Colorado State University Atmospheric Scientist Named American Geophysical Union Fellow

Note to Reporters: A photo of William Cotton is available with the news release at

William Cotton, a professor in Colorado State University’s internationally recognized Department of Atmospheric Science, has been named a 2011 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a prestigious honor awarded to a select group of scientists from across the country.

Only one in 1,000 members is elected to the Fellowship each year. The AGU Fellowship recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions in the earth and space sciences.

Cotton joined CSU’s Atmospheric Science department in 1974, and is an expert in the areas of clouds and storm systems, including aerosol impacts on clouds, storms and climate. His current research focuses on the observation and modeling of aerosol impacts on winter clouds and precipitation, and convective storms including tornadoes and hurricanes.

Cotton is co-author of several books, including “Storm and Cloud Dynamics 2nd edition,” which describes the physics and dynamics of clouds and cloud systems, and “Human Impacts on Weather and Climate,” which describes intentional as well as inadvertent human activities that affect weather and climate. He is also co-editor of the recent book, “Aerosol Pollution Impact on Precipitation.”

Cotton has held positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Experimental Meteorological Laboratory, under the direction of Dr. Joanne Simpson. He earned his bachelor’s in mathematics and his master’s in meteorology from the State University of New York-Albany and his doctoral degree in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University.

His numerous awards include Colorado State University’s Jack E. Cermak Distinguished Advisor Award, CSU Engineering Dean’s Council Award for Excellence in Atmospheric Research, and the CSU College of Engineering Abell Faculty Research and Graduate Program Award. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and CSU’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere.

Founded in 1919, the American Geophysical Union is dedicated to furthering geophysical sciences through the individual efforts of its members and in cooperation with other national and international organizations. AGU is an international Union of scientists, working together on a broad spectrum of scientific topics that span all of the Earth and space sciences.

For more information about the AGU, go to