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DRI names new Director of Weather Modification

By ThisIsReno

driDRI NEWS

Jeffrey Tilley, Ph.D. has been named the new Director of Weather Modification within the Desert Research Institute’s Division of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS). Tilley’s primary role will be to lead the Institute’s historic effort in designing and operating Nevada’s successful Cloud Seeding Program.

The DRI Cloud Seeding Program serves to augment snowfall in mountainous regions that supply water to northern and southern Nevada, and increase the snowpack and resultant runoff from the targeted basins. DRI scientists estimate that annual augmented snow water has averaged 64,000 acre-feet during the last 15 years. That’s enough to supply 140,000 households with water annually.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Tilley in a leadership role supporting our legacy program that provides weather modification services and conducts cloud physics research at DRI,” said Marc Pitchford, DAS Executive Director. “He brings a broad perspective of excellent work from the Arctic regions to the tropics that will be a great complement to the expertise that exist in our Division of Atmospheric Sciences.”

Tilley comes to DRI from the University of North Dakota, where he worked as a Research and Technology Transfer Scientist in the Regional Weather Information Center (RWIC) and supported the Center’s research efforts associated with the Army High Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC). Tilley also worked for more than eight years as an Assistant Research Professor in the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

“The opportunities at DRI are endless,” said Tilley, who received his Ph.D. in Meteorology from Pennsylvania State University in 1990, and his B.S. from the same institution in1984. “I’m very excited to join such a robust team of interdisciplinary scientists.”

Tilley also noted that DRI has “a tremendous set of resources and a fantastic group of people in place” to continue its success in weather modification research around the world.

Tilley succeeds Arlen Huggins, who oversaw the program for nearly two decades and expertly applied the technique of using trace chemical analysis of snowfall to assess both environmental impacts and the effectiveness of cloud seeding. DRI’s atmospheric scientists are recognized leaders in the development of cloud seeding methods, analyzing effectiveness and targeting accuracy, and applying remote sensing technology to determine if storm systems are suitable for seeding.

DRI Cloud Seeding Program Background

Cloud seeding has been conducted in Nevada since the 1960’s. DRI has designed and operated the program since its inception. The DRI Cloud Seeding Program originated as an outgrowth of DRI weather modification research programs funded through U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants.

Past and current projects include work in the basins of Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River, the Carson River, the Walker River, the Upper Humboldt River (Ruby Mountains), the South Fork of the Owyhee River (Tuscarora Mountains), the Reese River (Toiyabe Mountains), and several areas in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

Current DRI research is focused on the quantitative evaluation of winter storm cloud seeding using ultra trace chemical analysis of snow samples, atmospheric model simulations of cloud seeding, and hydrologic modeling to estimate the additional runoff due to cloud seeding.

DRI’s current Cloud Seeding Program is funded by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Western Regional Water Management Fund and the Truckee Meadows Water Authority.

 

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