Elizabeth Smith


Observations & Processes Team (OPT)

Job Title:Research Meteorologist


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Dr. Elizabeth Smith focuses on low-level atmospheric processes relevant to near- and pre-storm environments and convection initiation. Her expertise is in boundary-layer–to–mesoscale meteorology, observations, and field deployments. Dr. Smith is a NOAA UAS Mission Commander and a certificated UAS pilot.

Much of Dr. Smith's research includes development, deployment, and analysis of observations from ground-based boundary-layer profilers, and she works extensively with the multi-sensor Collaborative Lower Atmospheric Mobile Profiling System (CLAMPS) facilities. In more recent years, her focus has expanded to include development and deployment of weather-sensing uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) such as the CopterSonde UAS and next-generation observation network design considerations. She has extensive experience with field campaigns including the conceptualization phase, the leadership and execution phases, and in preparing and publishing high-quality datasets.

Dr. Smith has been a Research Meteorologist at NSSL since 2020. Before fully joining the lab, she spent a year working within it as a postdoc at OU’s NOAA Cooperative Institute in 2019. Dr. Smith earned a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in December of 2018. Before graduate study at OU, she earned a B.S. in Meteorology at the California University of Pennsylvania—now called PennWest California—in 2014. She is also an alumna of the NOAA Hollings program (2012-14), which strongly influenced her path toward research as service.

Beyond her specialty-specific contributions, Dr. Smith is invested in making science and scientific workplaces inclusive. Dr. Smith collaborates actively with the cross-institution Boundary Layer Integrated Sensing and Simulation (BLISS) research team located in the National Weather Center. She also holds an affiliate faculty appointment at the OU School of Meteorology where she currently leads the Boundary-layer, Urban, and Land-atmosphere processes (BUL) seminar series, frequently advises students in graduate and undergraduate research, and teaches courses.

You can learn more about Dr. Smith and find details about many of these activities on her website.

Degree (Ph.D, M.S, B.A, etc.) Major Subject University or College Name Year (YYYY) (optional)
Ph.D. Meteorology University of Oklahoma 2018
B.S. Earth Science–Meteorology PennWest California (formerly California Univ. of Pennsylvania) 2014
Research Interests
  • mesoscale meteorology
  • boundary-layer meteorology
  • convection initiation
  • remote sensing
  • uncrewed aircraft systems
  • DEIA
  • measurement techniques
  • field campaigns
Professional Activities
  • Affiliate assistant professor, School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma
  • Subject matter editor–observations, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
  • NSSL Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability Team (NDIST) member
  • College of Atmospheric and Geographic Science Diversity and Inclusion Council affiliate member
  • OAR EEO Advisory Committee Alternate member
  • National Weather Museum and Science Center board member, volunteer
  • Letters to a Pre-Scientist Pen-Pal
Honors & Awards
Award Name Year
OAR EEO/Diversity Award for a Group: EEO Advisory Committee 2022
OAR EEO/Diversity Award for Exemplary Service 2020
OU SoM Douglas Lilly Paper Award 2019
Selected Publications

Lappin, F. M., co-authors, E. N. Smith, and co-authors, 2024: Data collected using small uncrewed aircraft system during the TRacking Aerosol Convection Interactions ExpeRiment (TRACER), Earth Sys. Sci. Data, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2023-371.

de Boer, G., co-authors, E. N. Smith and , co-authors, 2023: Supporting Advancement in Weather and Water Prediction in the Upper Colorado River Basin: The SPLASH CampaignBull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-22-0147.1

Adler, B., co-authors, E. N. Smith, and co-authors, 2023: Impact of seasonal snow-cover change on the observed and simulated state of the atmospheric boundary layer in a high-altitude mountain valleyJ. Geophys. Res.: Atmos., 128. doi.org/10.1029/2023JD038497

Laser, J. J., M. C. Coniglio, P. S. Skinner, and E. N. Smith, 2022: Doppler Lidar and Mobile Radiosonde Observation-Based Evaluation of Warn-on-Forecast System Predicted Near-Supercell Environments during TORUS 2019Weather and Forecasting37(10), 1783-1804, doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-21-0190.1

Duncan Jr., J.B., co-authors, E. N. Smith, and co-authors, 2022: Evaluating convective planetary boundary layer height estimations resolved by both active and passive remote sensing instruments during the CHEESEHEAD19 field campaign. Atmos. Meas. Tech., 15, 2479–2502, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-15-2479-2022.

Butterworth, B. J., co-authors, E. N. Smith, and co-authors, 2021: Connecting land–atmosphere interactions to surface heterogeneity in CHEESEHEAD19Bull. Amet. Soc.,102(2), E421-E445, doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0346.1.

Smith, E. N., Greene, B.R., Bell, T.M., Blumberg, W.G., Wakefield, R., Reif, D., Niu, Q., Wamg, Q., Turner, D.D., 2021: Evaluation and Applications of Multi-Instrument Boundary-Layer Thermodynamic Retrievals. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 181, 95–123. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10546-021-00640-2

McFarquhar, G. M, E. N. Smith, and co-authors, 2020: Current and Future Uses of UAS for Improved Forecasts/Warnings and Scientific StudiesBull. Amet. Soc.,101(8), E1322-E1328. doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0015.1.

Potvin C. K., co-authors, E. N. Smith, 2020: Assessing systematic impacts of PBL schemes on storm evolution in the NOAA Warn-on-Forecast SystemMon. Wea. Rev.148(6), 2567-2590, doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-19-0389.1

Smith, E. N., J. G. Gebauer, P. M. Klein, E. F. Fedorovich, J. A. Gibbs, 2019: The Great Plains low-level jet during PECAN: observed and simulated characteristicsMon. Wea. Rev., 147, 1845–1869.

Smith, E. N., J. A. Gibbs, E. Fedorovich, P. M. Klein, 2018: WRF model study of the Great Plains low-level jet, J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol.57, 2375–2397.

Smith, E. N., E. Fedorovich, A. Shapiro, 2017: Comparison of analytical descriptions of nocturnal low-level jets with the Ekman model frameworkEnviron. Fluid. Mech.17, 485-495.