18 September 2023
Dr. Amy Hawes Butler has received the 2023 AGU Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award for her research explaining how processes in the stratosphere link to the troposphere and can improve predictability of weather on times scales of weeks to months.
Dr. Butler studies the interaction between the stratosphere and troposphere with an eye toward using the state of the stratosphere to improve predictability of weather at the surface. She is a recognized leader in the interactions between the stratosphere and troposphere. She has led or contributed to numerous studies on the stratosphere’s influence on surface weather and tropospheric composition; she has excelled in these studies. In particular, she is singularly interested in elucidating the impact of the stratosphere on surface weather and sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasting, and she is a clear leader in research on those issues. She has recently started working on climate intervention research, using climate model simulations to assess the impacts of increasing stratospheric aerosol to cool the surface.
A key aspect of scientific leadership is writing reviews, perspectives, and broader audience pieces. These are time-consuming efforts but play a major role in future research directions. Dr. Butler has made outstanding contributions in this regard, including multiple reviews and one book chapter; she is currently working on a second book chapter. She also serves as a leader in scientific organizations; she recently completed a term as chair of the AMS Middle Atmosphere Committee, she co-chairs the SNAP project with SPARC (a WCRP core project) and has been a member of national and international steering committees as well as serving as a review editor for the WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2022.
In addition to her research accomplishments, Dr. Butler excels at communication. She is a go-to expert regularly contacted by the media to discuss the "polar vortex," sudden stratospheric warmings, and associated weather/climate impacts. She has put together explanatory videos covering atmospheric dynamics topics that are clear and easily understood by a lay audience, regularly contributes to NOAA weather blogs, and has an active social media presence where she explains weather phenomena.
In summary, Dr. Amy Butler is the world's expert on stratospheric sudden warmings and their impact on tropospheric seasonal weather variations. She has an incredible science research record for someone only 14 years after completing their doctorate, and she has demonstrated leadership and excels in outreach. She is clearly on the "Ascent".