Professor Robert A. Houze, Jr.
2nd Ed. of Cloud Dynamics
Highly revised and updated
Symons Gold Medal
Launch of GPM Satellite
Global Hawk flies
S-PolKa Radar in
Pakistan Flood Study
Houze receives Rossby
Flying in the eye
of Katrina 2005
Professor Houze received his B.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University in 1967. He received his Master's and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington in 1972. In 1988-89 he was Guest Professor in the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. Recently, he has been a frequent visitor at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.
has published about 200 research articles and has
written a comprehensive book on the physics and
dynamics of all types of clouds in the atmosphere. It is
Houze has received several prestigious honors and awards.a
recent he was awarded the 2014 Symons
Gold Medal of the Royal Meteorological
premier honor of that Society, and
will deliver the Symons Lecture to the Society in
2006, he received the American Meteorological
Rossby Research Medal, which is the
highest honor that Society can bestow on an
atmospheric scientist. In 2002, he was designated as a
by the Institute of Scientific Information (his
ISI h-index is presently 60, his
Google Scholar h-index is 71).
In 1989 he was a co-winner (with F.
Marks) of the NOAA
Environmental Research Laboratories'
Distinguished Authorship Award, and in
1982, he was awarded both the American
Meteorological Society's Clarence Leroy
Meisinger Award for his research and the Society's
Editor's award for his reviews of papers for the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.
result of his research, Professor Houze has been
honored as a Fellow of the American
Meteorological Society, the Royal
Meteorological Society, the
Geophysical Union, and the American
Association for the Advancement of Science.
Professor Houze has presented numerous special lectures such as the Bjerknes Memorial Lecture at the American Geophysical Union's 2012 Annual Meeting, was Thompson Lecturer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in 2006, and was Houghton Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996.
the UW Professor Houze teaches classes on cloud
physics and dynamics, thermodynamics,
meteorology. His research interests are
mesoscale meteorology, radar meteorology, tropical
meteorology, precipitation processes, cloud dynamics,
cloud microphysics, and storm dynamics.
Houze leads a research team at the UW called the Mesoscale
Group. He and his group participate in
international field projects and satellite programs
employing weather radar and aircraft in the tropics
and midlatitudes. These projects have been sponsored
by NSF, NASA, DOE, and NOAA. His approach integrates observations,
models, and theory. He has specialized in weather
over the tropical oceans, over major mountain ranges
His first major field project was in 1974, when he took part in the historic GATE project. There he collected groundbreaking data on tropical squall lines. In 1978 he led a radar experiment to study clouds in the winter monsoon over Malaysia as part of the international Monsoon Experiment (MONEX). In 1987, he investigated the convection over the ocean north of Australia with airborne radar data in the Equatorial Mesoscale Experiment (EMEX). In 1992-1993 he participated in the tropical western Pacific TOGA COARE experiment operating out of the Solomon Islands. From October 2011-January 2012, he led a radar experiment on Addu Atoll in the Maldives as part of the Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) and DOE ARM MJO Experiment (AMIE). Professor Houze is currently organizing a ground validation campaign for the newly launched Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite. This project, called OLYMPEX, will take place in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State in the fall/winter of 2015-16.
Houze has also worked for many years on satellite
radar observations of tropical cloud systems. Since
1985, he has served on the Science Team for the U.S.
(NASA)-Japan (NASDA) Tropical Rainfall Measuring
Mission Satellite (TRMM).
Launched in 1997, TRMM was the first satellite
to use an on-board radar, and it orbited over the
tropics until 2014, acquiring a paradigm changing data
set on precipitating clouds in the atmosphere. He is
also on the NASA Science Teams for CloudSat
are newer satellites that continue to use on-board radars to
study clouds and precipitation. Using these
he and his group have studied large and small cloud
systems over all of the tropics. These studies focus
on the nature of raining cloud systems over both the
oceans and land masses of the tropics, and on how the
Himalayan and Andes mountain ranges affect the nature
of the cloud systems that occur at low
Another area of Professor Houze's research is
understanding how mountains influence precipitating
cloud systems. In the 1970s and 80s, he studied fronts
passing over the Cascade Mountains in Washington. In
1999, he was a leader of a the Mesoscale
Alpine Programme, in which he investigated
the storms that produce heavy rains and floods in the
European Alps. In 2001 he returned to the Cascades in
a project called IMPROVE
II, which studied winter storms passing over
the Oregon Cascades. He has also used satellite data
and modeling to study clouds and storms near the
Andes and Himalayas. Some of
these studies have important practical application,
especially for severe weather and floods in
mountainous regions. Professor Houze's group's paper
on floods in India and Pakistan in a 2011 was a cover
story of the Bulletin
of the American Meteorological Society. In 2015/16 he will lead the OLYMPEX
project to study fronts passing over the mountains
of the Pacific Northwest.
Houze and his group have participated in several
studies of the airborne radar data collected in
research flights through hurricanes. In 2005,
and Intensity Change Experiment (RAINEX)
directed flights into Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia, and
Rita. He was interviewed by NPR and the BBC about results of his RAINEX
study of Hurricane Rita. Results of this study were
published in Science
Magazine in March 2007. In 2010 he
participated in the NASA's hurricane Genesis and Rapid
Intensification flight program (GRIP),
using the NASA DC-8 and other instrumented aircraft.
In 2012-2014, his group participated in NASA's
Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) program,
which conducts flights of the NASA Global Hawk
aircraft over Atlantic hurricanes. This project is
historic as a transition to hurricane research from
traditional aircraft such as the NOAA Hurricane
Hunters to autonomous (unmanned) aircraft. The
Global Hawk flies at 55,000-60,000 feet, over the
tops of storms and drops soundings and makes remote
measurements of the storms as directed by pilots and
scientists on the ground.
Professor Houze's group continues to study tropical cyclones, midlatitude fronts, ocean and land convection in the tropics, and the orographic effects of mountain ranges on all of the storms that are the atmosphere's major precipitation producers.
When Professor Houze is not teaching and doing research in meteorology he trains dogs (see his German Shepherd Minnie) and works on his house (click here to see what the Seattle Easter 1997 Windstorm did to Professor Houze's house).