Summer 2004

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Summer 2004

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"I Still Know What I Did This Summer" (2004)

Newsletter released Oct. 21, 2004


    Life has been busy, swirling like a whirlwind at times, and ebbing like a babbling brook at other times! This newsletter summarizes my summer.


    After four years as a graduate student at Colorado State University (CSU), I finally finished up my Master's Thesis this summer. I'm sure this was to the great relief of my parents and academic advisor, Wayne Schubert. For my thesis research, I investigated a method of predicting hurricane tracks by using an extremely large ensemble (over 1000 members!) of forecasts from a simple barotropic dynamical computer model. The central question I addressed in this research was whether the uncertainty of the factors affecting a hurricane's track could be simulated, and whether the resulting information could be used to estimate the forecast's accuracy in advance. My method showed only limited improvement, as it was too simple to describe all the sources of uncertainty in a hurricane track forecast. However, I was able to quantify the forecast uncertainty enough to produce maps of a storm's strike probabilities. And of course, I learned a lot about hurricanes and ensembles, gaining valuable research and computing skills in the process. For more about this research, and to see examples, visit the kilo-ensemble section of my work page. In the future, I'll post a link to my thesis. I also discussed some aspects of this research in an interview this summer. The resulting interview was edited into a recruiting interview for the College of Engineering at CSU. You can view this short (~3 minutes) video here. My advisor was interviewed about one of his research topics as well. If you're interested, you can view that interview here.  

Extracurricular activities of the 14,000+ foot variety

    My other major summer activities centered around mountaineering and training for the Pikes Peak marathon. My summer climbing season started with a fun Spring ascent of Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak and ended with a early Fall ascent of Mount Bross. Altogether, I climbed 13 different 14'ers this summer, 10 of which were new peaks for me. I have now climbed 33 of Colorado's 55 14'ers!  My goal is to finish them up in the next 2 years. Unfortunately, I spent way more time climbing peaks than writing up the trip reports, but I hope to catch up this winter. You can find more about these trips here. When I wasn't at work or climbing 14'ers on the weekends, I was running in preparation for the Pikes Peak Marathon. All my training paid off apparently: my time of 6:39:33 was more than half an hour faster than last year's race (7:10:15). A trip report is still under construction, but its skeleton can be viewed here.


    The 2004 Pikes Peak Marathon was my big racing event of the summer, but I ran in a number of other races for training and for fun. I've attempted to write some race reports, but these are in various states of completion.

    Fort Collins Old Town Half Marathon     13.1 miles   

    Horsetooth Mountain Trail Race            7.3 miles      1900 feet of vertical gain

    Barr Mountain Trail Race                      12 miles       3600 feet of vertical gain

    Pikes Peak Marathon                           26.2 miles    7815 feet of vertical gain!


    I didn't take a summer vacation this year.  Instead I took a number of short trips to the Eastern United States in May and June.

    My first trip (May 1-7) was actually a work-related trip, but was as enjoyable as a vacation: the 2004 Conference on Hurricane and Tropical Meteorology! This year's conference was in warm, sunny Miami Beach, Florida. I attended a number of very interesting talks on the latest hurricane research, made new connections with colleagues in my field, and took a side trip to the Everglades and the National Hurricane Center. Oh yeah, I also gave a talk related to my Master's research, entitled (you can view my talk as a PowerPoint Presentation or read my preprint article). I also managed to squeeze in a couple of excellent distance training runs on South Beach -- I ran the Fort Collins Old Town Half Marathon a few days after the end of the conference.

    My second trip (in the middle of May) was to Pennsylvania to participate in the wedding of a good friend from my Penn State years, Roland Newman. I also took a day to go over to New Jersey and visit my grandfather.

    My third and final trip occurred in June when I flew to Tennessee for the wedding of Christy Gregory, who is one of my cousins. Another happy family event!  

So there you have it -- how I spent the Summer of 2004. Overall, it was an excellent summer!

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