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Renee Duff came to us as a senior at Millersville University graduating in meteorology meteorology with a minor in mathematics. Her research interests are snowstorms, severe thunderstorms and weather radar. She worked with Professor Susan van den Heever this summer studying pyrocumulus clouds and the cloud condensation nuclei effets.

Pyrocumulus clouds form over wildfires when hot, smoke-filled air rises, cools and condenses. These clouds have higher cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations, which affect their microphysical and electrical properties. A study from a recent fire outside of Fort Collins showed pyrocumluls produce more lightning. Renee investigated the microphysical differences between low CCN "clean" clouds and high CCN pyrocumulus. She notes that, "Understanding pyrocumulus electrification could help with predictions of rapid wildfire growth" and that "pyrocumulus clouds impact the radiative and chemical characteristics of the upper troposphere".


Here is Renee's research poster, Effects of wildfire pollution on the microphysical and electrical properties of pyrocumulus.


Renee calls Hampstead, Maryland her home town. Her hobbies are cooking, reading, exercising, watching football & baseball, and exploring local restaurants and parks which she got to do during her stay.