Josh Aikins


Josh Aikins completed his PhD in Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder) from the Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) in summer 2018. Prior to that, he was just a simple weather weenie with a Bachelors of Science in Meteorology from the prestigious Penn State University (PSU) Department of Meteorology.

Josh knew he loved weather and its extremes since he was 6 years old, ever since he experienced the 36+ inches of snow that fell during the Blizzard of 1996 in his hometown of York, PA. When he was 13 years old, he spent most of his day outside playing in the wind as Hurricane Isabel moved through the Mid-Atlantic region. And when he was 18 years old he drove 250 miles to northwestern Pennsylvania just to get buried in lake effect snowfall. He was a full weather weenie by the time he started his undergraduate schooling at Penn State in 2008. Four years later he officially became an “educated” weather weenie with a BS in Meteorology.

Josh headed off to graduate school at CU Boulder in 2012, which is when he got his first experience with CSWR. He volunteered (along with his wife) to chase Hurricane Isaac from Boulder, CO to south of New Orleans, LA in a mobile mesonet truck (SCOUT2). After sitting through 16 hours of hurricane conditions, being stranded at a firehouse due to levee breaches, and finally extracting through a horrendous disaster zone, he was just as excited to help as he was day 1. In fact, Josh came back the following Spring 2013 to assist in CSWR tornado chasing. He assisted with driving/navigating SCOUT vehicles and deploying tornado PODs in front of tornadic supercells over two 5-day chase deployments as part of the ROTATE project. During these deployments he saw his first tornado and helped collect data from at least three tornado-producing storms, including the infamous El Reno, OK tornado that was the widest tornado observed (2.6 miles) with winds estimated by the DOW mobile radars of ~ 300 mph. Since then, Josh has assisted CSWR with the PECAN 2015 field project in the central Great Plains and was a vital asset in collecting DOW radar data on remote mountaintop locations in Idaho for the SNOWIE 2017 winter cloud seeding field project. In fact, he helped collect the best observational evidence of glaciogenic cloud seeding working during SNOWIE.

Josh started working with CSWR in June 2018 as an Associate Scientist, where he has assisted with the GRAINEX and RELAMPAGO 2018 field deployments and the multitude of data quality control required for these projects. Josh has since started analyzing data for ongoing research projects and will be a vital asset in CSWR-related research.

In his spare time, Josh enjoys hiking, skiing, exploring the world of craft beer, and spending time traveling with his wife.

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