Joanne Simpson

This news is now several weeks old, but somehow I forgot to mention it here. Joanne Simpson, a pioneer of tropical meteorology, and specifically a giant in the business of clouds, died 4 March 2010. There's a decent obituary via USA Today [LINK]. That obit also points out one of the stories that I've heard several times, which was that Simpson wanted to study meteorology, Rossby told her to study issues related to tropical clouds saying it would be "an excellent problem for a little girl to work on because it is not very important, and few people are interested in." There's a better piece, with a fantastic photo, on the NASA site [LINK]. In the day or so following her death, the tropical meteorology community was aflutter; the obituaries and news stories aren't exaggerating Simpson's importance to meteorology (and climate science more generally), she truly changed the way people think about the atmosphere and about clouds.

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