2015 Bryson Scholarship Event
The Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research (CCR) held its fifth annual Reid Bryson Scholarship competition on March 6, 2015, as part of the UW-Madison Climate Change Symposium. There were 21 student applicants from a diverse set of departments and centers across campus, including CCR, the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), the Nelson Institute, and the Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Forest and Wildlife Ecology, Geography, Engineering, and Agronomy. This rich variety captures the interdisciplinary nature of Professor Reid Bryson’s studies and will inspire other UW students.
The winner of the 2015 Reid Bryson Graduate Scholarship of $1,000 was Jason Schatz of the Nelson Institute’s Environment and Resources program. Jason is a Ph.D. candidate studying how land cover affects local climate, which in turn influences human health, local ecosystems, and quality of life. His poster, “Urban climate effects on extreme heat in Madison, Wisconsin USA,” was based on his doctoral research under the guidance of Prof. Chris Kucharik in SAGE and the Department of Agronomy. Jason utilized a network of temperature and humidity sensors across the Madison area to measure the strength of the local urban heat island. He found a significantly greater intensity and duration of extreme heat in densely populated areas, particularly when temperatures were highest, suggesting that climate models may underestimate projected increases in hot weather within cities.
The winner of the 2015 Reid Bryson Graduate Scholarship of $500 was Jiang Zhu of the Center for Climatic Research and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Jiang presented his paleoclimate research on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) in a poster entitled, “Linear weakening of the AMOC in response to lowering ice-sheet topography in CCSM3.” He found that the AMOC weakens significantly and linearly in response to the topographic effect of deglacial ice-sheet retreat and that this weakening is wind-driven. Jiang is advised by Professor Zhengyu Liu, who was a co-author on the poster, along with Xu Zhang, Ian Eisenman, and Wei Liu.
The winner of the 2015 Reid Bryson Undergraduate Scholarship of $500 was Jessica Gartzke of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and SSEC. Jessica described a severe-weather case study in her poster, “Communicating timely information on the evolving convective available potential energy (CAPE) using polar orbiting hyperspectral sounders: Application to El Reno event.” She discovered that infrared sounder retrievals show promise in the nowcasting of local severe storms, leading to the potential for assimilated satellite observations to improve numerical weather forecasts that provide warnings to the public. Jessica’s work was conducted with SSEC co-authors Robert Knuteson, Paul Menzel, Hank Revercomb, Bill Smith, Nadia Smith, Elisabeth Weisz, and Steve Ackerman.
In addition to these winning posters, the scholarship competition attracted an interesting and diverse range of research topics from across the UW campus, including:
- Antarctic clouds
- Carbon literacys
- Saharan heat lows
- Oceanic CO2
- Air quality
- Spotted owl habitat
- Subsistence farming in the Himalayas
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we will be awarding more Reid Bryson Scholarships in 2016 to worthy University of Wisconsin-Madison students.