Thompson receives Fulbright award for work in South Africa

Anne Thompson, professor of meteorology in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and conduct research at Northwest University Potchoftstroom in South Africa during the 2010-11 academic year, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board.

Thompson will conduct research on South African air quality and its relationship to developments in climate change. In the past several years, air quality over South Africa has moved on to the national research agenda because aerosol and ozone increases driven by rapid growth in Gauteng Mpumalanga region pose two threats:  human and agricultural health, and climate modification. South Africa is developing an Air Quality Information System to evaluate and distribute data collected from monitoring sites and regional campaigns. New measurements are being made by a consortium of university, private and government researchers. Thompson's grant will support collaboration and several organizations to address three issues vital to South Africa to include: South African Weather Service high-accuracy ozone provides with the Southern Hemisphere Additional Ozonesonde Network will be analyzed for trends, 1990-2008; comparisons of ozone classifications will be conducted; and nitrogen dioxide and ozone measurements will be taken with a Pandora spectrometer.

Thompson is one of about 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholars program in 2010-11. She is among four faculty in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences to be awarded this honor, including Kevin Furlong, professor of geosciences (2002 Australia); Chunshan Song, professor of fuel science and director of the EMS Energy Institute (2004 United Kingdom); and Melissa Wright, associate professor of geography (2006 Mexico).  Penn State ranks among the top three universities that receives Fulbright grants on an annual basis.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated August 12, 2010