Severe weather research wins Murphy ‘Researcher of the Semester’

ULM Hawkeye

Todd Murphy, assistant professor of atmospheric science has been named the spring 2020 Researcher of the Semester. The honor is presented by the ULM Office of Sponsored Programs and Research and the Research Council.

Murphy is an active researcher in severe weather, especially in the southeast, and is considered one of ULM’s leading researchers. Murphy’s studies allow him to pursue improvements in severe weather forecasting and updating ULM’s weather instrumentation, software, and technology.

His current project is thanks to a $274,875 grant from the National Science Foundation Major Research Infrastructure Program, which allowed the university to obtain a state-of-the-art portable wind LIDAR instrument and equipment. LIDAR (Light Detecting and Range) uses lasers to measure components of the wind before a storm. Data on the direction, speed, and other variables of the wind can lead to better predicting of storms. ULM is one of five universities in the country with portable LIDAR.

Murphy operates and maintains ULM’s Doppler weather radar and other weather instruments. The National Weather Service credited ULM’s Doppler for helping save lives by indicating a tornado was approaching Ruston last April.

Murphy has received funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2018, Murphy received the Endowed Professorship in Geosciences and the Outstanding Faculty Award  for Teaching.