Indiana University Bloomington

Atmospheric Sciences

1. Lidar measuring windspeed at wind farm.

Atmospheric Science at Indiana University is a dynamic program with exciting opportunities to undertake field, laboratory or modeling research. The Atmospheric Science Program at IU integrates research across scales from nanoparticles and turbulence, through boundary-layer processes to synoptic (forecasting) scales and climate change science and its impacts. Our program is diverse and has excellent office and laboratory facilities in the new Multidisciplinary Science Building II. Research grade laboratory space facilitates development, operation, and testing of instruments including atmospheric chemistry and remote sensing. For field studies, we have a collection of state-of-the-art meteorological instrumentation, including a variety of instruments that focus on particles, surface fluxes and remote sensing (photo 1).

2. Aerosol sampling over the canopy

The Atmospheric Science Program has active research at a number of sites managed by the Integrated Program in the Environment including the Morgan-Monroe State Forest site (photo 2) that was established in 1997 under a grant from the Department of Energy to Grimmond, Barthelmie, Pryor and Schmid. The site is home to a meteorological tower and provides access to a wide range of research projects and instrumentation. We utilize Indiana University’s outstanding technology resources, including network connectivity, laboratory resources, and high-performance computing in our research and apply WRF and other models in the following research.

Our wind energy research encompasses measurements in the field at active wind farms and at test sites. In addition to cup, propeller and sonic anemometry, we currently operate three lidars (photos 3 and 4) that measure wind and turbulence characteristics, including one brand new scanning lidar that measures over large distances.

4. Measuring wind with scanning lidar.
3. Measuring wind with lidar at wind farm

We also have access to industry standard models and in-house models and are working with industry on a range of research issues relating to the development of on- and off-shore wind energy. One of our new projects is designed to develop strategies for accurate measurements of wind and turbulence over the 3D volume of a wind farm and involves multi-partners working with remote sensing and in situ platforms including tethersondes (photo 5) and a UAV (photo 6). Professor Barthelmie is internationally recognized for her wind energy research. In 2009 she was awarded the European Wind Energy Academy annual scientific prize for ’her extraordinary efforts and achievements in wind energy research’.

5. Measuring wind with tethersonde.
6. Clarkson University Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at wind farm experiment

Our climate research focuses on physical climatology, specifically climate change and variability, and impacts on the energy and agricultural sectors. We have developed and applied physical and statistical downscaling to wind speeds, temperature and precipitation in order to examine projected climate change impacts in multiple sectors (photo 7 and 8). Our research was cited by recent Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, we have two books published on climate change in the MidWest and Provost's Professor Sara C. Pryor is a member of the National Climate Assessment and Development Committee, convened by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help the U.S. government prepare for and deal with climate change. This research area benefits from paleoclimate research being conducted by other members of the Geological Sciences faculty.

8. Spring flooding associated with extreme precipitation.
7. "Understanding climate change", edited by S.C. Pryor, was published in 2009.

Atmospheric aerosol particles represent one of the largest uncertainties in understanding the forces that influence climate, both historically and possibly in the future. Key processes in determining concentrations are the formation of new particles (nucleation) and the removal of such particles by surfaces, known as dry deposition. Our research focuses on experiments and modeling to understand the role of forests in removing particles from the atmosphere, but also the mechanisms that determine rate of removal including physical and biological controls on removal rates. Some of the experimental research for the project is conducted in a chamber located in the Multidisciplinary Science Building II (photo 9). Field research is being conducted at the IU Tower in Morgan-Monroe State Forest north of Bloomington (photo 10) (and also in the Manitou Experimental Forest in Colorado as part of the international field experiment BEACHON (Bio–hydro–atmosphere interactions of Energy, Aerosols, Carbon, H2O, Organics and Nitrogen)).

10. Meteorological tower in the Morgan–Monroe State Forest
9. MSBII Building.

Access to this extensive infrastructure is open to all graduate students and faculty. Graduate students and advanced undergraduates (photo 10) can expect to participate in faculty research projects funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. Fully funded graduate student positions are available at both the M.Sc. and Ph.D. level and funding is also available for undergraduate research.

Here are some videos describing some of our research on atmospheric aerosols.

  1. A video of the set-up of our experimental chamber that we have installed in MSBII.
  2. Here is a brief update of the Particle Chamber video.
  3. Click here for a video of our field site in Morgan Monroe State Forest where we are making flux and aerosol particle nucleation measurements.

Email: Rebecca Barthelmie
Phone: 812–856–5135

Email: Cody Kirkpatrick
Phone: 812-855-3481

Email: Sara C. Pryor
Phone: 812-855-5155

Atmospheric Sciences
Department of Geological Sciences
Indiana University
702 N. Walnut Grove
Bloomington, IN 47405-1405
U.S.A.