Sarah Tessendorf

Sarah is a Project Scientist with the Hydrometeorological Applications Program in the Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Sarah's general area of research is in cloud physics, focusing on aerosol impacts on clouds and precipitation from both observational and modeling approaches. She also works to improve and validate cloud microphysics model parameterizations using observations from radars, microwave radiometers, raindrop disdrometers, and other surface measurements. Sarah has studied topics from hail formation and lightning in severe storms to cloud seeding effects on rain and snow formation and atmospheric conditions that lead to aircraft icing.

Some of her unique experiences include involvement with the UCAR SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science) program, initially as a student protégé, then as a Steering Committee member, and currently as a mentor. Through her involvement with the SOARS program, she became interested in working with students and education and outreach. To pursue this interest, she has completed graduate coursework in multicultural curriculum development, as well as has a variety of experiences leading workshops for students and science teachers, including a spending few years working for The GLOBE Program. Sarah has also been an instructor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she taught their introductory course on weather and the atmosphere.


  • –present
    Project Scientist, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research