General Lab Information

Aryeh Drager

Research Associate, EE Cloud Process, Environmental and Climate Sciences Department

Aryeh Drager

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Environmental and Climate Sciences Department
Bldg. 490D, Room 2-103
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-3280

Preferred Gender Pronouns (PGPs): he, him, his

As a graduate student at Colorado State University (CSU), I explored several research topics relating to the numerical modeling of atmospheric convection, with a primary focus on convective cold pools. For my M.S. work, I developed a cold pool identification and tracking algorithm for cloud-resolving model and large-eddy simulations. I used this algorithm in the first part of my Ph.D. work to investigate the influence of soil moisture on convective cold pool properties in a series of large-eddy simulations. During this investigation, I noticed an unexpected trend in accumulated rainfall as a function of the initial soil moisture. This finding inspired the second part of my Ph.D. work, which examined the interplay between soil moisture, vegetation, the boundary layer, clouds, and precipitation processes that produced this rainfall trend.

Following my time at CSU, I worked for two years as a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I taught undergraduate meteorology courses.

Research | Education | Appointments | Publications | Awards

Research Activities

Selected current work:

  • Investigating the effects of "cold puddles" (rainfall that has been intercepted by the ground) on convective cold pools over land. See poster here.
  • Analyzing interrelationships between soil moisture, cloud cover, and precipitation in observational data collected during the DOE ARM TRacking Aerosol Convection interactions ExpeRiment (TRACER) and related field campaigns that took place in the Houston, TX area during Summer 2022.

Field campaign involvement:

  • Forecaster, DOE ARM TRACER, 2022
  • Member of Operations Team, Colorado State University Convective Cloud Outflows and UpDrafts Experiment (C3LOUD-Ex), 2016 and 2017

Graduate research:

  • Developed an algorithm for identifying the boundaries of convective cold pools in cloud-resolving numerical model simulations.
  • Designed and performed idealized numerical experiments using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) on high-performance computing platforms.
    • Analyzed these simulations in order to assess the influences of several environmental and surface properties on convective cold pool development.
    • Examined the physical processes governing the joint influences of soil moisture and vegetation on cloud formation and rainfall accumulation in a tropical continental environment.
  • Helped to develop methods for estimating vertical air velocity from the GPS-derived ascent rates of instrumented weather balloons that had been launched into supercell thunderstorms during the C3LOUD-Ex field campaign. Reviewed existing literature, coordinated supplemental balloon launches during quiescent nighttime conditions, and analyzed the resulting data.
  • Investigated the effects of the "slope" of slantwise convection on the amount of dry symmetric instability (slantwise CAPE) that is "released" by the convection (i.e., converted into kinetic energy). Idealized numerical experiments were performed using a mesoscale atmospheric model that I had coded from scratch.

Undergraduate research experiences:

  • Honors Thesis Research (Physics), Dartmouth College, 2012
    • Project: Using Multimedia Pre-Lecture Assignments to Improve the Introductory Physics Experience
  • CMMAP Summer Internship (NSF REU Site in Earth System Science), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 2012
    • Project: CloudSat-derived Morphology of Deep Convection over Tropical Oceans
  • NOAA Hollings Scholar Research Internship, Hurricane Research Division, Miami, FL, 2011
    • Project: Diagnosing Vertical Wind Shear Impacts in the HWRFx Model
  • James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars Research Assistant, Stable Isotope Lab (Earth Sciences), Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, 2010-2011
    • Collected precipitation and water vapor samples for isotope analysis


Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science, 2020
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Dissertation Advisor: Susan C. van den Heever
Dissertation Title: Response of Convective Cold Pools and Precipitation to Changes in Soil Moisture

M.S. in Atmospheric Science, 2016
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Thesis Advisor: Susan C. van den Heever
Thesis Title: Convective Cold Pools: Characterization and Soil Moisture Dependence

B.A. in Engineering Physics (minor in Applied Mathematics), Magna cum Laude, with departmental honors, 2012
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Thesis Advisor: Robyn M. Millan
Thesis Title: Using Multimedia Pre-Lecture Assignments to Improve the Introductory Physics Experience

Professional Appointments

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Brookhaven National Laboratory, 2022 - present
  • Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2020 - 2022
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Colorado State University, 2013 - 2020

Selected Publications

  • Drager AJ, Grant LD, van den Heever SC (2022) A Nonmonotonic Precipitation Response to Changes in Soil Moisture in the Presence of Vegetation. Journal of Hydrometeorology.
  • van den Heever SC et al (including Drager AJ) (2021) The Colorado State University Convective CLoud Outflows and UpDrafts Experiment (C3LOUD-Ex). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 102:E1283–E1305.
  • Marinescu PJ, Kennedy PC, Bell MM, Drager AJ, Grant LD, Freeman SW, van den Heever SC (2020) Updraft Vertical Velocity Observations and Uncertainties in High Plains Supercells Using Radiosondes and Radars. Monthly Weather Review 148:4435–4452.
  • Drager AJ, Grant LD, van den Heever SC (2020) Cold Pool Responses to Changes in Soil Moisture. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 12:e2019MS001922.
  • Drager AJ, van den Heever SC (2017) Characterizing convective cold pools. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 9:1091–1115.
  • Igel MR, Drager AJ, van den Heever SC (2014) A CloudSat cloud object partitioning technique and assessment and integration of deep convective anvil sensitivities to sea surface temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119:10515–10535.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2021-2022: Open Educational Resources Seed Grant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Spring 2018: Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, Colorado State University
  • Spring 2017: Herbert Riehl Memorial Award for year’s best M.S. publication (department-level) for Characterizing Convective Cold Pools
  • 2013-2018: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
  • 2013-2014: AMS Graduate Fellowship
  • December 2012: Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA), AGU Fall Meeting 2012
  • 2012-2013: Two citations for outstanding work as a teaching assistant, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College
  • 2011-2012: Five citations for distinguished academic performance from professors in various departments, Dartmouth College
  • 2010-2012: NOAA Hollings Scholarship
  • 2008-2012: Endowed Scholarship (for selected students receiving need-based financial aid), Dartmouth College
Aryeh Drager

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Environmental and Climate Sciences Department
Bldg. 490D, Room 2-103
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-3280

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