This is the first year the Atmospheric and Space Electricity (ASE) section’s Early Career Award will be presented. This award was created to recognize the outstanding contributions of early-career scientists who are primarily or secondarily affiliated with ASE. The award will be biennial, occurring in opposite years from the Benjamin Franklin Lecture, which is presented by an honored senior scientist within ASE. With this new award, we are very proud to continue the advancement of ASE science by promoting a culture that identifies and supports talent throughout all career stages.
—Timothy J. Lang, President, Atmospheric and Space Electricity section, AGU
Eric Bruning’s research has combined his observational studies with innovative theoretical methods to provide new insights into the processes by which storms produce lightning, particularly in relating lightning size and rates to turbulent storm structure and dissipated electrostatic energy and in clarifying processes causing anomalously electrified storms. His insights are presented in 23 peer-reviewed papers in such journals as Journal of Geophysical Research, Atmospheric Research, and Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.
Recognizing that progress in our science is inextricably linked to new observations, Eric has obtained essential observations using his West Texas Lightning Mapping Array and other Texas Tech University observing systems. He also helped plan and carry out the extensive Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) experiment and the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment–Southeast (VORTEX-SE) and the field program to verify performance of the GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper.
Eric is well recognized for his research achievements, for generously sharing his expertise and resources with students and colleagues, and for scientific leadership. He has advised, served, or chaired several national and international science organizations. He also chaired the Eighth Conference on Meteorological Applications of Lightning Data, developed a training course for the National Weather Service, and gave tutorials on lightning and analysis tools to students and colleagues. He did all this while maintaining a full teaching and advising load at Texas Tech, having advised 11 M.S. students and two Ph.D. students.
In summary, Eric has generously contributed to the infrastructure of our science and has combined his solid foundation in both meteorology and mathematics to make significant advances in our understanding of thunderstorm electrification.
On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric and Space Electricity section, I am pleased to present our section’s 2018 Early Career Award to Dr. Eric Bruning.
—Donald MacGorman, National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Norman, Okla.
It is an honor to receive the AGU Atmospheric and Space Electricity (ASE) Early Career Award. AGU and ASE have been a crucial part of my professional growth from the earliest days. I’m especially grateful to Drs. W. David Rust (whom I very much miss) and Donald MacGorman of the National Severe Storms Laboratory for providing an opportunity to engage in research with the ASE community as an undergraduate and throughout my time at the University of Oklahoma, to Dr. Michael Biggerstaff for his guidance and advising, and to Dr. Paul Krehbiel for numerous clarifying conversations. Each of these individuals has been a committed educator who provided valuable mentoring and research training while humanely conveying high standards for professional work. Without them I would not have understood the horizon of opportunity. More recently, I am grateful to Dr. Steven Goodman for connecting me to the GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper program at the University of Maryland and to Texas Tech University and my colleagues and graduate students there for providing a fertile home for an independent research program.
The citation notes my work on lightning and the turbulent structure of clouds, neither of which is highly regarded for its tractability as a physical system. Nevertheless, I was attracted to lightning’s coupling to the worst of nonlinear fluid dynamics because the beauty of the data, at least to my eye, was in the complexity of lightning flashes as a multitude of variously sized, space-filling fractal objects. I see work on this problem as a microcosm of the challenges that are present across studies of the Earth system and its plethora of coupled, nonlinear systems. AGU brings the study of those systems together, and I look forward to future discoveries alongside my colleagues as we continue to observe and characterize eddies and electricity in the atmosphere.
—Eric C. Bruning, Texas Tech University, Lubbock