Colorado State University

Team Members

Group Photos

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Group photo 1
October 2021 (left to right) Michael, Ali, Chelsea, Alex, Ting-Yu, Phil, Tyler, Chandra, Rung, Ellie, and Jen
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Group photo 2
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 3
Halloween 2019 (left to right) Naufal, Michael, Ben, Rung, Alex, Jon, Ali, Jen, Ellie, Chandra, Jhordanne, Chelsea, Ting-Yu, and Dandan

Please click the photo to find more info about each member

Michael Bell,
Phil Klotzbach,
Research Scientist III
Jen DeHart,
Research Scientist I
Tyler Barbero,
M.S. Student
Eleanor Casas,
Ph.D. Candidate
Alexandra Cole,
M.S. Student
Ting-Yu Cha,
Ph.D. Candidate
Alex DesRosiers,
Ph.D. Student
C. Chelsea Nam,
Ph.D. Candidate
Chandra Pasillas,
Ph.D. Candidate
Rung Panasawat-wong,
Ph.D. Candidate
Naufal Razin,
Ph.D. Candidate

Brief intro of each member



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, canoeing, and music, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Fort Collins Area Swim Team.



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.


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.


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.


Alex is a Ph.D. 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.


Tyler Barbero is a first year M.S. student originally from Santa Clara, California. He received his B.S. in Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and minor in Mathematics from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California San Diego. His undergraduate research involved looking at dust dynamics and transport in Southern California but his interests took a turn when he interned at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) on a project investigating tropical cyclone (TC) track biases in GFS, IFS and GFDL SHiELD models. He plans to continue this research into his Masters and also explore other interests which include tropical waves, large-scale atmospheric and oceanic controls on TCs among others. Alongside research, Tyler aspires to teach and through this, inspire in people the same enthusiasm he has for this field. For pastime activities, he enjoys rock climbing, surfing (when near an ocean), and unwinding with a beer (or two) after a long week.


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.

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.


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.


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.

Group Alumni/ Past Members

  • Ph.D. in 2020
  • Thesis: On Intensity Change and the Effects of Shortwave Radiation on Tropical Cyclone Rainbands
  • Current Affilation: Research Associate at Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA)

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

  • Jonathan Martinez  

  • Ph.D. in 2020
  • Thesis: Axisymmetric and Asymmetric Processes Contributing to Tropical Cyclone Intensification and Expansion
  • Current Affilation: ASP Postdoc Fellow at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

  • Research Associate from Jan. 2020 to Mar. 2021
  • Current Affilation: Senior Data Scientist at Nutrien Ag Solutions

  • Jhordanne Jones  

  • Ph.D. in 2021
  • Thesis: An Examination of the Large-Scale Drivers of North Atlantic Vertical Wind Shear and Seasonal Tropical Cylcone Variability
  • Current Affilation: Postdoc at Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences of Purdue University

  • 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

  • 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

  • Research Scientist I from Aug. 2018 to Oct. 2020
  • Current Affilation: Researcher at Geophysical Institude at University of Bergen, Norway

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

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

  • 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