Dr. Sarah Woods, Research Scientist

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Tending to CO2 equilibration instrumentation in the engine room of the CCGS Amundsen.

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Science Team for the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment with the NASA Global Hawk UAS

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Prepping to deploy ocean turbulence and imaging instrumentation in the Bahamas.

Experience & Education

2012-Present  Research Scientist at Stratton Park Engineering Company

2010-2012   Postdoctoral Research Associate at the US Naval Research Laboratory

2010  Ph.D. in Applied Marine Physics from RSMAS, University of Miami, FL

2004  B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO

My interests

From oceanography to atmospheric science, my research interests focus on the microphysical properties that drive our interconnected air-sea climate system, including ocean optics, turbulence, air-sea interaction, and cloud microphysics. I am also an avid skier, hiker, runner, horseback rider, painter, and knitter.

How I became a scientist

I’ve always held an interest in the environmental sciences. Growing up in land-locked Colorado, the marine sciences held a particular interest for me, and I’d engage in the subject matter whenever open-subject school projects allowed. With strong skills in math and science, and driven by enjoyment of the challenges of problem solving, I perused a degree in Electrical Engineering for my undergraduate studies, satisfying my curiosities for the environmental sciences through elective courses in oceanography and atmospheric science. My desire to meld my engineering with my interest in environmental sciences and my undergraduate-developed love of optics drove me to pursue a graduate degree in marine physics, investigating ocean optics, turbulence, and air-sea interaction both in the laboratory and in the field. In my current position I’ve added atmospheric science to the mix, utilizing optical instrumentation to conduct field research in cloud microphysics.

How my work benefits society

The many research projects I’ve conducted and contributed to have been key in improving our understanding of a variety of microphysical processes that drive our inter-connected air-sea climate system: the influence of near-surface ocean temperature gradients on oceanic drawdown of atmospheric CO2, the dominant microphysical processes affecting ice development in cumulus clouds, the influence of turbulence on light propagation and imaging underwater, and closing the gap between in situ and remotely sensed monitoring of such microphysical processes.