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Atmospheric Science

College of Engineering and Applied Science

Robert D. Kelly, Professor

Room 6072, Engineering Building
Office Phone: (307) 766-4955
Fax: (307) 766-2635

My primary area of interest is boundary layer meteorology, including aircraft-measured fluxes over different ecosystems and application to wind turbine inflows. Other areas of activity have included cloud physics and airborne radar remote sensing. Teaching both undergraduate and graduate classes is an area of long-term accomplishments.


  • B.A., University of Wyoming, 1973
  • M.S., Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, 1978
  • Ph.D., Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 1982

Research Statement

Dr. Kelly’s primary research area for the last 20 years has been in the atmospheric boundary layer. Areas of activity have included aircraft instrumentation; eddy fluxes of sensible heat, latent heat, and momentum over various ecosystems in the U.S. and Canada; and lower boundary layer winds and turbulence with application to wind energy production and wind-flow patterns in complex terrain. Dr. Kelly has also been a member of the group that developed the 3-mm Doppler polarimetric radar for airborne use, and some of the first field applications of that radar.

Current Projects/Research Areas

  • Atmospheric Boundary Layer
  • Airborne Measurements
  • Wind Energy Production


  • Samuel Hakes Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award

Selected Publications

  • Kelly, R. D., Hunt, E. R., Reiners, W. A., Smith, W. K., and Welker, J. M. (2002), “Relationships between daytime carbon dioxide uptake and absorbed photosynthetically active radiation for three mountain/plains ecosystems,” J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 107, No. D14, DOI 10.1029/2001JD001181.
  • Smith, W. K., Kelly, R. D., Welker, J. M., Fahnestock, J., Reiners, W. A., and Hunt, E. R. (2003), “Leaf-to-aircraft measurements of net CO2 exchange in a sagebrush steppe ecosystem,” J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 108, No.D3, DOI:10.1029/2002JD002512.
  • Hunt, E. R., Kelly, R. D., Smith, W. K., Fahnestock, J. T., and Reiners, W. A. (2003), “Estimation of carbon sequestration by combining remote sensing and net ecosystem exchange data for northern mixed-grass prairie and sagebrush-steppe ecosystems,” Environmental Management.
  • Laursen, S. C., Reiners, W. A., Kelly, R. D., and Gerow, K. G. (2007), “Pollen dispersal by Artemisia tridentata (Asteracceae),” Internatl. J. Biometeor., Vol. 51, No. 6, pp. 465-481.
  • Reed, D., Ewers, B., Pendall, E., Frank, J., and Kelly, R. (2016), “Bark beetle tree mortality alters stand energy budgets due to water budget changes.” Submitted to Theoret. and Appl. Clim..
  • Reed, D., Ewers, B., Pendall, E., K. Naithani, H. Kwon, and Kelly, R. (2016), “Canopy decoupling across an elevation gradient of sagebrush semi-arid ecosystems.” Submitted to Journal of Arid Environments.
  • Juliano, T., R. D. Kelly, W. Lindberg (2016), “Modeling and observational evidence of katabatic winds forming in environments of strong synoptic winds.” To be submitted to J. Appl. Meteor. Clim.
  • Tripp, A., R. D. Kelly, T. Parish (2016), “The effects of terrain representation in WRF on modeling winds over complex terrain.” In preparation.

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