ASR Scientist L. Ruby Leung Named a DOE Distinguished Scientist Fellow

Published: 28 October 2021
Ruby Leung is one of the three DOE National Laboratory scientists named as DOE Office of Science Distinguished Scientist Fellows.
Ruby Leung is one of the three DOE National Laboratory scientists named as DOE Office of Science Distinguished Scientist Fellows. Photo is by Andrea Starr, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The U.S. Department of Energy has named atmospheric scientist L. Ruby Leung of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) a DOE Office of Science Distinguished Scientist Fellow.

Leung, who serves as the chief scientist of DOE’s Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) project, has also been active in Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility campaigns and Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program studies over the years.

She was principal investigator for the 2015 ARM Cloud Aerosol Precipitation Experiment (ACAPEX). Measurements collected from ACAPEX have been used to characterize ice nucleating particles that trigger the formation of ice crystals in cold clouds and to understand aerosol-cloud interactions that influence winter storms. And Leung is on the core science team for the ARM/ASR-supported Surface Atmosphere Integrated Field Laboratory (SAIL) campaign for which she aims to facilitate the use of field data to improve modeling of mountain hydroclimates.

The Distinguished Scientist Fellow honor is awarded to National Laboratory scientists with outstanding records of achievement. It provides each Fellow with $1 million over three years to support activities that develop, sustain, and promote scientific and academic excellence in DOE Office of Science research. Leung was cited for “pioneering new approaches in climate modeling, the discovery of unexpected impacts of regional climate change, and understanding extreme weather events and their future changes.”

“I am deeply honored to be named a Distinguished Scientist Fellow,” says Leung in a recent PNNL feature story.

“I am humbled by any award for work that I believe is essential,” adds Leung, a Battelle Fellow who DOE in 2016 named as the chief climate scientist to lead the Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy project. “Since I joined PNNL, I have been very fortunate to have the Department of Energy support my research interests, and for that, I am very thankful.”

A virtual ceremony was held on October 20, 2021, in celebration of the outstanding accomplishments of the 2021 Distinguished Scientist Fellows. Read the Office of Science announcement.

“These Distinguished Scientist Fellows are advancing the science behind some of our nation’s greatest challenges, from understanding the impact of climate change to developing the bioeconomy and pursuing fusion as a future energy source,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “I look forward to their continued success in achieving impactful results as they also work to inspire and guide a diverse new generation of scientists.”

The DOE honor comes just weeks after the American Meteorological Society (AMS) announced that Leung will receive the 2022 Hydrologic Sciences Medal for, according to the citation, “ingenious, groundbreaking contributions which enhance the modeling of land-atmosphere interactions and the hydroclimate.”

The PNNL feature tells the story of Leung’s early interest in science and her lifelong penchant for asking questions. “I was one of those kids in science who always was curious. And then you can find the answers,” says Leung. “Of course, after you answer one question, then you have the next question. It’s a quest. A quest for thinking deeper and trying to get to the truth.”

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Author: Mike Wasem, Staff Writer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, through the Biological and Environmental Research program as part of the Atmospheric System Research program.