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Adrian Diaz-Fortich Successfully Defends Thesis to Become Second NOAA CESSRST Fellow to Complete PhD

Posted on August 12, 2020

Adrian Diaz-Fortich Successfully Defends Thesis to Become Second NOAA CESSRST Fellow to Complete PhD

Adrian Diaz-Fortich successfully defended his doctoral thesis on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, to become the second NOAA CESSRST fellow to earn his PhD in 2020 as well as the second to present his defense remotely due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a Cohort III NOAA EPP/MSI funded graduate fellow at the Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technology (CESSRST); NOAA CESSRST is a NOAA EPP/MSI funded program under award NA16SEC4810008. “The NOAA CESSRST program has provided me with essential support to pursue a doctorate degree in my field of interest,” Dr. Diaz-Fortich remarks “It has given me the chance to work on very exciting research projects doing laser remote sensing, which I feel extremely passionate about.” Dr. Diaz-Fortich will receive his degree in Electrical Engineering from The City College of New York (CCNY).

Dr. Diaz-Fortich wrote his thesis "Innovative Applications of Laser Remote Sensing of Gases, Aerosols and Wind" based on his research on the spatial distribution of aerosols over New York City and the emission sources that contribute to the increase of pollution in the metropolitan area. In his research, he used a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensor to perform horizontal scanning measurements, looking at different regions in New York City.

Dr. Diaz-Fortich explains “Using this technology, we were able to generate aerosol distribution maps and observe its time evolution, which allowed us to capture fast aerosol dynamics such as the movement of aerosol fronts.” He has demonstrated capabilities to remotely monitor local emissions sources over large distances, such as smokestack emissions from fossil fuel power plants.

On his NOAA Experiential Research and Training Opportunity (NERTO) internship, Dr. Diaz-Fortich comments “I think NERTO internships are the greatest part of the CESSRST program as one gets to experience what it would be like to join the NOAA workforce and do meaningful work at the same time. My NERTO was one of the best and most enriching experiences of my life. My NOAA mentor, Dr. W. Alan Brewer, was very supportive and always took the time to help me get up to speed with my project. Moreover, I was able to interact with many great NOAA scientists from different backgrounds and got to learn a lot from their work and experiences”.

Dr. Diaz-Fortich worked with CESSRST faculty affiliate and academic advisor, Prof. Fred Moshary, and NOAA mentor, Dr. W. Alan Brewer, NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, who has supported him throughout his doctoral program. Dr. Brewer also served on his PhD thesis committee. Dr. Diaz-Fortich remarks “I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to them for taking me under their wing and for everything I learned from them”.

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