Texas Tech University

Storm of Success

Dr. Sandip Pal

Jenna McAlister | 01.18.24

Dr. Sandip Pal, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Texas Tech University (TTU), has received significant support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research in meteorology. 
Since joining Texas Tech in the fall of 2018, Dr. Pal has emerged as a leading figure, spearheading the TTU Boundary Layer Meteorology research group. In a recent triumph, Dr. Pal has been honored with the 2023-24 Collaborative Opportunities for Research Engagement (CORE) Award from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), backed by a support grant from the NSF. 
Under the proposal titled, "Exploring Land-Atmosphere Interaction over Dryland during Morning and Evening Transitions (XLAID-MET)," Dr. Pal directs his attention to the boundary layer – the lowermost part of the atmosphere located adjacent to Earth's surface – features of arid regions, specifically in West Texas. His innovative approach involves developing a comprehensive framework to investigate atmospheric conditions over these regions and enhancing validation methods for numerical weather prediction models.  
Within his recently published journal article , Dr. Pal had seeded the idea of making important steps for investigating errors in weather prediction models, finding, in his words, "the right answer for the right reasons." 
“Drylands are home to around three billion people and globally, drylands occupy approximately 41% of terrestrial land surfaces,” Pal said. “We are making efforts to collect empirical evidence of boundary layer features to investigate the impact of dryland ecosystems on meteorological phenomena and finally improve weather prediction models via diagnosis of the ‘root' of the problems for model errors. To this end, the XLAID-MET project will provide a holistic approach to evaluate weather prediction models using high-resolution observations.”  
The accolades continue for Dr. Pal, as his research proposal has not only earned him the CORE award but also secured the 2023-24 Faculty Travel Grant award (FTG) from the NSF. This grant, dedicated to supporting faculties in minority serving institutions, will enable him to participate in the 104th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting in Baltimore. The selection is a testament to his group's contributions, with 10 presentations scheduled for the upcoming AMS meeting. 
Looking beyond the immediate research goals, Dr. Pal sees this opportunity as a platform to establish and strengthen research collaborations with NCAR, explore possibilities for larger grant proposals, and provide mentorship to students. His commitment to mentorship is evident in the success of his graduate students, Molly Sorensen and Diya Das who are receiving travel grant awards from the AMS and American Geophysical Union (AGU) to attend the AMS annual meeting and AGU Chapman Conference, respectively. 
Dr. Pal is also a member of the AMS committee on measurements and maintains an active role in reviewing manuscripts for various AMS journals. His initiatives and achievements underscore his dedication to advancing various avenues of atmospheric science and the TTU Boundary Layer Meteorology research group in tackling complex challenges in Earth system science. 
For those interested in exploring Dr. Pal's research group further, the link to their page can be found here.