May 13, 2024

At this year’s CW3E Annual Meeting we will be acknowledging the achievement of Kyle Hurley, a UCSD undergraduate student, as a 2024 UCSD Triton Student Employee of the Year, for his role in AR Recon.

In 2022, Kyle met with one of CW3E’s Atmospheric River Reconnaissance (AR Recon) program mission directors and expressed interest in becoming involved. He joined the team for the 2022-2023 season to support the AR Recon flight planning process and continued in this role through the 2023-2024 season. Flight tracks for these missions are developed in Google Earth and finalized using IDL coding on a Linux server and require close coordination between CW3E staff and collaborators around the world. Kyle’s position requires him to start as early as 6 am, update a variety of background fields in Google Earth to support flight track design decision-making by the team, create draft flight tracks, present them during weather briefings, revise them on-the-fly as needed with feedback from senior scientists and aircraft personnel, and then produce and provide dropsonde coordinate and spacing information on a tight and inflexible timeline. He quickly learned this process during his first season and has even helped improve upon its functionality. During his training, he was able to provide key support that streamlined the process ahead of briefings. However, he quickly showed enough skill that empowered him to lead the tool on his own without much supervision. Kyle fully embraced this opportunity and excelled in the high-pressure work. This year, there were several pre-flight issues due to the position of the jet stream causing turbulence along our tracks. So, in addition to his regular duties, Kyle was asked to make last-minute flight track adjustments for same-day flights. He took this on with grace even though it further shrunk his already limited preparation time. He is always enthusiastic to get started each morning and can complete his tasks on deadline which requires close collaboration with the AR Recon team, including Air Force and NOAA personnel. As a bonus, he even brought in donuts and coffee for the group on several occasions.

The AR Recon team is very thankful for his contributions during the past two AR Recon seasons, and we hope he can join us again next season.

Congratulations Kyle, and job well done!