Elizabeth Weatherhead Group
Understanding the Earth Through Expert Analysis of Observations
Dr. Weatherhead has received a number of awards for her scientific work on weather, climate, stratospheric ozone, UV radiation and unmanned aircraft. proud to share a number of awards including the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for her contributions on understanding the Arctic climate. She has led a number of successful groups to develop programs and increase scientific activity in a number of areas (Arctic research, unmanned aircraft, renewable energy and weather forecasting). She is a demonstrated leader, equally comfortable working with leaders in industry and academia. Most recently, she brought together leaders from academia, public sector and private sector to identify a path for the US to become significantly better at weather forecasting. Currently she is working with the international community to understand trends in tropospheric ozone around the globe.
She has given senate testimony on Arctic weather, led a group of scientists to the hill to discuss weather forecasting, and maintains strong ties with the White House and State Department on issues of the environment. She most recently (2014) was invited by the State Department to visit India and discuss new Indian-US relations with respect to atmospheric science.
Scientifically, she is often asked to consult on a variety of topics within atmospheric science that require high level statistical or technical expertise. Her background in solar radiation and its affects on all levels of the atmosphere have resulted in a number of publications and governmental reports. Her work on detecting changes in ozone culminated in the cover story on ozone recovery for Nature in 2006. Since then she has worked to establish defensible criteria for identifying when one weather forecasting model is better than another--even when the improvement is extremely small. In January, 2017, she published a paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society on solar radiation; currently she has papers under review on satellite overlap and the value of surface networks.
Current research interests include the interface between weather and climate, renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, through a better understanding of long-term and short-term resources and predictability. She taught environmental statistics in Spring, 2016, developing a new course that was well received by the highly talented students at CU who took the course.
In 2013 she was recognized by the University of Colorado for her work in advocating for women and minorities.
2001-2006 Arctic Research
This effort, supported by the US Dept. of State and NOAA, developed a fifteen country effort to examine Arctic pollution, climate change and ozone depletion. Dr. Weatherhead worked with the Dept. of State to complete two major assessments, where she was both lead author and a part of the executive team to define the scope and roles of participants. She coordinated closely with the White House' Arctic Research Commission, leading the ARC to a set of meetings in Boulder to plan priorities for future work.
2006-2010 Unmanned Aircraft
Unmanned aircraft were considered somewhere between science fiction and a joke in 2006. Betsy Weatherhead and Prof. Brian Argrow developed the Civilian Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, bringing together leaders from DoD, DHS, FAA, ICAO and academia to identify first applications for Unmanned Aircraft to test their safety and efficacy in a variety of applications. Dr. Weatherhead led two groups: one to explore meltponds over Greenland and one to evaluate images from unmanned aircraft over the Bering Sea. The international group she founded to coordinate UAS efforts still exists and NOAA now has a fully funded UAS program which operates in conjunction with NASA.
2010-2012 Renewable Energy
Dr. Weatherhead worked closely with Dr. Melinda Marquis, NOAA, to identify key areas for the government to work on renewable energy. She helped gather individuals, write proposals and clarify appropriate roles for improving weather forecasting that has resulted in a funded renewable energy program involving collaboration of both NOAA and DOE. In the process, she led a set of international leaders to the AAAS meeting in Vancouver to work out appropriate roles for academia and government in supporting renewable energy research. She continues to chair the renewable energy sessions at AGU each year, encouraging the next generation of scientists to contribute to this important field.
2012-2015 Weather Forecast Improvement
As the US continued to lose ground in its forecasting capabilities compared to a number of competitors in 2012, Dr. Weatherhead pulled together leaders from the public, private and academic communities to identify key steps to make advancements in weather. The group worked together to identify key areas of agreement and then communicated those key findings broadly. Dr. Weatherhead chaired four American Meteorological Society Summer Community Meetings, numerous face to face Forecast Improvement Group meetings and continues to work tirelessly to improve forecasting capabilities. Her leadership in this area has been saluted by a number of organizations, including NOAA and AMS.
2016-2017 Developing the weather forecast system of the future
NOAA is advancing weather forecasting through the Next Generation Global Prediction System. Dr. Weatherhead is proud to be a part of this effort, working to develop techniques for testing and verifying small improvements in forecasts.
2015-2017 Planning Observing Systems
Observations are the key to all decisions that affect water planning, severe weather mitigation, energy usage and resource management. Dr. Weatherhead is working with colleagues to develop careful, and financially defensible approaches for planning the observing systems of the future.
Projects of Elizabeth Weatherhead:
NGGPS: Statistical Considerations in Evaluation Weather Forecasts
GRUAN: Evaluation of Surface Observing Networks
TOAR: Trends and Changes in Trends in Tropospheric Ozone
COSSEs: Climate Observing System Simulation Experiments