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CCU physics professor receives major science grant

September 7, 2011

Varavut Limpasuvan, professor of physics at Coastal Carolina University, received a $254,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study climate dynamics. His research focuses on atmospheric wave disturbances and their roles in rapidly changing the wintertime polar circulation above the altitude of 30 km. The study will investigate how such evolving polar conditions can, potentially, impact the near-surface climate and the stratospheric ozone distribution. The study will combine recently compiled global data analyses from NASA with computer simulations on global and regional domain.

As the lead principal investigator, Limpasuvan will collaborate with scientists at NASA Goddard, Colorado Research Associates, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Norwegian Institute of Air Research. This project builds on computer simulation studies of atmospheric disturbances on a regional scale that past CCU students had initiated," said Limpasuvan. "Now, we are including the latest NCAR global chemistry-climate model to better understand these disturbances on a larger scale and their influence on the polar circulation. Olga Tweedy, a junior marine science major at CCU, has been conducting research relating to this study for the past year.

Prior to joining CCU in fall 2000, Limpasuvan earned bachelor's degrees in physics and mechanical engineering from Occidental College and the California Institute of Technology, respectively. He earned a doctorate degree in atmospheric science from the University of Washington and was appointed to a research associate position at the Joint Institute for the Study for Atmosphere and Ocean. Limpasuvan was named South Carolinas Distinguished Professor in 2001, and he received the 2007 South Carolina Governors Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Scientific Research. More recently, he was selected as CCUs Distinguished Teacher and Scholar in 2009.