Physics Prof Earns Top Award For Research On Storms

Physics Prof Earns Top Award For Research On Storms

SOCORRO, N.M. – Physics professor emeritus Dr. Dave Raymond has been named the winner of the 2017 Jule G. Charney Award from the American Meteorological Society. Raymond officially received the award at the AMS conference last week in Seattle.

“I was thrilled to hear I got the Charney award,” Raymond said. “It’s a pretty high honor – the second highest honor of the AMS.


Dr. Dave Raymond, Tech physics professor emeritus, receiving the 2017 Jule G. Charney Award in Seattle from AMS President Fred Carr in Seattle.

The prestigious Charney Award is granted to individuals in recognition of highly significant research or development achievement in the atmospheric or hydrologic sciences. The award is in the form of a medallion. Raymond won the award “for profound insights into the interaction between atmospheric convection and the larger-scale environment.”

Raymond won the Charney Award for his significant and ongoing contributions to the study of tropical convection. For more than 15 years, Raymond has conducted field experiments and developed models of global atmospheric convection. His research focuses on the interaction between convection and tropical weather disturbances, such as tropical cyclones, large-scale tropical atmospheric waves, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which is the biggest weather maker in the tropics.

Over the years, Raymond has orchestrated several field campaigns with graduate students and colleagues from other universities and government agencies. A field campaign generally involves making airborne measurements in tropical weather systems. Raymond, fellow Tech professors, and graduate students use data gathered in field expeditions to create models that explain how these systems work. 

“Our goal is to improve weather prediction in the tropics, and ultimately over the entire globe” says Raymond. His field campaigns have included trips to the Pacific Coast of Mexico in 2001, Guam in 2008, and St. Croix in the Caribbean, in 2010. Raymond said six years is the median time to produce significant scientific results from a field program. A NASA-funded program based in south Florida is in the works for this summer.


Raymond aboard a Gulfstream 5 during the 2010 research mission to St. Croix. 


In collaboration with Tech scientist Dr. Zeljka Fuchs, Raymond is seeking funding for a new field campaign in the tropical East Pacific in 2019 with colleagues from the U.S., Colombia, Peru, and Costa Rica. He has received support from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and NASA.

Dr. Van Romero, V.P. of Research at Tech, said, “Dave is one of those unique individuals who has contributed both at an experimental standpoint and an analytical standpoint. He has conducted and orchestrated very large field experiments that look at large-scale circulation and he’s a leader in computer modeling of that same sort of circulation. Usually one person can do one or the other, but Dave is that rare person who is a master of both. I’ve interacted with Dave ever since he’s came here and I’ve kept in touch with him throughout. He’s part of the reason I came back to Tech in the 1990s.”

Raymond came to New Mexico Tech as a post-doc in 1973 and joined the faculty in 1974. Romero has known Raymond since 1973, when Romero was a freshman in the Physics Department.

Raymond earned his bachelor’s in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1965 and his Ph.D. at Stanford in 1970, where he was an NSF fellow for four years. Raymond won the Distinguished Researcher Award in 1995 at NMT.

The award’s namesake, Jule Gregory Charney (1917–1981), played a pivotal role in the development of modern meteorology. He studied physics at UCLA, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1946. In the early 1950’s, he worked with John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, where they conducted pioneering research in numerical weather prediction using early computers.

– NMT –