Gab at the Lab: April 14, 2017

Gab at the Lab is Friday, April 14, 2017.

Speakers include Junjun Hu with FRDD, Swapan Mallick with FRDD, Amanda Murphy with RRDD, Humerto Vergara with WRDD, and Sean Waugh with WRDD

Gab at the Lab is from 10 to 11 a.m. in Room 3910.

Learn about your coworkers and who they are, not just what they do!

 

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Gab at the Lab: Don MacGorman

Don MacGorman, Senior Research Scientist

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Background:Ph.D. Space Physics and Astronomy, Rice University
M.S. Space Physics and Astronomy, Rice University
B.A. Physics, Rice University
Experience:Don was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Aside from his 4th grade year, which he spent in Durham, North Carolina, and his 11th grade year, spent in Beirut, Lebanon, Don’s entire childhood took place in Texas. He remained in the state for college, earning his bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. at Rice University in Houston, where his graduate research focused on using recordings of thunder to map where lightning occurred in a hailstorm. Don came to Norman in 1978 as a postdoctoral researcher.
What He Does:Don began working with NSSL in 1978, first as a postdoctoral research with OU CIMMS, and then as a National Research Council postdoc. Since December 2000, Don has been a Federal research scientist with the Lab. He currently serves as the Storm Electricity Team Leader in the Warning Research Development Division. Using the Lightning Strike Locating System, his team conducts studies on positive cloud-to-ground detection. Recently, the longest lightning bolt ever recorded was found to extend almost 200 miles across the state of Oklahoma. The bolt occurred during a thunderstorm on June 20, 2007.
Trivia: Don is the son of a Canadian father and a Texan mother. His wife and two daughters all hold Master’s degrees in music. In his free time, Don enjoys reading, gardening, strength training, music, and he has recently taken up ballroom dancing.
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Gab at the Lab: Alexander Ryzhkov

Alexander Ryzhkov, Senior Research Scientist (CIMMS/NSSL)

Background:Ph.D. Radio Science, St. Petersburg University (1977)
M.S. Physics, St. Petersburg University (1974)
Experience:Alexander Ryzhkov grew up in Russia, in a small city called Valday, Novgorod Oblast. He attended St. Petersburg University, where he earned degrees in both physics and radio science. After completing his Ph.D. program, Alexander worked at Russia’s Main Geophysical Observatory from 1978 to 1992. During this time, he networked with scientists in Norman, and was eventually invited to come to NSSL as a National Research Council postdoctoral researcher.
What He Does:Alexander was an NRC postdoc at NSSL from 1992 to 1995. He then accepted a research scientist position with OU’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, where he has remained for over 20 years. Alexander’s primary research goals are developing operational algorithms for quantitative precipitation estimation, hydrometeor classification, and microphysical retrievals using polarimetric radars, and utilizing polarimetric radars for the improvement of Numerical Weather Prediction model performance. To achieve these objectives, he works to break down walls between radar scientists and cloud modelers and capitalizes on the benefits of international collaboration.
Trivia: Alexander’s favorite pastimes include walking in the woods, strolling the streets of European cities, spending hours in art galleries, and relaxing with some music. He enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his wife, two daughters, and a son.
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Gab at the Lab: Derek Stratman

Derek Stratman, NRC Postdoc

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Background:Ph.D. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (2016)
M.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (2011)
B.S. Meteorology, Valparaiso University (2009)
Experience:Derek was born and raised in Jasper, Indiana, best known for Strassenfest, an annual summer festival celebrating German heritage and culture. He attended Valparaiso University in his home state, earning his bachelor’s degree in meteorology. Then, he moved to Norman to continue his education at the University of Oklahoma. He earned both his Master’s and Ph.D. in meteorology at OU before accepting a National Research Council Postdoc position with NSSL’s Warn-on-Forecast group.
What He Does:Derek began working with the Warn-on-Forecast group in August 2016. His current research is focused on alleviating storm displacement errors in storm-scale forecasts. Previously, he had been an OU graduate research assistant. He worked with NSSL from 2009 to 2011, looking at storm-scale model verification. From 2011 to 2016, he worked with the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms on improving storm-scale modeling and data assimilation techniques. He also took part in several field experiments. In 2010, he participated in the Verification of the Origin of Rotation of Tornadoes Experiment 2 (VORTEX2), assisting with mobile mesonet operations and taking surface observations. In 2013, Derek helped coordinate data collection for the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX).
Trivia: Derek and his wife recently had their first child. In his free time, Derek enjoys several hobbies, including photography, storm chasing, astronomy, camping/hiking, playing trumpet, and sports.

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Gab at the Lab: Yunheng Wang

Yunheng Wang, Research Scientist (CIMMS/NSSL)

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Background:Ph.D. Computer Sciences, University of Oklahoma (2007)
M.S. Meteorology, University of Maryland (2000)
B.S. Meteorology, Nanjing Institute of Meteorology (1993)
Experience:Yunheng grew up in northeastern China and attended Nanjing Institute of Meteorology (now renamed as Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology). He began his career with the China Meteorological Administration before moving to the United States, where he earned his Master’s degree at the University of Maryland. From Maryland, Yunheng made his way to Norman, earning his Ph.D. in computer sciences at the University of Oklahoma. He worked with OU’s Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms as a research scientist/software manager, then was offered a position with OU CIMMS. He has been a member of the Warn-on-Forecast team since October 2015.
What He Does:Yunheng's work is concentrated on the Warn-on-Forecast project. He develops software running on supercomputers for atmospheric applications. He also uses data assimilation techniques (3D/4D variational method, EnKF, LETKF, etc.) to conduct radar and satellite data analysis. In addition, he is working with numerical weather prediction models, including WRF, NMMB, the Advanced Regional Prediction System, and the Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System. Yunheng enjoyed taking part in the 2016 Hazardous Weather Testbed experiments focusing on 3DVAR analysis and the WRF prediction system.
Trivia: Yunheng has many interests, including reading (particularly ancient history), movies, and travel. He is not an avid sports fan, but encourages his two boys to be involved in athletics.
Fun Fact: Wang is the largest surname in China, with over 92 million people sharing the name!

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Gab at the Lab: Heather Reeves

Heather Reeves, Research Associate (CIMMS/NSSL)

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Background:Ph.D. Meteorology, North Carolina State University
M.S. Meteorology, North Carolina State University
B.S. Meteorology, Central Michigan University
Experience:Heather was born in Hemlock, Michigan, where she lived until her family relocated in-state to Mt. Pleasant. She grew up with an interest in music, but quickly discovered the competitive lifestyle did not suit her personality. Instead, she elected to pursue a degree in meteorology at Central Michigan University. Upon graduation, she and her husband decided to continue their education, and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. There, she earned both her Master’s and Ph.D. at North Carolina State University. After graduating, Heather was offered a NRC Postdoc at NSSL in Norman, Oklahoma. After finishing her postdoc, she joined CIMMS and has contributed to a number of different projects both related to numerical weather prediction and radar meteorology.
What She Does:Heather has been with CIMMS/NSSL since 2009. Initially, she worked jointly for the Forecast and Radar Research Development Divisions, but transitioned to the Warning Research Development Division in 2015 to manage NSSL’s FAA research portfolio. Her specific interests include orographic precipitation and winter weather. She is currently working on projects to support detection and short-range prediction of weather hazards to the transportation sector. In June, Heather was honored with the American Meteorological Society's Service to the Society Award at the 17th Conference on Mountain Meteorology.
Trivia: Heather is married and has four cats. She and her husband enjoy watching low-budget disaster movies. Some of her favorites include "Lightning: Bolts of Destruction," "Tornado Valley," and "Christmas Twister."

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Gab at the Lab: Matt Mahalik

Matt Mahalik, Research Associate (CIMMS/NSSL)

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Background:M.S. Atmospheric Science, Texas Tech University (2015)
B.S. Meteorology/Climatology/GIS, The Pennsylvania State University (2012)
Experience:Matt grew up in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, and earned his bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Penn State University. During his undergraduate studies, he was active in the Penn State chapters of the AMS and NWA. He was also a NOAA Hollings Scholar and spent time at the NWS forecast office in Melbourne, Florida, in 2011. He went on to earn his Master’s degree from Texas Tech University in 2015, focusing his studies on supercell modeling and vorticity dynamics, working with mobile radars, and maintaining West Texas Mesonet stations.
What He Does:Matt started with OU CIMMS in July 2015. He is a part of the Severe Weather Warning Applications and Technology Transfer group in the Warning Research and Development Division. He describes himself as a writer, tester, and fixer of algorithms for the Warning Decision Support System -- Integrated Information. Currently, he is working on azimuthal shear applications, including rotation tracks, and developing divergent shear. Matt also contributes to several other projects with the Lab, including Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor severe weather applications and the Multi-Year Reanalysis of Remotely Sensed Storms program. In addition, he is helping develop mesocyclone and tornado detection algorithms with the Radar Operations Center, and assists severe weather researchers at the OU School of Meteorology.
Trivia: Matt was a campus tour guide at Penn State. In his spare time, Matt enjoys road trips, attending college football games, and the occasional storm chase. Some miscellaneous favorites of his include Carolina BBQ, red dirt country music, and a surprising amount of hip hop.

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Gab at the Lab: John Lawson

John Lawson, Postdoctoral Research Associate (CIMMS/NSSL)

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Background:Ph.D. Meteorology, Iowa State University
M.S. Meteorology, University of Utah
MMet Meteorology, University of Reading (UK)
Experience:John was born in Stockton-on-Tees in the United Kingdom. He earned his MMet degree at the University of Reading, and was able to come to Oklahoma on a foreign exchange during that program of study. This eventually led to his decision to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Utah, where he took part in field studies of downslope windstorms. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. at Iowa State University, an excellent location for studying severe weather!
What He Does:John’s passion is in chaos theory and the predictability of weather. At NSSL, he is designing short-range ensemble forecast systems (collections of slightly different weather forecasts) for the Warn-on-Forecast project. The project aims to provide a probabilistic (risk-based) forecast of high-impact weather such as tornadoes and flash flooding to increase warning lead times in these events. His other research areas include supercell and bow-echo predictability, and the development of a Python package that generates and evaluates ensemble forecasts.
Trivia: John runs a UK private forecasting operation called Bolt Forecast. He also enjoys listening to music, and coaching or watching soccer (or football, as it is known in the UK). He also likes spending time with his dog and coloring (see photo).

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Gab at the Lab: Allen Zahrai

Allen Zahrai, Research Scientist

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Background:M.S., Computer Science, University of Oklahoma
M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Oklahoma
B.S., Electrical Engineering, Minor: Mathematics, University of Oklahoma
Experience:Allen was born in Tehran, Iran, and moved frequently during his early years. He spent some time in Sweden, and believed he would likely settle down in Europe until he came to Washington, D.C. to study at George Washington University. He was then enticed by a friend to transfer to Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma and, from there, made his way to the University of Oklahoma in Norman. As a child, Allen was fascinated by engineering and could often be found tinkering with objects in his bedroom. He brought the same enthusiasm to his studies, earning both a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in electrical engineering. He came to NSSL as a graduate student, collaborating with Dick Doviak on a digital acoustic profiler project for NASA.
What He Does:Allen has a long history at NSSL, and has been part of the evolution of the Lab’s radar programs. He worked on some of the earliest equipment and helped develop the first dual polarized doppler weather radar. In time, he joined the National Weather Service’s Radar Operations Center, where he worked on WSR-88D deployment issues. Now, he is a radar engineering team leader in the Radar Research and Development Division at NSSL. Allen has been a team member on projects like the WSR-88D dual pol upgrade, and helped build the National Weather Radar Testbed. He has worked on mobile radars, like the dual polarized X-band and the SMART-R dual polarized C-band. Currently, he is helping to test the ten panel demonstrator and build the Advanced Technology Demonstrator, which will allow researchers to test dual polarized phased array radar.
Trivia: Allen enjoys spending time with his family, which includes three children and five grandchildren.He and his wife also have two cats and a dog. In his free time, he likes the outdoors, video games, computers, electronics, motor vehicles, and wood working.

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Gab at the Lab: Bob Rabin

Bob Rabin, Research Scientist

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Background:Ph.D.., Meteorology, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
M.S., Meteorology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
B.S., Meteorology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Experience:Bob is originally from Evanston, Illinois, near Chicago. He was inspired to pursue a career in meteorology by significant weather events in his early years. During the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, Bob watched as developing storms formed overhead, unaware at the time that the Weather Bureau storm survey included recommendations from NSSL detailing a prototype Doppler radar. He was fascinated yet again when a tornado struck Topeka, Kansas, and near home in 1966. And, of course, he was influenced by big snowstorms in Chicago, like the blizzard of 1967. Bob enjoyed following the career of Harry Volkman, the first meteorologist to issue a tornado warning on air. He would eventually earn his own meteorology degrees from McGill University in Montreal. Later, he would travel to Paris, France for his Ph.D.at the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, where his thesis was “Diagnosing changes in temperature/moisture profiles using Doppler radar.”
What He Does:Bob has been with NSSL for many years, and has watched the Lab’s history unfold. He has been a contributor to many scientific studies and research papers. In 1979, Bob was part of the Severe Environmental Storm and Mesoscale Experiment, which sampled Southern Plains storm activity at different scales of motion. Over the next few years, his research focused on uses of Doppler radar to estimate winds in the clear air, and on the effects of landscape variations on convective clouds. In 1989, Bob was detailed at the Space Science and Engineering Center in Madison, Wisconsin, which led to on-going collaboration with scientists at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. Today, Bob is working to develop GOES-R and the next generation of NOAA/NASA geo weather satellites. He is also responsible for diversity outreach activities at NSSL, and has mentored students at schools nationwide, including Iḷisaġvik College, a two-year tribal college in Barrow, Alaska. Bob is also enrolled as a student there, studying the Inupiaq language. In February, Bob was selected to receive the 2016 EEO/Diversity Award for Exemplary Service from NOAA’s Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research.
Trivia: Bob loves to spend time outdoors in all weather conditions, and enjoys sprinting, biking, hiking, and Nordic skiing. He is also a yoga instructor. During his time in Montreal, he was a hockey goal judge at McConnell Arena, home of McGill hockey. He enjoyed many years of playing basketball with NSSL’s “Hall of Fame” squad at the YMCA, which occasionally included notables such as OU’s J.C. Watts.

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