Atmospheric Scientist Wins Early Career Award

July 19, 2012

Kim launches a weather balloon outfitted with instruments to measure atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed.

Daehyun Kim, a climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has been recognized for early-career achievement in the atmospheric sciences by the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest earth-sciences organization. Kim, 32, came to Lamont as a postdoctoral researcher in 2010, where he has focused on investigating the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a little-understood weather pattern that typically forms in the Indian Ocean and brings heavy rains and hurricanes to many parts of the globe.
With his adviser, Adam Sobel, and colleagues at Lamont and beyond, Kim has been involved in an intensive data-gathering campaign in the tropics called DYNAMO to understand the workings of the Madden-Julian Oscillation and ultimately improve long-range weather forecasting. Last fall, Kim spent three weeks in the Maldives using radar to peer into the fluffy convective clouds that produce the rainstorms that give rise to the phenomenon.  “What’s the relationship between temperature, humidity, winds and clouds?” he said. “We need better observations to improve our models and our ability to predict an [oscillation].” Despite earning his Ph.D. as recently as 2010, from Seoul National University in Korea, Kim has compiled an impressive record of publications and collaborations, said Sobel. “Daehyun is absolutely brilliant and also works very hard and very fast," he said. "It is exciting and inspiring to watch him go."

The James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award comes with a $1,000 prize and will be presented at AGU’s annual meeting in December. Kim is the third Lamont scientist to win the award since its inception in 2004; previous winners are Arlene Fiore and Tiffany Shaw.


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