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MIDN Densmore selected as a Trident Scholar for Academic Year 2017-2018

  POSTED ON: Friday, April 21, 2017 11:59 AM by Alexander R. Davies

MIDN 2/C Casey Densmore, an honors oceanography major, is one of thirteen students selected as a Trident Scholar for the 2017-2018 Academic Year. His project is titled, “Exploring the Propagation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) across the Maritime Continent,” and his research advisors are Dr. Bradford Barrett (pictured below working with MIDN Densmore) and CAPT Elizabeth Sanabia, USN of the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Oceanography Department.

MIDN Casey Densmore and Prof Brad Barrett study MJO.

The MJO is an anomalous atmospheric wave that propagates eastward along the equator and circumnavigates the Earth every 30 to 60 days.  The MJO has been shown to modulate weather patterns across the global. As part of his Trident Scholar work, MIDN Densmore will investigate why in some cases the MJO is associated with anomalously strong wind and precipitation over the Maritime Continent (a region in Southeast Asia including Indonesia and the Philippines), while in other cases the impacts from the MJO are barely noticeable. The meteorological community is currently studying the processes that differ between these events.

Thus far, MIDN Densmore has divided MJO events that occurred between 1980 and 2015 across the Maritime Continent into four categories: propagating, strengthening, weakening, or non-propagating.  MIDN Densmore then assessed the atmospheric conditions associated with events in each category. He will present work to date at the afternoon Poster Session during the fifth annual USNA Capstone Day on April 26, 2017. “My research is just beginning,” MIDN Densmore said, “and I am excited to continue it.  I am also extremely grateful to Dr. Barrett and CAPT Sanabia.  They have dedicated large amounts of time to helping me and I could not have done this without their support.”

MIDN Densmore has been interested in weather for as long as he can remember. He recalls that, “growing up I was obsessed with the movie Twister and I always preferred severe thunderstorms over clear skies. In high school, I followed my passion for meteorology with science fair projects studying tornadoes in an open-air simulator I built. I attended the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) twice in high school, and received awards from the American Meteorological Society (AMS) both times.” Once at USNA, MIDN Densmore took advantage of room in his schedule to take additional courses, and that helped pave the way for his independent research.  Despite his strong interest in meteorology, MIDN Densmore was admittedly unfamiliar with the MJO when considering possible research projects. “Although I was unfamiliar with the MJO at that time,” MIDN Densmore said, “I am now extremely interested in this field of research. Understanding and accurately predicting MJO activity can have socioeconomic influences on people in the region, strategic influences for military operations, and more. Having the potential to contribute to those developments is exciting and humbling.”

MIDN Densmore on TROPIC internship 2016.

MIDN Densmore’s first interaction with the Oceanography Department was through the Yard Patrol (YP) Oceanography Cruise Summer Training Program as a rising youngster. During that program, midshipmen learned how to use the scientific method during a month-long sampling project along the Severn River.  Since that time, MIDN Densmore chased tornadoes on the Severe Weather In-Field Training (SWIFT) internship and flew with the U.S. Air Forecast 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Hurricane Hunters) through Hurricane Matthew on the Training and Research in Oceanic and Atmospheric Processes (TROPIC) internship (pictured on the right in the picture above). In addition, MIDN Densmore presented a research poster with Dr. Barrett at the Subseasonal to Seasonal Extreme Weather and Climate Workshop in 2016 and at the AMS Annual Meeting in 2017. MIDN Densmore is picture in front of his research poster at the AMS meeting at the top of this article.

Instructor Andrew Keppel and Associate Professor Bradford S. Barrett of the USNA Oceanography Department contributed to this article, along with MIDN 2/C Casey Densmore.

Category: Academics, General Interest, Midshipmen

Press Contact

Alexander R. Davies
Oceanography Department, USNA
  adavies@usna.edu
  410-293-6565