© IAS or as
MS Candidate in the Department of Atmospheric
Sciences, presented her thesis defense entitled
"Remembering Weather Events: What Makes Them
Memorable?," on Monday, April 15, 2013. Kathy’s
research was conducted under the direction of
major professor Dr. Andy Detwiler.
Chowanski presents thesis defense
MS Candidate in the Department of Atmospheric
Sciences, presented his thesis defense entitled
“Assessing Wetland Restoration with Phosphorous
Forms: A P-NMR Study Linking Biogeochemical
Function, Plant Community Structure, and
Hydrologic Function”, on Friday, April 5, 2013.
Kurt’s research was conducted under the
direction of major professor Dr. P.V.
Happy Halloween from
the Atmospheric Sciences Department!
New Students Join
Seven new students began the MS program in Atmospheric
Sciences this fall semester. We wish to welcome Alana Ballweber, Aaron Carmichael,
Rebecka Hastings, Ryan Lueck, Kenny Miller, Erin Walter, and Aaron Ward to
campus! They will be joining returning students Kurt Chowanski, Chris Hammrich,
Kathy Haselhorst, John Hamilton, Chip Redmond, and Christine Sandvik.
As of registration, we have 20 students in the BSIS-ATM
track, and 5 in the AES PhD program.
SDSM&T Weather Association
D'Amico (Atmospheric Sciences MS graduate in 2012) greets the crowd during the
SDSM&T campus organization sign-up day on August 30, 2012. A host of campus
organizations set up tables to recruit new members. The weather club,
newly-formed in 2011, hopes to enlarges its membership in the coming semesters.
The purpose of the club is to
encourage increased knowledge of and interest in atmospheric science and
meteorological phenomenon among its members. The organization is committed to
community involvement through outreach and educational programs aimed at
individuals of all ages. Further, the organization is aimed at unifying students
with interests in the atmospheric and earth sciences through group activities.
One of the first activities of the newly-formed group
was to coordinate with the National Weather Service to present a Skywarn Storm
Spotter Training event, held in the spring of 2011. Attendance was mixed between
students with an atmospheric science background and those from outside the
program as well as many community members. They were also successful in raising
$550 in the Relay for Life cancer benefit held in the fall.
The group will be planning more activities, and you
may visit their website by using the following link:
http://www.ias.sdsmt.edu/SDSMT Weather Association.htm or you can find them
Congratulations to our 2012 Graduates!
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology held
its 165th commencement ceremonies on Saturday,
May 5 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice
Arena. The Department of Atmospheric Sciences
had eight students receive their Master's
Degrees. Those graduating were, pictured below
from left to right, Joshua Brewer (Stanwood,
Washington), Emily French (Torrington, CT),
Gretchen Berg (Mitchell, SD), Dan McKemy
(Hickory, NC), Theresa Aguilar (Anton, Texas),
Heather Caye (Allen Park, MI), Dan D'Amico
(Twinsburg, OH), and Frances Sewell (Monticello,
We wish these students
the best of luck as they continue in the pursuit
of their career goals!
What is a RAWS station?
|A Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) provides the
necessary weather information for fire management decisions.
Measurements taken at a RAWS site include temperature, relative
humidity, 20 ft wind speed/direction, precipitation, solar radiation,
and 10 hr fuel moisture. These measurements are taken as hourly
observations and are transmitted via satellite to the National
Interagency Fire Center to be disseminated worldwide. In addition, RAWS
sites provide a consistent location for field technicians to take
measurements of live foliar and duff fuel moisture.
|For more photos, follow this link:
Students Attend American Meteorological Society
Career Fair in New Orleans
students attended the AMS Annual Meeting and
Career Fair held in New Orleans January 22-27, 2012.
This event is a great networking
time for the students, as they will soon receive
their M.S. degrees and be ready to join the
workforce. In addition to attending different
sessions during the week-long fair, our students
also take the
opportunity to visit with perspective new students
during the Career Fair. Shown are Emily
French, Dan D'Amico, and Gretchen Berg at our
recruiting table at the Career Fair. The students
posters on the research projects that they are
associated with. Also attending this conference
were Theresa Aguilar, M.S. student and Eric Hout,
BSIS-ATM undergrad, and Professor Bill Capehart.
First Snow of the
Season Contest Winners announced
Andrew Detwiler, Atmospheric Sciences Department
Chair, presented checks for $25 and certificates to
the winners of this year's First Snow of the Season
Contest. Mr. Todd Menkhaus, associate professor in
the Chemical and Biological Engineering Dept., won
in the adult division with a guess of 5:45 a.m. on
Friday, November 18. He is holding the winner of the
"under-18" category, Hayden Zuhlsdorf, of Box Elder,
with a guess of 9:55 p.m. on November 13.
first official inch of snow fell on Friday evening,
November 18 at 5:30 p.m. We had 112 adult entries
and 15 in the under-18 category.
Department wishes to thank everyone who participated
in this year's contest.
Even scientist-types enjoy some good Halloween fun,
and the atmospheric science students (and a staff
member, too) proved it to be so as they dressed up
in typical Waldo fashion for Halloween 2011. The
students are a close-knit group who enjoy
participating in many activities, and Halloween was
Smoke and fire
burns have been in the news recently. Just what is a
prescribed (or controlled) burn?
A prescribed burn uses
controlled conditions to accomplish several things
in a heavily-forested area, or even in an area such
as the Badlands, where ample moisture has created
heavy grass growth. Deliberate burning of certain
areas will help to remove accumulated fuels that can
cause intense fires that start by human error or
natural causes such as lightning. The habitat for
wildlife is also improved with the new growth of
tender plants. It is also a means of controlling
pest problems and cleaning up debris from fallen
dead trees, allowing for new growth and natural
See the following link for
more photos of the prescribed burn process.
The graduate and
undergraduate students in the Atmospheric Sciences Department participated
in the M-Day parade, September 24, 2011. Dan McKemy portrayed Dan Dan the
Weatherman, as several students marched alongside the pickup all decked out
in weather forecasting equipment.
Dr. Harold Orville -
A Tree is Planted in his Memory
July 31, 2011, a honey locust tree was planted in
front of the Mineral Industries building on the
campus of SDSM&T in memory of Dr. Harry Orville. Dr.
Orville, who passed away in June, was a
distinguished professor emeritus of the atmospheric
sciences department and was also a generous
benefactor to the department and the School of
Mines. In addition to being a favorite professor of
the students, he also conducted research work,
served as department chair, and served as an interim
vice president of the university.
Coal Canyon Fire
Darren Clabo, state wildfire
meteorologist, was on duty in mid-August at the Coal
Canyon Fire. The fire resulted in the loss of one
firefighter and injuries to four others. It consumed
over 5000 acres of forest and grassland before being
fully contained on August 17.
What Are Those Strange Looking Clouds?
Darren Clabo, state wildfire meteorologist, recently
snapped this shot of a Kelvin-Helmholtz Cloud. Sometimes called shear-gravity
clouds, or Kelvin-Helmholtz billows, they can be indicators of atmospheric
instability. An upper layer of air moving at higher speed will pick up the top
of the cloud layer and form the wave-like rolling peaks you see. The formation
is named after Lord Kelvin, a British physicist, and Hermann von Helmholtz, a
WhoopUp Fire Photos
Darren Clabo, state fire meteorologist for South Dakota,
was on-scene last week at the WhoopUp (named for a nearby creek) and Barrel
fires and took several photos of the fires and their aftermath.
conflagrations started from lightning strikes on July 17 and were fully
contained by July 23, burning approximately 10,000 acres of forest and grass.
For more photos, follow this link:
Slurry plane dropping fire
Clabo uses a handheld Kestrel, an instrument that measures wind speed,
temperature, and relative humidity.
|Helicopter used to
drop thousands of gallons of water on the fire.
Firefighter tent city
On a recent July afternoon, Darren Clabo, state fire
meteorologist, and Fran Sewell, M.S. student in Atmospheric Sciences, drove
through Custer State Park to identify areas for Fran’s research on the effects
of fire on soil greenhouse gas flux. They flagged areas along a
fireline where carbon dioxide and methane
measurements will be taken. The brown areas are not caused by insect damage, but
by surface fire that scorched the trees. And, while in the park, they just
happened to catch site of a buffalo or two grazing in the grass.
Students who are enrolled in the Atmospheric Sciences
program have opportunities to conduct research in various areas of
atmospheric and earth systems studies, under the guidance of the expert faculty
of the department. For more information on our department, please visit the
http://www.ias.sdsmt.edu/academics.htm. (All photos ©
gustnado to tornado...
Honomichl, MS-ATM 2011 graduate,
went storm chasing near O'Neill,
Nebraska on Memorial Day. He snapped
the following photos, which show how
a "gustnado" can turn into a
There is a distinct
division between the wall cloud and
the turbulence on the ground in the
photo at left. On the right we see
the two areas joining to form a
All photos © Shawn
Burns Near Spearfish, SD
Darren Clabo, state wildfire
meteorologist, took some photos
during a prescribed, or controlled
burn, near Spearfish, SD in early
May, 2011. Fire crews were
conducting the burn to return fire
(natural process) to the grassland
Different vegetation types can cause
varying smoke colors due to their
differing chemical compositions or
moisture content. Phragmite and
cattails tend to burn with a deep
black smoke, while cheatgrass,
brome, and grama varieties tend to
burn with white smoke.
©Darren Clabo, IAS
more photos, check this link:
Lisa Phillips (M.S.-ATM
2010) received a first place award
in the amateur division from the
Black Hills Chapter of the American
Meteorological Society for this
snapshot she took of sundogs. A
sundog, technically known as a
parhelion, is a halo phenomenon
consisting of either of two colored
luminous spots that appear at points
on both sides of the sun and at the
same elevation as the sun. It is
caused by refraction of sunlight by
Atmospheric Sciences Student
presents at AMS Annual Meeting
Aguilar, ATM-MS student, presented
"An Investigation into the
Spatiotemporal Scale of Two Wind
Ramp Events in Northeastern
Colorado" at the 91st Annual Meeting
of the American Meteorological
Society, January 23-27, 2011 in
Seattle, Washington. Also attending
the meeting were Dr. Andy Detwiler
and Dr. Paul Smith. Dr. Smith's
presentation was on hail damage
To Mines Open House - April 2011
Frances Sewell, Dan D'Amico,
Heather Caye, Patrick Ealy, and
Ciara Breen represented the
Atmospheric Sciences department at
the annual open house event held on
campus, Saturday, April 16, 2011.
They are students of Atmospheric
Sciences in either the BSIS or MS
degree programs at the School of
Mines and are also members of the