Colorado State Student Receives Award from American Meteorological Society for Research

A researcher at Colorado State University received an award for her study of large storm systems at a recent American Meteorological Society conference.

Dr. Arlene Laing was the co-recipient of the Max A. Eaton award at the 22nd Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology held in Fort Collins. She received a certificate and $50 for her study entitled, "The Large-Scale Environment of Mesoscale Convective Complexes: Comparison With Other Deep Convective Systems."

Mesoscale convective systems are large storm systems characterized by a layer of thick clouds that often form at night and can cover up to 185,000 square miles. Laing has studied the systems since before her arrival at Colorado State’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere last year.

"I am still in a daze about the award; it hasn’t quite hit me yet," Laing said. "When you look at your own research for so long you don’t realize how valuable it is until someone else gives you recognition."

The systems Laing studied produce 30 percent to 70 percent of rainfall in the growing season in the Central Plains and also are responsible for causing catastrophes such as the Midwest Flood of 1993. Laing found, among other things, that these systems form largely over continental land masses. Because of these storms’ potential power, Laing’s studies are important to those interested in the climate, agriculture, disaster relief, electrical phenomenon and tropical cyclone genesis.

Laing, a 31 year-old from Jamaica, will study at Colorado State’s internationally-known CIRA for one more year.

"Eventually, I want my work to apply to those who can use it most," Laing said. "Research is important, but it is more useful if you can find applications for it that help real people."