ESRL Quarterly Newsletter - Spring 2009

Master of Science (and international relations)

Bujidmaa Borkhuu, a Mongolian researcher who worked to strengthen that country’s link in NOAA’s global air sampling network, understands how to network people, too. She will earn a Masters in Atmospheric Sciences this spring from the graduate school where her mentor, ESRL’s Russ Schnell, was the first student.

Borkhuu (Bujee) will graduate this spring from the University of Wyoming’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences. Schnell, now Deputy Director of ESRL’s Global Monitoring Division, graduated in 1974 and has worked more than three decades for NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

Borkhuu’s research at UW deals with a new precision instrument to measure snowfall. More precise snowfall data are needed by weather modelers to improve forecast accuracy, and by water managers and others working on precipitation questions. Borkhuu is comparing data from the new hotplate instrument to conventional snow measurements.

Bujidmaa Borkhuu with University of Wyoming advisor, Jeff Snider.

Bujidmaa Borkhuu with University of Wyoming advisor, Jeff Snider.

“My calibration is working well,” she said, and the instrument is producing accurate data even in high-wind, high-elevation conditions. Borkhuu’s instrument is operating on a 30-meter tower above treeline in the aptly named Snowy Range west of Laramie, Wyo.

In Mongolia, Borkhuu was recruited as a key player in NOAA’s network, ensuring air samples were properly collected and sent to Boulder for analysis at ESRL. The Mongolian program, begun in 1992, had suffered from gaps in documentation and sampling procedures. When Borkhuu took over, data quality improved and maintained its dependability during her 11-year run. “Bujee brought the Mongolian program up to our high standards,” Schnell said. “She also was instrumental in setting up airplane vertical measurements near Ulaanbaatar (the Mongolian capitol),” he said.

Borkhuu knows the importance of data quality assurance better than many, as her mother was a physicist in a laboratory in Ulaanbaatar. As a girl, Borkhuu visited the laboratory and observed her mother’s work developing and calibrating instruments. After her graduation in May, Borkhuu is considering a PhD program, but may also look for a job in research, as a scientist who can collect and analyze precise hydrology data, including snow measurements.

Precision in Ping-Pong seems to come naturally to Borkhuu as well. She has been table tennis champion of UW for two years running, and took second place in a February tournament against other Intermountain West college champs.