Colorado State University

Team Members

Group Photos

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Group photo 1
January 2020 (left to right) Naufal, Jen, Alex, Chelsea, Ellie, Jon, Ali, Ting-Yu, Dandan, Kate, Brianna, Chandra, Rung, Jhordanne, and Michael
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Group photo 2
Halloween 2019 (left to right) Naufal, Michael, Ben, Rung, Alex, Jon, Ali, Jen, Ellie, Chandra, Jhordanne, Chelsea, Ting-Yu, and Dandan
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Group photo 3
November 2018 (left to right) Michael, Ting-Yu, Bruno, Chelsea, Dandan, Alex, Chandra, Jhordanne, Rung, Ellie, Jen, Ben, Ya-Chien, Jon, and Naufal

Please click the photo to find more info about each member

Michael Bell,
Phil Klotzbach,
Research Scientist III
Jen DeHart,
Research Scientist I
Dandan Tao,
Research Scientist I
Kate Young,
Research Associate
Eleanor Casas,
Ph.D. Candidate
Alexandra Cole,
M.S. Student
Ting-Yu Cha,
Ph.D. Candidate
Alex DesRosiers,
M.S. Student
Jhordanne Jones,
Ph.D. Candidate
Jonathan Martinez,
Ph.D. Candidate
C. Chelsea Nam,
Ph.D. Candidate
Chandra Pasillas,
Ph.D. Candidate
Rung Panasawat-wong,
Ph.D. Candidate
Naufal Razin,
Ph.D. Candidate
Benjamin Trabing,
Ph.D. Candidate

Brief intro of each member



Associate Professor Michael Bell is the principal investigator of the CSU Tropical Weather and Climate Research Group. He became interested in studying the atmosphere and tropical cyclones (TCs) growing up in coastal Florida and being impacted by hurricanes. After obtaining a B.A. degree from the University of Florida, he moved to Colorado to pursue math and meteorology, and worked at NCAR as a researcher and airborne radar support scientist. He completed his M.S. thesis at Colorado State University on TC intensity theory and Ph.D. dissertation at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California on air-sea interaction in TCs. Dr. Bell became an assistant professor at University of Hawaii in 2012, and returned to Colorado in 2016 to join the faculty at CSU where he currently teaches and researches atmospheric science. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER, ONR Young Investigator, and White House PECASE Awards for his research in tropical meteorology, TCs, field experiments, radar observations, and numerical modeling. He enjoys hiking, baking, and music, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Fort Collins Area Swim Team.



Dandan is a Research Scientist I in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Dandan’s primary interest is in moist convective systems, especially tropical cyclones. Dandan received her PhD from the Pennsylvania State University, working with Dr. Fuqing Zhang on the dynamics and predictability of tropical cyclones under vertical wind shear. Currently, she is working with Dr. Michael Bell and Dr. Peter Jan van Leeuwen on the tropical cyclone rapid intensification using ensemble forecasts of Hurricane Patricia (2015) initialized from data assimilation cycle analysis. At the same time, Dandan is also working on the evolution of tropical cyclone’s angular momentum structure during its development stage.


Phil Klotzbach is a Research Scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2007. Klotzbach has been employed in the Department of Atmospheric Science for the past twenty years and was co-author on the Atlantic basin hurricane forecasts with Dr. William Gray through 2005. He became first author on the seasonal hurricane forecasts in 2006. Klotzbach developed the two-week forecasts currently being issued during the peak months of the hurricane season between August-October. He has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Climate and Weather and Forecasting. Klotzbach graduated from Bridgewater State College with a BS degree in Geography in 1999. He then attended Colorado State University where he received his Masters degree in Atmospheric Science in 2002. After receiving his Masters degree, Klotzbach thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine (2100+ miles). He has also climbed all 54 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, and has completed nine marathons and six ultra-marathons.


Jennifer is a Research Scientist I. In her research, Jennifer uses a combination of polarimetric radar observations and mesoscale models to understand the processes responsible for heavy tropical rainfall in a variety of weather systems. Prior to arriving at CSU, Jennifer received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where she worked with Prof. Robert Houze, Jr. to understand how external forcings affect the three-dimensional structure of tropical cyclones. Throughout her career, Jennifer has been fortunate to participate in several field campaigns, including VORTEX2, HS3, OLYMPEX, and the upcoming PRECIP campaign in 2021. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys traveling and eating delicious food.


Rung Panasawatwong  


Rung is a Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Michael Bell and Kristen Rasmussen. She's originally from Bangkok, Thailand and is receiving the Thai Government Scholarship. She is interested in extreme-rainfall producing storms in the Tropical East Asia Region. She received her Bachelors and Master of Science degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied climate sensitivity to CO2 and reversing rainfall trends over Southeast Asia. Currently, she is working with an ingredient framework to study extreme storms, using radar observations and reanalysis data to study the climatology of extreme storms in preparation for the PRECIP field campaign in 2021 in Taiwan and Japan. Outside of work, she’s interested in different cultures and foreign languages. She can speak Thai and English fluently, and can hold conversations in Japanese.


Eleanor Casas is a Ph.D. candidate, and she is researching the tropical cyclone boundary layer (TCBL) and its relationship to TC intensification processes. Prior to attending Colorado State University, Eleanor received her Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Valparaiso University where she researched lake-effect snow, and she began her graduate studies with Dr. Michael Bell at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her Master’s of Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University identified a simplified logistic growth equation framework that relates the surface drag coefficient to TCBL structure and short-term TC intensification potential, and Eleanor is interested in expanding the applicability of this framework. Additionally, Eleanor is also interested in investigating several processes that influence TC rapid intensification, and she prefers to use a combination of observations, numerical modeling, and theory to address her research questions.


Ting-Yu is a Ph.D. candidate from Taiwan researching the mesoscale structure, evolution, and precipitation of tropical cyclones with ground-based and airborne radar data and numerical simulations. She received a B.S in Atmospheric Science from National Taiwan University in 2016, and her M.S. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2018. Her research interests are in understanding thermodynamic, dynamics, and microphysics interactions in TC intensity change and extreme precipitation and improving radar research tools. She has been collaborating with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to develop the LROSE radar tools and is involved in the Airborne Phased Array Radar (APAR) project. She will participate in the PRECIP 2021 field campaign in Taiwan, and use the observational dataset to understand the key mechanism related to heavy precipitation. In her spare time, Ting-Yu enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and traveling.


Jhordanne is a PhD candidate studying the relationships between the large-scale tropical environment and tropical cyclone activity with a focus on improving subseasonal to seasonal forecast prediction. Another part of her research includes studying ways in which the combination of global climate model output and machine learning can be used to improve prediction skill. Jhordanne received her MPhil./MSc. in Applied Physics (Climate Physics) in 2016 from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. For her Master’s thesis, she studied changes in North Atlantic tropical cyclone frequency by operational statistical forecast schemes in a warmed climate. In future work, Jhordanne hopes to further explore hurricane activity in climate model environments and examine how much predictability (and future projection) can be gained from them.


Alex is a second year M.S. student at Colorado State University. He was born and raised in Tampa Florida and obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida. An affinity for the outdoors has made Colorado an excellent new home. Alex’s current research aims to identify internal mechanisms driving rapid intensification in recent Atlantic storms. In situ data such as the NOAA P-3 Tail Doppler Radar will be used to capture these mechanisms in action. This research also incorporates machine learning techniques to lessen the time and effort it takes to quality control radar data. The end goal is a better understanding of how rapid intensity changes occur in order to provide more information for modelers and forecasters.


Ben is a PhD candidate at Colorado State University (CSU) and a research associate at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL. His doctoral research involves multi-scale interactions between radiation and tropical cyclone structure and intensity. He received his M.S. in atmospheric science from CSU in 2018 and a bachelors in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma (OU) in 2016. Ben conducted undergraduate research while working at the National Severe Storms Laboratory and the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. Ben's research interests include tropical meteorology, radiative transfer in the atmosphere, and storm electrification. You can find more about Ben and his research at his webpage.

Chaehyeon Chelsea Nam  


Chelsea Nam is a PhD candidate studying convective structure and evolution during tropical cyclone genesis. To better understand the complex, multi-scale tropical cyclogenesis, she uses a number of different datasets and methods including radar (airborne, shipborne) data, ensemble high-resolution mesoscale models (WRF and CM1) and large-scale reanalyses. She started her PhD at Colorado State University (CSU) in 2017 after She received a B.S in earth science from Seoul National University (SNU) at South Korea in 2015, and her M.S in atmospheric science from SNU in 2017. During her Master’s, she researched TC risk in statistical and climatological perspective working with Dr. Chang-Hoi Ho and Dr. Doo-Sun R. Park. She has a passion for teaching; she was an instructor for the undergraduate Intro course for atmospheric science at CSU in 2019 and she served as a teaching assistant for Atmospheric Dynamics II course in 2020.


Naufal is a PhD candidate who hails from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He got his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, followed by his Master’s of Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University. For both his Master’s and PhD research, Naufal has been studying the dynamics of stratiform and convective precipitation in tropical cyclone (TC) rainbands and their effects on intensity, primarily using remote sensing tools such as radar and satellite observations. He is also one of the main authors for the Tropical Cyclone Precipitation, Infrared, Microwave, and Environmental Dataset (TC PRIMED) – a dataset of TC-centered passive microwave observations, supplemented by other data such as infrared and TC environmental diagnostics. Naufal is a huge fan of Liverpool FC and enjoys playing the guitar as well as indulging in nature photography/time-lapse in his free time. He also enjoys hiking, camping, and playing pick-up soccer – if his knees would allow.


Ali Cole is a first year M.S. candidate. Prior to attending Colorado State University, Ali received a Bachelor of Science in Geography (Meteorology-Climatology) and a Bachelor of Science in Computational Mathematical Sciences from Arizona State University, where she researched gravity wave propagation at the tropopause. Her research interests now include heavy rainfall structures, particularly in tropical cyclones, which she investigates using the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) and observations. She looks forward to participating in the PRECIP field campaign next summer and using LES-scale WRF runs to analyze rainfall structures. Ali grew up in Tucson, Arizona and has enjoyed watching monsoonal thunderstorms since she was young. Outside of her research, she enjoys exploring the outdoors in Colorado and trying to perfect her baking skills.


Chandra Pasillas is a Ph. D. candidate co-advised by Michael Bell and Christian Kummerow. She is working to advance geostationary nighttime multi-spectral imaging for low cloud detection with applications towards improving fog forecasting and tropical cyclone forecasting through the use of derived motion winds.Chandra received her Bachelors’ of Science in Meteorology from the United States Air Force Academy in 2004, and then entered the United States Air Force (USAF) as a weather officer. She obtained her Masters’ of Science in Atmosphere Science from the Naval Post-graduate School where she studied the impacts of time latency and satellite selection to the USAF’s World Wide Merged Cloud Analysis (WWMCA) product under Dr. Tom Murphree. In addition to her current research, Chandra is interested in bringing research products into operations capacity to provide today’s forecasters with the best tools available for informing leaders and aviators of adverse weather impacts.


Jon Martinez is a PhD candidate. Jon was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida where he experienced several landfalling hurricanes that inspired his interest in tropical cyclone research. Jon’s primary research focuses on understanding the mesoscale structure and evolution of tropical cyclones with high-resolution observational data and numerical simulations. Jon’s research interests also include severe wind production in mesoscale convective systems; tropical cyclone frequency and risk assessment amidst Earth's warming climate system; tropical cyclogenesis and climate variability; and the economics of climate change. Jon was recently awarded the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Advanced Study Program (ASP) Postdoctoral Fellowship. As an ASP Postdoctoral Fellow, Jon will investigate how tropical cyclone frequency might change amidst Earth's warming climate system by analyzing variability in the processes that contribute to tropical cyclone formation.



Kate joined CSU’s Atmospheric Science Department as a Research Associate in 2020. She had previously worked as an Associate Scientist and Data Manager at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) from 1999 to 2019. Kate has a strong background in Earth Science, Applied Statistics, and Computer Science. She has extensive experience applying statistical and mathematical algorithms to data and developing advanced analytical tools and visual outputs for data interpretation; specifically identifying patterns, trends, anomalies, and outliers. She has a passion for Data Science and is interested in learning how to incorporate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques into workflows and automating tools for rapid analysis, prediction and processing. Kate earned a B.S. Degree in Earth Science from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). She also went on to do graduate work in Applied Statistics and Research Methods at UNC. In her spare time, Kate is busy raising three children. She enjoys hiking, boating and most activities that allow her to be outdoors.

Group Alumni

Ya-Chien Feng

  • Postdoc from 2017 to 2019
  • Current Affilation: ASP Postdoc at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

  • Bonnie Brown

  • Postdoc from 2014 to 2016
  • Current Affilation: Program Coordinator at NOAA/OAR/Off. of Weather and Air Quality

  • Annette Foerster

  • Ph.D. in 2017
  • Thesis: Radar-derived Thermodynamic Structure of a Major Hurricane in Vertical Wind Shear
  • Current Affilation: ITGAIN Consulting Gesellschaft für IT-Beratung mbH

  • Shannon McElhinney

  • M.S. in 2014
  • Thesis: Observations of Supergradient Winds in the Tropical Cyclone Boundary Layer
  • Current Affilation: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ

  • Andrew Frambach

  • M.S. in 2015
  • Thesis: Dual-polarization Radar Characteristics of Convection in Hawaii during HERO
  • Current Affilation: Center for Severe Weather Research, Boulder, CO

  • Brianna Lund

  • Research Associate from Jan. 2020 to May 2020
  • Current Affilation: Associate Scientist at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)