Tian mentored student recognized for storm tracking research

AOSC graduate student Rebekah Esmaili placed first at the University of Maryland’s recent Graduate Research Interaction Day for her storm tracking research utilizing infrared satellite observations.

Esmaili, who works under Dr. Yudong Tian, an ESSIC Associate Research Scientist located at NASA/GSFC, has been working with the researcher since summer 2012.  Her work under Tian has included observing global storm data and using infrared satellites to observe remote areas more clearly.

Through these data observations, Esmaili has worked to create a global “census” of storms and their behaviors, which she plans to make public.

“I am an advocate of open data, so another outcome of my research is making the storm tracking data available online for other researchers to use,” said Esmaili.

According to Tian, Esmaili’s findings are meaningful in that they could help to understand the global water cycle and global circulation.

Esmaili’s research also garnered first place recognition for Best Student Oral Presentation at this year’s American Meteorological Society conference.

Esmaili began her academic career pursuing statistics and economics, but later decided to study atmospheric sciences in order to incorporate a broader range of fields.

“Earth science bridges many disciplines together, so it was very appealing to me,” Esmaili said. “I wanted to do work that was scientifically interesting and also provided positive benefits to society.”

She is currently pursuing her Ph.D., with hopes of teaching in the distant future.

“[Esmaili] is rational and she works hard,” said Tian. “I think she has a lot of potential for greater accomplishments.”