New DOE Early Career Award Recipient Plans to Study Thunderstorm

Jiwen Fan
Jiwen Fan

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory atmospheric scientist Jiwen Fan will use her 2017 Early Career Research Program award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to study severe thunderstorms in the central United States. The DOE Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research will support Fan’s work as part of the Regional and Global Climate Modeling (RGCM) program.

RGCM has supported Fan for eight years, including research on improving model representations of aerosol-cloud interactions using global cloud data, and dust effects on California winter storms. She is also the co-principal investigator for the Climate Modeling Development and Validation – Mesoscale Convective System project.

Fan is one of 59 researchers from various fields nationwide — including 17 at national laboratories — to receive the award this year. The award will fund Fan’s research on the formation and evolution of thunderstorms that produce large hail, damaging winds, tornadoes, and torrential rainfall. Drawing on powerful supercomputers managed by DOE, Fan will conduct an unprecedented close-up look at how drought, extreme rainfall, city growth, and distant wildfires help shape these storms.

Fan’s work will take into account data from the DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Facility’s Southern Great Plains atmospheric observatory and other sources such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Early Career Research Program, now in its eighth year, is managed by the DOE Office of Science and awards research grants to young scientists and engineers at U.S. universities and national laboratories. The grants are designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early years of their careers.

Fan, who has been at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for 10 years, will receive $2.5 million over the next five years to further her research. The funds will support Fan and several postdoctoral research associates.