Professor receives NSF grant to investigate Gravity Wave-Airglow Interactions

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded Tai-Yin Huang, professor of physics at Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV), a $374,584 grant through its Aeronomy Program to work on collaborative research investigating gravity wave-airglow interactions in multiple emission layers.

head shot of Tai-Yin Haung

Tai-Yin Huang, professor of physics, Penn State Lehigh Valley

Credit: Penn State

This project aims to study oxygen airglow, gravity wave-airglow interactions, wave dynamics, and energetics in multiple airglow layers in the Andes region with numerical simulations, ground-based and space-borne observations near the Andes Lidar Observatory (ALO) in Cerro Pachón, Chile. 

This is a collaborative project that involves researchers from Penn State Lehigh Valley, Penn State University Park, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC), University of La Serena, Chile, and ALO. Huang is the principal investigator (PI) of this project and team lead of the IDEA (Interactions, Dynamics, and Energetics in the Atmosphere) team. As the PI of this collaborative project, the team has recently received NSF grants in total of $478,533 ($374,584 to PSU-LV and $103,949 to UIUC). This three-year grant will be used to support a graduate student at University Park that Huang will co-mentor with the Co-PI, Julio Urbina, and several undergraduate research assistants at Penn State Lehigh Valley.     

Huang has received several NSF research awards throughout her career, including the most recent one that will allow her to mentor students working on the sponsored research projects in space physics.

“This research is important because we can gain a better understanding of the underlying physical processes and energy budget in the middle atmosphere. Global general circulation models require a better representation of gravity waves in order to improve model forecasting accuracy,” Huang said. “Thus, understanding gravity wave’s origin, evolution, and its effects on the atmosphere is important to continually improve global circulation models.  Monitoring airglow variations has become a useful diagnostic tool to better understand the state of the atmosphere and the dynamical and chemical processes.  We will strategically investigate gravity wave-airglow interactions with time-dependent, nonlinear, wave-dynamics, airglow-chemistry numerical models in coordination with multi-instrumental ground-based and space-borne measurements.”

Huang was born in Taiwan. She came to the United States for her graduate studies and earned her doctoral degree in physics from the University of Cincinnati. She received an international postdoctoral fellowship from CRESS at York University in Canada after she graduated. She then joined Clemson University as a research associate and later received a CEDAR postdoctoral fellowship award from the NSF.

Huang was a Penn State Research Collaboration Fellow affiliated with the Penn State Institutes of Energy and Environment and a visiting professor of National Cheng Kung University, sponsored by the National Science Council of Taiwan. She is a two-time award recipient of the Penn State Lehigh Valley Outstanding Research and/or Creative Accomplishment Award. Just recently, Huang was elected as a Fellow of International Engineering and Technology Institute. She was awarded a patent from the United States and Taiwan. She currently serves on Commission for Women and University Faculty Senate at Penn State.  

“We are honored that the NSF has decided to support Tai-Yin’s research,” said Douglas Hochstetler, interim director of academic affairs, Penn State Lehigh Valley. “This will provide students with meaningful undergraduate research opportunities as well which is an added benefit.”


Dennille Schuler

Public Relations Specialist
Penn State Lehigh Valley

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