Hallar Named Regents' Rising Researcher

The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents presented Gannet Hallar, Ph.D. of the Desert Research Institute (DRI) with the 2012 Rising Researcher Award in acknowledgment of her contributions to the field of atmospheric science and her potential for future accomplishments. Hallar is an assistant research professor and the director of DRI’s Storm Peak Laboratory (SPL) in Steamboat Springs, Colo.  Her current research is focused on using high elevation sites, combined with airborne measurements, to study the formation processes of Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) and Ice Nuclei (IN) and how differing formation processes impact mixed-phase cloud microphysics.

One of the more recent projects at SPL is the Storm Peak Lab Cloud Property Validation Experiment   (StormVEx), of which Hallar is a co-principal investigator.  This research campaign, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility, consists of gathering in-cloud measurements and verifying data from radars and other cloud-measuring instrumentation, which are located at four different elevations near the SPL area. 

“Clouds and aerosols are some of the largest uncertainties regarding climate change, especially mixed-phase clouds that are part ice and part water” Hallar said. The data collected will be vital in validating ground-based measurements of liquid, mixed-phase, and precipitating cloud systems and to verify the accuracy of measurements used in computer models of the Earth’s climate system.

Hallar has also recently received attention for an article published in “Environmental Science and Technology” about the bark beetle infested lodgepole pines in near the SPL and their effect on the increase of volatile organic compound emissions from these trees.  The article was featured in press releases by the American Chemical Society and the National Science Foundation.

In addition to her numerous research accomplishments, Hallar is also involved with multiple outreach programs, and has created two herself to promote diversity in the field of atmospheric science.  The first of these is Atmospheric Science Collaborations and Enriching NeTworks (ASCENT), which is oriented for women in the fields of atmospheric science and meteorology.  The program “is designed to initiate positive professional relationships among female faculty of different ranks and postdoctoral researchers,” according to the ASCENT website. The other outreach program headed by Hallar is Geoscience Research at Storm Peak (GRASP).  The mission of GRASP is to “recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups within the geosciences,” and gives undergraduate students with majors relating to geoscience an opportunity for mentoring and field research, according to the GRASP website.

Hallar is an excellent role model in the field of atmospheric sciences, as evidenced by her devotion to the research she does at the Storm Peak Laboratory, her interest in cultivating positive professional networks for women with ASCENT, and mentoring and educating future atmospheric scientists through GRASP.  The recognition she has received from the Nevada Board of Regents is well-deserved and indicative of her auspicious future.

“I feel very honored to be recognized as the Rising Researcher,” Hallar said. “I would like to acknowledge the business staff of the Division of Atmospheric Sciences and also my mentor Doug Lowenthal and my research partner Ian McCubbin.”

Hallar will receive the award at DRI’s Annual Convocation event, June 7, 2012.