It is with sadness that I report on the passing of Joanne Simpson. Joanne is a giant in the science of weather and climate.
I wrote of my perspective of her legacy in the article
Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Joanne Simpson — An ideal model of mentorship. AMS Meteorological Monographs, Vol. 29, No. 15, 17-24.
Tao, W.-K., J. Halverson, M. LeMone, R. Adler, M. Garstang, R. Houze Jr., R.A. Pielke Sr., and W. Woodley, 2003: The research of Dr. Joanne Simpson: Fifty years investigating hurricanes, tropical clouds and cloud systems. AMS Meteorological Monographs, Vol. 29, No. 15, 1-15.
Her achievements have been many. These include not only her scientific expertise and contributions, but also the model of mentorship which she promoted. She insulated and protected her staff and students from the conflicts of higher management, and dealt with such bureaucratic activities herself. She was a tireless fighter for her students and staff. This permitted an optimal environment for professional growth.
In my Pielke 2003 article, with respect to her research contributions, I wrote
“The richness of Joanne Simpson’s research accomplishments are best appreciated by tracking our current knowledge of the atmosphere to where these concepts were first discussed in the peer-reviewed literature. Her breadth of contribution is impressive and ranges from the cumulus cloud to global scale. Early in her career, she recognized the critical role of cumulus clouds in the earth’s atmosphere, and now she continues to build on her innovative and broad expertise in such programs as the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM; Kummerow et al. 1998) and the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE; Halverson et al. 1999). When one uncovers the origin of many of our most basic concepts in atmospheric science, it is quite impressive how much of this knowledge is founded in her original work!”
She will be missed. The world is better because she lived among us.