Keri Nicoll, winner of the 2020 Atmospheric and Space Electricity Early Career Award
Keri Nicoll

Keri Nicoll is known internationally for her expertise in fair weather atmospheric electricity measurements and instrumentation development. Her pioneering research in instrumentation development has resulted in the creation of many new sensors (including space charge, conductivity, and energetic particle sensors) for balloon and small aircraft, some of which are now commercially available. This has enabled Keri to become a world leader in investigating fundamental questions related to charge and atmospheric electricity effects on cloud and aerosol microphysics, which are important for climate projections.

Keri is well recognized for her research achievements (54 journal papers in 10 years, which have been cited over 1,000 times) and her scientific leadership—leading (or coleading) 11 different projects. Her work on the Global Coordination of Atmospheric Electricity Measurements project (GloCAEM) is particularly valuable, bringing global atmospheric electricity researchers together for the first time to create a new network and a publicly accessible data archive for atmospheric electricity measurements. The legacy of this project is likely to continue for many decades to come and since its completion has inspired many others to contribute data to the new archive. Further evidence of her high standing within the international community is her invitation to join three separate European Union cost actions (including leading one as a working group leader), International Space Science Institute (ISSI) teams, and her current role as training manager for the EU Marie Curie training network, SAINT.

Keri’s research activities have literally spanned the globe. She has led balloon and aircraft field campaigns in Antarctica, the Arctic, the Middle East, and Europe, and the instrumentation developed by her research group is highly sought after by researchers all over the world.

—Colin Price, Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel


I am very honored to receive this year’s AGU Atmospheric and Space Electricity Early Career Award, and I thank Colin Price for his nomination and the Atmospheric and Space Electricity committee for their consideration of all the applications. I am also particularly grateful to such colleagues as Giles Harrison, Yoav Yair, Michael Rycroft, Martin Fullekrug, Karen Aplin, and Alec Bennett for their advice and stimulating science discussions over the past 10 or so years.

Atmospheric electricity is a subject I have long been passionate about, and I feel very fortunate to work in a field that has afforded me many exciting opportunities to perform new and interesting research in some unique locations. At the core of my research has been the development of small, disposable atmospheric electricity sensors (especially for airborne use), and I am particularly thankful to Giles Harrison for being such a fantastic mentor in this. Among his many other useful insights, Giles helped me realize very early in my career the satisfaction of turning a theoretical concept of a sensor into a physical device, which we launch into the air, make some measurements with, and discover something new about the atmosphere. The sensors that we have developed have enabled me to work with many different research groups around the world and get involved with multidisciplinary projects that have taken me from the top of volcanoes to the frozen Antarctic.

With its range of different science subjects, AGU highlights the importance of multidisciplinary science and the new discoveries that can be made when we merge knowledge and techniques from different subject areas, and I look forward to working with many more colleagues in the future to better understand Earth’s atmospheric electrical environment.

—Keri Nicoll, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, U.K.


(2021), Nicoll receives 2020 Atmospheric and Space Electricity Early Career Award, Eos, 102, Published on 01 July 2021.

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