files, maps, and graphs.
We are comparing precipitation estimates for the years of 2000-2018 in the Pacific Ocean and specifically the US Affiliated Pacific Islands from in-situ rain gauges and two satellites: NOAA's PERSIANN-CDR satellite, and NASA's TRMM-TMPA satellite. By comparing precipitation estimates, we are hoping to gain a better understanding of the patterns typhoons follow and how they are changing with climate change. Because of climate change, pacific forecasters need a better understanding of how typhoons are behaving in order to better predict the outcome. The analysis will be used by pacific forecasters to accurately forecast precipitation density for typhoons in the future.
So far, working on a research project and even getting to go to a huge conference to present has been such an amazing experience, and I am so grateful for it! I have always had a passion for atmospheric sciences, and being able to see what a career in atmospheric research would look like has been such an incredible learning experience. I'm super grateful for my advisor for giving me the opportunity to work with her and getting to go present this research!"
Photos contributed by Ali Jakobsen, CS15