Ángel Francisco Adames is awarded the James R. Holton Award for his groundbreaking contributions to atmospheric sciences, in particular, to the theory of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO).
As the MJO slowly propagates from the tropical Indian Ocean to the Pacific, it influences global weather and climate, including many types of high-impact events, such as floods, wildfires, tropical cyclones, heat waves, cold surges, tornadoes, and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It has been a great challenge to explain the existence and slow propagation of the MJO. Adames was able to cleverly combine the moisture mode concept of the variability in the tropical atmosphere with the existing dry dynamic theory of equatorial waves and develop an elegant theory that not only explains the selection mechanism of the MJO’s temporal and spatial scales and its slow eastward propagation but also predicted a nonzero group velocity. Using this theory, he elucidated the observed 3-D wind and moisture structure of the MJO in an expansive series of papers.
In a pair of more recent papers, he addressed the question of how global warming would affect MJO behavior using a NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies climate model. In further work, he has examined synoptic-scale monsoonal disturbances, showing how dry quasigeostrophic dynamics interacts with the time evolution of moisture (precipitation), explaining the propagation of moist static energy and its gentle ascent, and making the atmosphere more conducive to deep convection. His theoretical work on the monsoonal disturbances is the first that successfully combines the conventional potential vorticity thinking with the moisture dynamics of the monsoon.
As noted in Ángel’s nomination letter, “What is truly amazing about Ángel’s voluminous body of work is that it brings together all three ‘pillars’ of atmospheric research—theory, observation, and modeling—in such a synergistic way that they ‘amplify’ one another.” Few junior faculty and scientists have achieved so much at such an early stage of their careers.
On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section, I am pleased to present the 2018 James R. Holton Award to Dr. Ángel F. Adames.
—Joyce E. Penner, President, Atmospheric Sciences Section, AGU
I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to the Atmospheric Sciences section of AGU and the members of the award committee. It is simply humbling to receive an award named after James R. Holton. I remember using his book for my first class in dynamic meteorology, which not only became my favorite topic in atmospheric sciences but also defined the course of my scientific career. I hope to transfer this excitement toward atmospheric dynamics to the students I will teach at the University of Michigan.
I am lucky to have met numerous outstanding people who have played a pivotal role in my development. Tom Ackerman and the people at the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) were the first who provided me an opportunity to perform research and paved the way for my career. Jerôme Patoux, Mike Wallace, and Daehyun Kim supported me throughout grad school and taught me to do research with care, rigor, and enthusiasm. My postdoctoral supervisor, Yi Ming, with whom I had many fruitful science conversations, and I shared the joy of being the loudest people at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). I would also like to thank my collaborators and reviewers, whose support and feedback have been crucial for my work.
During my years at the University of Washington and GFDL, I was fortunate to have many friends who not only created many unforgettable memories but also made me feel at home. Also, much of my strength and inspiration have come from friends and colleagues from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, especially those from the program in atmospheric sciences and meteorology. I cannot express how grateful I am to have met all these people. Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to my family for their unconditional support. This award is as much theirs as it is mine.
—Ángel F. Adames-Corraliza, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor