Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Leslie M. Hartten

Research Interests

  • The synoptics and dynamics of the atmosphere over the tropical oceans and the Arctic
  • Boundary layer meteorology
  • The comparability of data collected by collocated platforms
  • The response of wind profiling radars to atmospheric processes
  • Good graphical practices applied to scientific research
  • How science is done, and by whom

Current Research

I've been hooked on weather since I took Earth Science in 8th grade. Experiences during my undergraduate days convinced me I wasn't cut out to be a forecaster, so I turned to research and have never regretted it. I've studied fair-weather continental boundary layers and tropical marine ones; large-scale tropical phenomena and long-term variations in sea breezes; some of the instruments that collect data; and the career paths of meteorologists.

Since I arrived in Boulder in 1993, much of my work has focused on the weather over the tropical Pacific and its interactions with the underlying ocean and with global climate. I've also been involved in various investigations into the uses and abuses of data collected by wind profiling radars. In the last several years I've branched out into the Indian and western Atlantic basins, using Linear Inverse Modelling (LIM) as a tool to study ocean/atmosphere relationships.

In early 2016 I spent 5 weeks on Kiritimati (pronounced "Christmas") Island in the equatorial central Pacific (2.01°N, 157.4°W).  My colleagues and I launched twice-daily radiosondes as part of the El Niño Rapid Response (ENRR) field campaign.  Afterwards I led the effort to quality control the surface and upper-air data collected from Kiritimati and the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown during ENRR, working with colleagues to disseminate our data and initial results.  Most recently I've taken my experience collecting, evaluating, and documenting wind profiles and "moved" into the Arctic, becoming involved in the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) supersite Model Intercomparison Project (MIP), aka YOPPsiteMIP.  I am collaborating with CIRES, ESRL, and international colleagues to create Merged Observatory Data Files (MODFs) for YOPP's Arctic Special Observing Periods.  These files, whose specifications are being refined in close collaboration with numerical modelling and research partners, have a format and contents very similar to the model forecast files being created by the participating numerical weather prediction centers, and are designed to facilitate process-based studies of model performance.


Kiritimati Island balloon launch, March 2016 during ENRR

Leslie launching the 00Z CXENRR balloon on 17 March 2016 from the Captain Cook Hotel in Main Camp, Kiritimati Island during the El Niño Rapid Response (ENRR) field campaign.

915-MHz wind profiler teardown, San Cristóbal, Galápagos Islands

Taking apart the clutter screen on the 915-MHz wind profiler that operated on San Cristóbal, Galápagos Islands from 1994-2004.

I'm not sure which is more satisfying – learning which way the wind blows, or showing people how we find out.

Helping a student from Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Junior-Secondary School launch the 0000 UTC radiosonde from Kirtimati Island on 27 March 2016 Island, a few days before the end of the El Niño Rapid Response (ENRR) field campaign.  This graphic was constructed by ESWN for the 2019 #ShowMeYourScience campaign, a social media “event” (July 22–August 2) that was designed to highlight some of the science that ESWN's #WomenInScience members do. 

Honors and Awards

  • 2017 - CIRES Bronze Medal for Scientific/Engineering Achievement (shared with other CIRES staff from NOAA/ESRL/Physical Sciences Laboratory)
  • 2017 - CIRES Employee of the Year “for their role in rapidly implementing and supporting a complex, multi-platform, multiorganizational field campaign to observe a rare, high-intensity El Niño event in the central, equatorial Pacific” (shared with five others)
  • 2016 - NOAA Research EEO/Diversity Award for Exemplary Service
  • 2011 - Premier recipient of the CIRES Director's Diversity Award
  • 2010 - SOARS® Ten Years of Service
  • 1984-1985 - Fellowship, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
  • 1981-1984 - National Merit Scholar

View Publications

  • Hartten, LM; Johnston, PE; Castro, VMR; Perez, PSE. (Sep 2019). Postdeployment Calibration of a Tropical UHF Profiling Radar via Surface- and Satellite-Based Methods. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY , 36(9). 10.1175/JTECH-D-18-0020.1
  • Hartten, LM, CJ Cox, PE Johnston, DE Wolfe, S Abbott and HA McColl. (Jun 2018). Central-Pacific surface meteorology from the 2016 El Nino Rapid Response (ENRR) field campaign. EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE DATA , 10(2). 10.5194/essd-10-1139-2018
  • Hartten, LM, CJ Cox, PE Johnston, DE Wolfe, S Abbott, HA McColl, XW Quan and MG Winterkorn. (Jun 2018). Ship- and island-based soundings from the 2016 El Nino Rapid Response (ENRR) field campaign. EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE DATA , 10(2). 10.5194/essd-10-1165-2018
  • Dole, RM, JR Spackman, iman, W Otto, O Persson, XW Quan, I RangwalaM Newman, GP Compo, CA Smith, LM Hartten, JJ Barsugli, RS Webb, MP Hoerling, R Cifelli, K Wolter, CD Barnet, M Gehne, R Gelaro, GN Kiladis, S Abbott, E Akish, J Albers, JM Brown, CJ Cox, L Darby, G de Boer, B DeLuisi, J Dias, J Dunion, J Eischeid, C Fairall, A Gambacorta, BK Gorton, A Hoell, J Intrieri, D Jackson, PE Johnston, R Lataitis, KM Mahoney, K McCaffrey, HA McColl, MJ Mueller, D Murrrray, PJ Ne, AJ Ray, D Reynolds, ER Dellaripa, K Rosenlof, N Sakaeda, PD Sardeshmukh, LC Slivinski, L Smith, A Solomon, D Swales, S Tulich, A White, G Wick, MG Winterkorn, DE Wolfe and R Zamora. (May 2018). ADVANCING SCIENCE AND SERVICES DURING THE 2015/16 EL NINO The NOAA El Nino Rapid Response Field Campaign. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY , 99(5). 10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0219.1
  • Hartten, LM and PE Johnston. (Jul 2014). Stratocumulus-Topped Marine Boundary Layer Processes Revealed by the Absence of Profiler Reflectivity. JOURNAL OF APPLIED METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY , 53(7). 10.1175/JAMC-D-12-0308.1
  • Penland, C and LM Hartten. (Mar 2014). Stochastic forcing of north tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures by the North Atlantic Oscillation. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 41(6). 10.1002/2014GL059252
  • Riddle, AC, LM Hartten, DA Carter, PE Johnston and CR Williams. (Jul 2012). A Minimum Threshold for Wind Profiler Signal-to-Noise Ratios. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY , 29(7). 10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00173.1
  • Zuidema, P, C Fairall, LM Hartten, JE Hare and D Wolfe. (May 2007). On air-sea interaction at the mouth of the Gulf of California. JOURNAL OF CLIMATE , 20(9). 10.1175/JCLI4089.1
  • Adachi, A, T Kobayashi, KS Gage, DA Carter, LM Hartten, WL Clark and M Fukuda. (Aug 2005). Evaluation of three-beam and four-beam profiler wind measurement techniques using a five-beam wind profiler and collocated meteorological tower. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY , 22(8). 10.1175/JTECH1777.1
  • Hartten, LM and PA Datulayta. (Dec 2004). Seasonal and interannual variations in the daily cycle of winds over the Galapagos. JOURNAL OF CLIMATE , 17(23). 10.1175/3217.1
  • Adachi, A, WL Clark, LM Hartten, KS Gage and T Kobayashi. (Jan 2004). An observational study of a shallow gravity current triggered by katabatic flow. ANNALES GEOPHYSICAE , 22(11).
  • Johnston, PE, LM Hartten, CH Love, DA Carter and KS Gage. (Jun 2002). Range errors in wind profiling caused by strong reflectivity gradients. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY , 19(6). 10.1175/1520-0426(2002)019<0934:REIWPC>2.0.CO;2
  • Hartten, LM and KS Gage. (Feb 2000). ENSO's impact on the annual cycle: The view from Galapagos. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 27(3). 10.1029/1999GL010953
  • Hartten, LM and DS Gutzler. (Oct 1998). Estimates of large-scale divergence in the lower troposphere over the western equatorial Pacific. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 103(D20). 10.1029/98JD02171
  • Hartten, LM. (Jun 1998). Reconciliation of surface and profiler winds at ISS sites. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY , 15(3). 10.1175/1520-0426(1998)015<0826:ROSAPW>2.0.CO;2
  • Angevine, WM, AW Grimsdell, LM Hartten and AC Delany. (Mar 1998). The Flatland boundary layer experiments. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY , 79(3). 10.1175/1520-0477(1998)079<0419:TFBLE>2.0.CO;2
  • Ciesielski, PE, LM Hartten and RH Johnson. (Dec 1997). Impacts of merging profiler and rawinsonde winds on TOGA COARE analyses. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY , 14(6). 10.1175/1520-0426(1997)014<1264:IOMPAR>2.0.CO;2
  • Hartten, LM. (Jul 1996). Synoptic settings of westerly wind bursts. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 101(D12). 10.1029/96JD00030
  • Gutzler, DS and LM Hartten. (Nov 1995). Daily variability of lower tropospheric winds over the tropical western Pacific. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 100(D11). 10.1029/95JD01879
  • HECHTEL LM; MOENG CH; STULL RB. (Jul 1990). THE EFFECTS OF NONHOMOGENEOUS SURFACE FLUXES ON THE CONVECTIVE BOUNDARY-LAYER - A CASE-STUDY USING LARGE-EDDY SIMULATION. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences , 47(14), 1721-1741. 10.1175/1520-0469(1990)047<1721:TEONSF>2.0.CO;2
  • Hechtel, L.M., C.-H. Moeng, and R.B. Stull. (Jan 1990). The effects of nonhomogeneous surface fluxes on the convective boundary layer A case study using large-eddy simulation. , 47. 10.1175/1520-046919900471721TEONSF2.0.CO2