Desai earns American Meteorological Society awards for innovative research and early career achievements

December 8, 2015

Nelson Institute faculty affiliate Ankur Desai, an associate professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, will be honored with the American Meteorological Society's Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award in January at the organization's annual meeting.

Desai, who began teaching at UW-Madison in 2007, receives the award in recognition of his “innovative contributions toward improving the observation and modeling of biosphere-atmosphere exchanges across a range of spatial and temporal scales.” The award, named after a 1920s-era atmospheric scientist who died in the field, is given each year to a scientist who excels in the study of land-air interactions.

Desai’s research is marked by big-picture, cross-disciplinary collaboration. For example, a carbon cycle study he led in northern Wisconsin brought together students and scientists to take greenhouse gas measurements in a range of land-based ecosystems.

“A lot of the science I do,” said Desai, “comes from merging data together, synthesizing results, sharing results openly, and trying to make sense across a large gradient.”

In addition, Desai will be the first recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award, newly implemented this year by the AMS Board of Early Career Professionals. The award recognizes Desai’s achievements as a researcher, his mentorship and collaboration with other scientists, his leadership on science outreach projects, and his involvement in the AMS.

Desai said he feels that the AMS awards reflect the strength of the university and other on-campus institutions, such as the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and its Center for Climatic Research (CCR).

“I couldn’t do my work without support from SSEC, CCR, and the Nelson Institute,” he said. “There is no field at UW that is not covered by world class experts.”

This story was originally published by the UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center.