Celebrate Women Atmospheric Scientists on International Women’s Day

Now people celebrate the entire month of March as Women’s History Month, in addition to International Women’s Day on March 8. Of course, a day or a month is really not enough to share all the accomplishments and accomplishments of women today, let alone those who have blazed the trails and shattered glass ceilings throughout history in a variety of fields, and advances cultural, social, economic and political equality for women around the world.

Nonetheless, we want to take this opportunity to celebrate the women leaders in atmospheric and climate science who have paved the way for a better understanding of the weather and the world around us. Women make up only around a third of the STEM workforce, with previous studies suggesting that atmospheric science may have the fewest women of all earth sciences. But their contributions are major and serve as an inspiration to other burgeoning scientists.

Previously, we have honored the influence and significant contributions of Joanne Simpson, Eunice Foot, June Bacon-Bercey, Suzanne Van Cooten, Fadji Zaouna Maina and Mika Tosca. Here are six more women to add to this outstanding list.

Bernice Ackerman was a pioneer in the history of women in atmospheric science, with nearly four decades of contributions.

According to a 1995 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Ackerman’s personality and tenacity enabled him to succeed in “a man’s world” of the burgeoning post-war weather era. She began her career as a weather observer and flight briefer for the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). After the war, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in meteorology at the University of Chicago in 1948, and would obtain a master’s and a doctorate in 1965.

She worked for the US Weather Bureau (the first name of the US National Weather Service), before contributing extensive research on long-range tornado forecasting, cloud physics, weather modification, urban climate, and radar meteorology, among other fundamental subjects of atmospheric science. She continued her contributions as a professor at various American universities. Ackerman was a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Ackerman died in 1995.

At the start of the 21st century, almost all atmospheric research would eventually lead a meteorologist to the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis dataset. This global dataset would show you a snapshot of a given day’s atmosphere and weather, going back to 1957 (in later years it would go back to 1948). If you used this dataset, you would have referred to Eugenia Kalnay’s article, which has now been cited nearly 32,000 times.

Born in Argentina, Kalnay received her undergraduate degree at the University of Buenos Aires, then became the first woman to earn a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971. She is a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland and has won numerous awards and accolades. in the field, notably by organizing an American Meteorological Society symposium bearing his name.

Ada Monzón is Puerto Rico’s first female meteorologist. She is currently Chief Meteorologist at WAPA-TV, Univision Radio (WKAQ 580 AM), and NotiCel’s digital platform, covering all of Puerto Rico. After earning her master’s degree in meteorology at Florida State University, Monzón joined the U.S. National Weather Service’s forecast office in San Juan, where she became a forecaster and warning and preparedness meteorologist, before embarking on a career as a broadcast meteorologist in 2003. She provided critical and lifesaving information to the Commonwealth through the most devastating weather disaster in Puerto Rico’s history, Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Monzón has a decorated history and is a member of many professional weather, climate and science organizations. As a committed science educator, she is also the founder and president of EcoExploratorio: Science Museum of Puerto Rico, producing STEM education and disaster mitigation content. In March 2022, she received an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Puerto Rico. Monzón is the first female member of the American Meteorological Society and certified broadcast meteorologist in Puerto Rico, and is the first to have both designations in Latin America.

As extreme weather and climate change place increasing strains on society, scientists and policy makers must work together to better assess and communicate risks. At the National Weather Service, atmospheric scientist Michelle Hawkins oversaw the development of policies and procedures for forecasting and warning services to protect property and life from some of the nation’s most dangerous hazards. In her role as head of the severe weather, fire, public and winter services branch, Hawkins was one of the few women in a senior position in the weather service and said it was “difficult navigate an organization when you’re not. have a lot of other women to learn from.

At the Weather Service, she co-led initiatives to develop strategies and recommendations to improve diversity through recruitment, retention and advancement within the agency. She has also led initiatives across the federal government, working with health partners such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to better understand, communicate and minimize the health effects of extreme heat. Such initiatives have helped introduce tools such as Wet Bulb Temperature and the HeatRisk product used in the western region of the country.

Growing up in Chicago, Hawkins was fascinated by the violent storms and wintry weather that passed through the city. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in atmospheric science from Howard University. It was recognized as a leader in modern technology in 2019 at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards. She is currently a member of the White House Leadership Development Program on the Environmental Quality Council.

Claire Parkinson is a world-renowned climatologist, best known for her work on sea ice, satellite observation and climate change in the polar regions. In the early 1970s, Parkinson became one of the first women to conduct fieldwork in Antarctica, where, as a graduate student at Ohio State University, she participated in an otherwise all-male expedition. measuring ice flow in a recently erupted volcanic crater.

Subsequently, for her doctoral thesis, she developed the first computer model of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice incorporating both dynamics and thermodynamics of sea ice. She then joined the Goddard Space Flight Center at the NASA, where she continues to pioneer research into the relationship between polar sea ice and its links to the rest of the climate system and climate change, while also serving as a project scientist for the NASA observation satellite. Aqua Earth.

Susan Solomon is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of atmospheric science for her work to explain the cause of the “ozone hole” over Antarctica. Through his fieldwork in Antarctica, Solomon discovered harmful levels of chlorine dioxide and the chemical reactions involving chlorofluorocarbons, also known as CFCs.

Alongside her colleagues, she has made important contributions to understanding the link between chemistry and climate, including conducting research on irreversible global warming linked to anthropogenic (man-made) carbon dioxide emissions ) and on the influence of the ozone hole on the climate of the southern hemisphere. Solomon is a professor at MIT.

We hope you too will be inspired by these incredible women, current and past, who have shaped the field of atmospheric and climate science.

We know there are so many more; who would you add to this ongoing list? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts on social media.

Kerrin Jeromin is an American Meteorological Society Certified Broadcast Meteorologist with over 12 years of forecasting experience and has covered everything from winter storms and hurricanes to natural disasters and major weather events.

Becky Bolinger is a Colorado State Assistant Climatologist and Research Scientist at Colorado State University.

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