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Ashley receives AMS honor; will present at annual meeting

January 8, 2020

NIU meteorology professor Walker Ashley

NIU meteorology professor Walker Ashley has been selected to present the Walter Orr Robert Lecture at the 100th Annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) meeting in Boston Jan. 12-16, 2020.

The Walter Orr Roberts Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Sciences is selected in recognition of significant contributions to the understanding of atmospheric processes through the effective interchange of knowledge between atmospheric science disciplines or between atmospheric scientists and scientists of other disciplines. This is Ashley’s second AMS award. He was the recipient of the 2016 AMS Weather, Climate, and Society Editor’s Award.

“I am grateful for this recognition and would like to acknowledge the dozens of NIU students who have been collaborators and co-authors on my interdisciplinary research,” Ashley said. “This award is reflective of the success of those students and the research they have completed while at NIU.” 

Ashley, a Presidential Teaching Professor as well as an AMS certified consulting meteorologist, is an atmospheric scientist and physical geographer. His areas of specialization include hazards and societal interactions, severe storms, and applied climatology and meteorology. Over the years, his research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and NOAA.

Ashley’s presentation, scheduled for Jan. 14, is titled “Severe Thunderstorms and Their Impacts: Past, Present, and Future.”  Recent extreme weather events and their impacts illustrate that we are increasingly vulnerable to weather hazards despite advances in science and technology. He will discuss how scientists have understood hazards and disasters, and how shifts in perspectives and conceptualizations of disasters over the last century have informed policy.

“If our goal is to successfully reduce hazard impacts and build societal resilience to disasters, then the physical, social, and behavioral sciences must learn from each other and work together to inform policy from the local to global level,” according to Ashley.

His presentation will conclude with a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for reducing hazard impacts in our rapidly changing world.

Ashley will present alongside his former students and peers on several topics during the AMS annual meeting. Together with NIU alumni Victor Gensini (also a current colleague) and Alex Haberlie, Ashley will present research on severe thunderstorms during two sessions on Jan. 14 as well as “Future Changes in Snow Storms over North America” as part of the Conference on Climate Variability and Change on Jan. 15.