Three CEE Graduate Students Win Conference Awards

Shearer, Gorooh and Ombadi, researchers at UCI’s Center for Hydrometeorology & Remote Sensing, won awards at professional conferences for presenting their work.

March 9, 2021 - Civil and environmental engineering doctoral students Eric Shearer, Vesta Afzali Gorooh and Mohammed Ombadi, all of whom are affiliated with UC Irvine’s Center for Hydrometeorology & Remote Sensing (CHRS), won awards for presentations they made at recent professional conferences.

Shearer whose advisers are Phu Nguyen, CEE adjunct assistant professor, and Distinguished Professor/CHRS Director Soroosh Sorooshian, was recognized in the student presentation competition by the 34th Conference on Climate Variability and Change during the American Meteorological Society’s 101st annual meeting. His presentation examined trends in precipitation of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic, using 40-year archives of high-resolution rainfall data. Shearer, who won $200 and a certificate, presented research that revealed pronounced increases in volume and precipitation rates as well as a steady increase in the volume of precipitation over land during the study period. In addition, his work indicated that tropical cyclones contribute up to 30% of local precipitation in Texas, Florida, the Caribbean islands and the Gulf Coast of Mexico from July to October.

Gorooh won the Precipitation Technical Committee Student Award at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2020 fall meeting for her presentation, “Data Integration for Satellite Precipitation Estimation Using Deep Neural Networks.” She detailed the ways in which recent developments in satellite remote sensing, along with advancements in machine learning, have enabled massive amounts of real-time observations to be integrated into data to characterize cloud structures and their precipitation potential. Gorooh, who also is advised by Sorooshian, won $100 and a certificate.

Ombadi, whom Sorooshian also advises, won the Outstanding Student Presentation Award at the AGU fall 2020 meeting. His presentation, “Toward an Improved Understanding of Hydrologic Complexity,” reports the results of an analysis conducted on 400 hydrologic catchments (drainage basins) across the contiguous United States using data-driven exploration. “The results form the basis of a hydrologic catchment classification framework, and they bear significance for improved forecasting and modelling in ungauged hydrologic catchments,” Ombadi said. He won a certificate, $200 and entry to a section event at the 2021 AGU fall meeting.

“We at CHRS, including CEE professors Kuolin Hsu and Phu Nguyen, who co-advise Vesta, Eric and Mohammed on their dissertation research, are extremely proud of all three students for being recognized by our scientific peers for their outstanding work,” Sorooshian said. “This certainly is an independent verification of what we, as the students’ co-advisers, already know about how exceptional they are.”

– Anna Lynn Spitzer

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