June Featured Grad - Kacie Shourd

KacieShourdsmlMeet Kacie Nicole Shourd, a Master's student in Atmospheric Sciences at UNR. She is currently focusing on weather forecasting and atmospheric dynamics at all scales as well as studying microphysics in preparation for her thesis. Her work at DRI presently involves a cloud seeding feasibility study for a mountain range in Wyoming.

What brought you to DRI?

I was incredibly intrigued by the cloud seeding program at DRI, and the opportunity to work for a world-renown research facility while completing my studies was very appealing. Given the recent years of drought here in the west, California and Nevada especially, I was very interested in working on weather modification in a place that could truly benefit from it. Being from the Midwest (central Indiana), the incredible scenery, geography, and lack of humidity in western Nevada was also a plus.

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What are you studying?

Currently, I am largely trying to focus on weather forecasting and atmospheric dynamics at all scales, as well as improving my research skillset by taking classes like the applied python course offered this past semester. I am also studying microphysics in preparation for my thesis.

What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?

In addition to my operational cloud seeding/forecasting duties, I have been working on numerous weather modification research projects since my arrival at DRI last September. At the DRI, I work with Frank McDonough and Dr. Mike Kaplan. Right now we are working on a cloud seeding feasibility study for a mountain range in Wyoming, funded by the state of Wyoming, for which I will be the head author on the ten year climatology portion. I also just recently completed and presented a case study of a seeded Colorado snow storm at the Weather Modification Association Annual Meeting in Long Beach, CA. Now that summer is here, I will be assisting the rest of our group in evaluating our performance this past cloud seeding season, WRF modeling, starting a Tahoe snow crystal database, automating a “seeding alert” system, updating maps of our project areas, etc. I also have a few tornado-related pet projects I am working on in my spare time.

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What are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?

My biggest short term goal while at DRI is to get as much work/research accomplished this summer as possible. I am also hoping to learn how to use the WRF model fairly quickly. Long term goals for my time at DRI include finally getting my name on a publication (or few) and assisting DRI in keeping its cloud seeding program on the cutting edge of weather modification research.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?

In my free time I enjoy storm chasing, looking at clouds, playing/performing in bands, photography, painting, drawing, listening to music, gardening, reading novels, coding, and hanging out with my cats/animals in general.

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