CW3E Welcomes Dr. Ty Brandt

November 20, 2019

Ty Brandt joined CW3E as Postdoc in October 2019. He received his B.S. in Biology from Whitman College (2007), and his M.S. in Environmental Science from California State University Monterey Bay (2012). For his PhD he worked with Dr. Jeff Dozier at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California Santa Barbara (2019).

Ty’s PhD research focused on the use of snow remote sensing and snow modeling to improve our understanding of the spatial distribution of wintertime mountain precipitation. In mountain environments, the dynamic nature in which the atmosphere and land interact can render the spatial distribution of precipitation highly variable. In the past, we have used networks of surface stations to capture this variability, and to make these measurements meaningful we have utilized statistics or models to “fill the gaps”. However, the “gaps” often include vast areas of topographic variability, making model validation challenging at best. Snow, unlike rain however, remains roughly in place post-snowfall, and can be measured both from the ground (using traditional techniques) and now from the air using lidar technology. Ty’s thesis took advantage of this by using lidar collected by the Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) to establish a methodology for measuring the spatial distribution of snowfall during a single storm. He also used ASO data and snow study sites to directly evaluate the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model’s ability to replicate the spatial patterns in yearly snow accumulation.

At CW3E Ty will provide snow remote sensing, modeling and process understanding to aid WRF modeling studies. Ty’s expertise supports several of CW3E projects including FIRO, NOAA projects and work with the Yuba Water Agency.