The Center for Atmospheric Sciences | » Ryan M. McCabe

    • B.S., Physics, Gettysburg College, 2015

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  • Ryan M. McCabe

    I am currently a fourth-year Planetary Science Ph.D. candidate at Hampton University. I earned my B.S. in physics from Gettysburg College in 2015 with minors is mathematics and music.

    My current research interests focus on using cloud-tracking techniques and ground-based observations to gather information about the dynamics of Venus’s atmosphere. In planetary atmospheres, wind speeds can be measured by analyzing the motions of clouds. The clouds act as tracers of the wind movements and thus by measuring their movements one can interpret what the wind field is. A useful diagnosis of a planet’s global atmospheric dynamics is the zonal (east-west) mean wind profile, i.e., mean of the zonal component of the wind vectors. I currently employ a two-dimensional Correlation Imaging Velocimetry (CIV) technique developed at Hampton University. The two-dimensional method calculates the correlation between two-dimensional subwindows within the two images; the subwindows are shifted in the north-south directions as well as in the east-west (creating a search window). I utilize this 2D technique (in addition to manual tracking techniques) for my research projects. I additionally utilize an automatic image pair matching algorithm to find image pairs to feed the CIV algorithm, netting us over 35,000 image pairs across the entire mission of Venus Express. The result is over 50 million wind vectors that are helpin us characterize the wind field of Venus. I then am using this background profile to better isolate features seen in UV for wave analysis.

    While at Gettysburg for my undergraduate career, I completed a Senior Capstone project entitled “Simulated Stratospheric Aerosol (H2SO4) Size Distribution Effects on Total Phase Function and Top of Atmosphere Flux.”

    Project: Analysis of Venusian Zonal Winds Using Venus Express Data

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    We measure the zonal mean wind structure of Venus between 2006 and 2013 in the ultraviolet images captured by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) onboard the ESA Venus Express (VEx) spacecraft which observed Venus’s southern hemisphere. Our wind measurements employ a digital two-dimensional Correlation Imaging Velocimetry (CIV) method to track cloud motions. Our current focus is on understanding […]