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SIT-Summer Institute in Taiwan
Academic Exchange & Cultural Experience in Taiwan
Remarks by Dr. Wei-Ting Chen (陳維婷) for Matthew Bowers

It is our great honor to host Mr. Mathew (Matt) Bowers, an outstanding phD student in Atmospheric Sciences in Purdue University. He is the first foreign student visiting my research group. During his two-month stay in Taiwan in summer, he not only completed the research tasks we plan to do nicely, but also inspired many faculty members and students in our department. Because of Matt’s visit, we are able to successfully prompt the collaboration with him and his thesis advisor, Prof. Wen-wen Tong at Purdue. We expect and look forward to having more collaboration and mutual visits in the future.

Before Matt’s arrival, we learned that he needs visual aid facilities to assist with his physical limitation. Originally we had some concerns on how to accommodate him the most appropriately, but once he arrived, everyone is amazed by how well he takes care of himself. He soon adapted smoothly to the environment of both the lab and the dormitory. His warm and charming personality quickly won the heart of everyone who ever met him, and he naturally became a member of the group. His careful, methodical, and rigorous work style demonstrates the comprehensive training that he has received from Purdue and his advisor. It is undoubtedly that he has become a great role model and a good friend to all my students.

The major research task for Matt this summer is to carry out analysis of the simulated hourly precipitation by the Super-Parameterized Community Atmospheric Model (SPCAM). Prior to Matt’s visit, we just finished a one-year simulation of SPCAM for the first time, and a fundamental evaluation of the results is needed before we carry out more numerical experiments. One of Matt’s tasks here is to compare the simulated precipitation and radiation field with satellite observed climatology. He efficiently completed this task and produced high quality, comprehensive figures (and animations) that helped us to understand mean, variability and bias of the SPCAM simulations. Upon further discussion with Matt and Prof. Tung, we asked Matt to apply his expertise of signal and statistical analysis to the SPCAM output. He carried out a calculation of the Hurst parameter (an indication of long-range temporal dependence) of the simulated hourly precipitation, and compared that with the Hurst parameter derived from long-term satellite observation. The analyses revealed that the model cannot capture the land-sea contrast of Hurst parameter as in the observation, indicating that the model may have incorrect representation of the convection/precipitation processes, which lead to an overall lacking of long range dependence in simulated precipitation. This is an exciting discovery and will definitely become a key scientific research topic in our future collaboration with their group. During his stay, Matt also helped with the collaboration between Prof. Tung and Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB) for diagnosing and evaluating the CWB global model.

Besides research, Matt is very curious to the culture, natural environment, and food in Taiwan, and he is open and courageous to try out new things. I can see he enjoyed all the new experiences during his stay. He went hiking in the national parks and suburban hills. My students took him to the tea houses, night markets, traditional markets, and temples. Matt also has great talent in language. He quickly learned simple phrases and sentences in Mandarin, and was able to speak them with perfect tone. It is a great inspiration to all of us to see how he embraces and enjoys life to the full extent.

I believe that Matt had a successful and fruitful visit this summer. He executed the research job professionally, created opportunity for future collaboration, and established a great friendship between Purdue University and National Taiwan University. His talent and personality let us believe that he will definitely become a successful scientist. We are pleased and blessed to host such an excellent exchange scholar, and we are thankful to all the sponsors of the SIT exchange program to grant us the opportunity.

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