Spencer A. Hill Associate Research Scholar Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University

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This page comprises a loosely organized collection of resources I have found useful. Your mileage may vary.

Science communication


Principiae Materials on effective figures (and slides and writing)
Edward Tufte Classic books on effective data displays


The Elements of Style, Strunk and White The starting place. "Omit needless words!"
The Sense of Style, Steven Pinker Excellent modern writing guide
Writing Science, Joshua Schimel Excellent science-specific writing guide
On Writing, Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King) Classic. Nominally about fiction but invaluable to science writing
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders Ditto. Just replace "art/writer/story" etc. with "science/scientist/article" etc. and it all holds


http://latexcolor.com/ Copy-pasteable color definitions for LaTeX documents  
A very minimal introduction to TikZ Great entry into LaTeX plotting packages TikZ and PGF  
Detexify Draw a symbol, get the LaTeX command for it.  
Beamer customization cheat sheet Quick reference for how to tinker with elements of Beamer presentations  

Emacs and org-mode

Org-mode is an extension of the Emacs text editor for creating outline-like documents, with lots of functionality for embedding to-do lists, links, code, and images and for converting the files to LaTeX, HTML, and other formats.

In fact, my website is written as a collection of org-mode files, published to HTML using org's publish functionality. Source code here. (Though since I created it while a graduate student, other tools for making good academic websites have improved a lot, and I'm not 100% sure I'd recommend doing it this way these days!)

Some useful Emacs-related things:

Emacs for Mac OS X Easily install GUI version of Emacs on Mac OS X/macOS
exec-path-from-shell Library for linking environment variables that Emacs sees with your system values.


I am an avid user of the Python programming language, which is modern, powerful, elegant, open-source, and well-documented. In addition to the aospy project, I also have a few other, less polished open-source Python packages that I have created as side projects; they are available on my Github.

Core packages I use

pangeo Community platform for Big Data geoscience
xarray N-dimensional labeled arrays and datasets
dask Parallel computing and memory chunking
matplotlib For plotting
cartopy For plotting maps

Python environments and package managers

conda conda env create and conda install are your friend :)
miniconda Guide to setting up conda environments on HPC Clusters
Jupyterlab Web-based interactive python interface

Research tools

Climate science & meteorology history

Geoff Vallis's collection of classic papers With useful comments by G. Vallis
Old Weather Citizen-science project: transcribe historical ship logs of weather data


MITGCM M.I.T. General Circulation Model
HYSPLIT Compute forward and backward air trajectories

Data visualization

nullschool.net Beautiful, interactive visualization of meteorological and ocean data
Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth NASA portal to imagery of earth taken by astronauts
Martin Jucker's 3D weather visualizations Beautiful videos, interactive 3D plots, and static images of current and past weather

Command line utilities

netCDF Operator (NCO) toolkit Library of command-line tools for interacting with netCDF data
tree command recursive directory listing command; install on MacOS via homebrew
colordiff Colorize/prettify the diff command-line tool


Climate science podcasts (w/ discussion of career trajectories)

Deep Convection Hosted by Adam Sobel
Forecast Hosted by Michael White, Nature's climate science editor

Career advice books

These take a tough-love, no-nonsense approach that I find useful.

The Professor is In, Karen Kelsky
Good Work if You Can Get It, Jason Brennan

Undergraduate scholarships

NOAA Hollings Scholarship Open to undergraduate sophomores; funding and NOAA internship
Barry Goldwater Scholarship For undergraduate juniors in sciences