Jasmine Cetrone::Research
math meteorlogy
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I have studied many aspects of our atmosphere in many different ways, but one thing that is always constant is my use of radar data and my focus on the tropics...for that reason, I consider myself a radar meteorologist and tropical meteorologist. Radar is a very unique tool in that it allows us to penetrate through the visible cloud boundaries to see what's going within a cloud or precipitation system when we would otherwise not be able to. There are many types of radar out there that are ideal for examining different meteorological phenomena. Radars with shorter wavelength pulses are used to study the clouds themselves, while the bigger radars with longer wavelengths are used to study the precipitation (rain, hail, snow, sleet, etc).

For my master's degree, I studied data from a precipitation radar on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the middle of the tropical western Pacific Ocean. I looked at the "echo" (an echo is the term radar meteorologists use for the signal a precipitation cell returns to the radar). I analyzed how the echoes moved, how big they were, how tall they were, their shape, and many other aspects.

Between my master's and PhD work, I was fortunate enough to participate in my first field experiment. During the summer of 2005, I was a participant in the RAINEX (Hurricane Rainband And INtensity change EXperiment) field program. The purpose of this field project was to understand how the rainbands of a hurricane interact with the core and cause intensity fluxuations. This project was headquartered in Miami, FL and sampled Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia, and Rita with 2 NOAA P3 and 1 NRL P3 aircraft equipped with tail radars. During RAINEX, I spent part of my time in the operations center helping coordinate the planes, gather and process data, and help write the science summaries. I also spent some time aboard the NRL P3 during our investigation of Hurricane Rita as a communications specialist. In order to fly aboard the NRL P3, I was required to 2-day certification course held by the US Navy that required practicing parachuting using a computer game, spending time in a hypobaric chamber, swimming blindfolded underwater in a mock-cockpit in FULL FLIGHT GEAR, and treading water for 10 minutes with steel-toed boots, flight helmet, the works. It was a unique experience that I will treasure forever.

For my PhD work, I decided to change gears quite a bit. It is known that in a precipitation system, all of the water must be in 3 forms: liquid, ice, and vapor. But how much goes where? Certainly when a cloud forms, there is water that condenses into the cloud, and sometimes freezes to form ice cloud. Some of that water falls in the form of rain, some stays as cloud, and some is evaporated back to the environment. I am using radar data from three tropical regions in order to determine the "water budget" of large systems. These regions are: West Africa (the AMMA experiment), the Bay of Bengal (the aptly-named JASMINE experiment), and Darwin, Australia (the TWP-ICE experiment). For the latter, I flew to Darwin to participate in TWP-ICE for a month-long research project collecting data from the monsoon systems that pass through the region every November-March. While there I saw a lot of "non-meteorological" phenomena as well: kangaroos, crocodiles, huge bats, and an Aussie Rules football game!

The final addition to my PhD will be analyzing the climatology of cloud and precipitation in the three tropical regions using the TRMM satellite, which holds a spaceborne precipitation radar (PR), and the newly-launched CloudSat satellite, which is the first cloud radar in space!
last updated 29 June 2007
contact Jasmine at jasmine@atmos.washington.edu