Who We Are

AppalAIR is comprised of five faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences, drawing expertise from every science department on campus.

Current Members

Howard Neufeld (Chair) studies the ecophysiological effects of climate change and ozone air pollution on plants. 

Jim Sherman is using remote sensing techniques to measure water vapor and atmospheric aerosols, which are key components to understanding environmental responses to climate change. 

Baker Perry is using surface based and balloon-borne meteorological measurements to study synoptic climatology and orographically driven precipitation in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Rahman Tashakkori will manage data acquisition and manipulation, as well as data visualization for the AppalAIR researchers.

Chris Thaxton investigates planetary boundary layer physics using the WRF/MPAS regional modeltoward a better understanding of the effects of orography on regional meteorology and climatology in the Southern Appalachians, and improved sub-grid scale model parameterization schemes.

Adjunct Members

Patrick Sheridan is an atmospheric scientist with the NOAA-Earth Systems Research Laboratory's Global Monitoring Division (esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aero), located in Boulder, CO. Sheridan's group monitors aerosols at selected regional sites worldwide to study their effects on solar radiation, and hence climate. Sheridan also serves as advisor for our NOAA-GMD Collaborative Aerosol Monitoring Station and played a key role in setting up the AppalAIR air sampling infrastructure according to NOAA-GMD specifications.

Douglas K. Miller: Current projects involve examining the hydrologic cycle at high elevation locations (in collaboration with researchers at Duke University) and examining the predictability of snowfall accumulations (in collaboration with researchers at the National Weather Service, Appalachian State University, and NC State University). Current research projects combine the use of weather observations collected in special data collection campaigns in the field with meso-scale model (WRF) simulations of specific weather events.

Student Members

Taylor Foote

Taylor Foote is an Accelerated Admissions student in the Engineering Physics program and is in her final year as a graduate student at Appalachian State University. She completed a Bachelor's degree in Applied Physics with a concentration in Astronomy. She also has a minor in Mathematics. Taylor's role in the AppalAIR group is maintaining the NOAA system and analyzing data the system has aquired over the past few years. She has worked under Dr. Sherman since May 2018. She has recieved funding from the Physics and Astronomy department's NC Space Grant. She presented her work at National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Appalachian's Celebration of Student Research, and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Global Monitoring Annual Conference (GMAC).

Jordan Greene

Jordan Greene is a senior mathematics major with a concentration in statistics. He returned to Appalachian State University after spending over a decade in management and analytics. Jordan returned to expand his understanding of mathematics and grow his analytical skill set. After being introduced to Dr. Sherman, he volunteered to work with the aerosol data sets to use his analytical background to learn and assist the research group.

Ian Krintz

Ian Krintz has been a part of the physics department since 2012 and joined the AppalAIR aerosols research group in 2013. During his undergraduate years, he investigated the relative influence of synoptic meteorology and source region on aerosol properties and characterized summertime vertical meteorology through radiosonde profiles. His research continued into his graduate years in the Engineering Physics program where he helped design a new generation of handheld sunphotometers for use by Citizen Science personnel, which were deployed in Botswana in 2018 as part of the North American and sub-Saharan African Mountain Aerosol Newwork (NASA-MAN). He continued his education internationally as a dual degree student in the Mechatronics and Smart Technologies program at Management Center Innsbruck, Austria. Now back in the United States, he will complete his thesis, which is focused on evaluation of satellite-based aerosol retrievals over mountainous regions of the United States.

Forrest Ward

Forrest Ward is a rising senior who is majoring in Applied Physics and minoring in Mathematics. He works on the maintenance of the NOAA system. He is responsible for ensuring the system is reading correct measurements, cleaning and servicing impactors, changing filters on the absorption photometers and the TEOM Monitor, calibrating the nephelometers, and performing Leak Checks to make sure air is circulating correctly through the system. He has recieved a Undergraduate Reserach Assistanceship (URA) from the Office of Undergraduate Research at Appalachian State University.

Caleb Worthy

Caleb Worthy is a graduate student in the Engineering Physics program and expects to graduate in May 2020.  He is a part of the Aerosol research group working with sunphotometers collecting aerosol/air quality data with the devices.


Quinlin Riggs was a graduate student in Engineering Physics working with Dr. Thaxton in the Applied Fluids Lab. His primary role on the team was to setup and run the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model on high performance computers, manage the data, and write code (C, Python, NCL, MATLAB) for analysis and comparison of model results to radiosonde, as well as satellite-based and ground-based data. Quinlin interned with the Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center NREIP program.


  1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (esrl.noaa.gov) - AppalAIR is the only participating site east of the Mississippi River in NOAA's global aerosol monitoring network.

  2. Grandfather Mountain (grandfather.com) - AppalAIR monitors the weather station at the summit of Grandfather Mountain.

  3. North Carolina Division of Air Quality (daq.state.nc.us) - The NC Division of Air Quality is assisting AppalAIR in the maintenance and calibration of their trace gas instruments.

  4. MRI: Mountain Research Initiative (mri.scnatweb.ch) - AppalAIR is a member institution of the Mountain Research Initiative, which functions to coordinate and disseminate information about atmospheric research in mountains around the world.

  5. State Climate Office of North Carolina (ncclimate.ncsu.edu) - This office maintains climatic records for the state and supports some of our meteorological monitoring.