Brenda Dolan


My name is Brenda Dolan and I'm a research scientist focusing on cloud microphysics, dynamics, and precipitation processes. I grew up in Littleton, CO surrounded by beautiful mountains and a wide variety of weather, from blizzards to spring thunderstorms to tornados and hail. I received my Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2009. My research focuses on precipitation and microphysical processes using polarimetric radar, satellites, disdrometers, and other observations. My research interests include radar analysis and algorithms, observational integration and validation of cloud-resolving models, precipitation processes, and cloud physics. I am excited to be part of the INCUS satellite mission team, focusing on convective mass flux and cloud dynamics. I am an expert in polarimetric radar, having developed one of the first hydrometeor identification algorithms for short-wavelength radars (X- and C-band). Additionally, I have worked with a wide variety of radars from around the world including ground, ship, and satellite-based radars from Ka- to S-band. I especially enjoy field work and have participated in over 10 field projects as a radar or mission scientist. Most recently I spent a month on the island of Yonaguni, Japan with the SEA-POL radar during the PRECIP campaign, and three weeks on the R/V Sally Ride in the west Pacific collecting data for the PISTON and CAMP2Ex Campaigns. I work at the interface of cloud resolving models and observations, using them synergistically to improve observational retrievals and better model representation of physical processes. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, skiing, hiking, camping, or taking flying adventures with my pilot husband and two kids.


Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2009
MS, Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2005
BS, Physics, Colorado State University, 2002

Current Postion

Research Scientist III, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

Current groups:
Cloud Processes Group (Susan van den Heever)
Tropical Weather and Climate Group (Michael Bell)
Mesoscale and Climate Group (Kristen Rasmussen)

Previous groups:
Radar Meteorology Group (Steven Rutledge)

Select Publications

For a full list, please see Google Scholar

Dolan, B. , P. Kollias, S. C. van den Heever, K. L. Rasmussen, M. Oue, E. Luke, K. Lamer, B. P. Terserras, Z. Haddad, G. Stephens, and V. Chandrasekar, 2023: Time resolved reflectivity measurements of convective clouds. Geo. Res. Let. 50 (22), e2023GL105723.

Dolan, B. , S. Saleeby, S. Rutledge, S. van den Heever, and K. Van Valkenburg, 2023: A statistical framework for evaluating rain microphysics in model simulations and disdrometer observations. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 128.

Saleeby, S. M., B. Dolan, J. Bukowski, K. Van Valkenburg, S. C. van den Heever, and S. A. Rutledge, 2022: Assessment and limitations of parameterized raindrop breakup in numerical models of cloud microphysics. J. Atmos. Sci.. 79 (11), 2949-2963.

Dolan, B., S. A. Rutledge, and K. Rasmussen, 2022: Multiscale interactions contributing to enhanced orographic precipitation in landfalling frontal systems over the Olympic peninsula. Mon. Wea. Rev. 150 (6), 1207-1231.

Chudler, K., S. A. Rutledge, and B. Dolan, 2022: Unique radar observations of large raindrops in tropical warm rain during PISTON. Mon. Wea. Rev. 150 (10), 2719-1736.

Matsui, T., B. Dolan, T. Iguchi, S.A. Rutledge, W. Tao, and S. Lang, 2020: Polarimetric Radar Characteristics of Simulated and Observed Intense Convective Cores for a Midlatitude Continental and Tropical Maritime Environment. J. Hydrometeor., 21, 501–517,

Rutledge, S. A., V. Chandrasekar, B. R. Fuchs, J. George, F. Junyent, B. Dolan, P. C. Kennedy, K. Drushka, 2019: SEA-POL goes to sea. Bull. Amer. Meteorology, 100, 2285-2301,

Dolan, B., B. Fuchs, S. A. Rutledge, E. Barnes, E. Thompson, 2018: Primary modes of global rain drop-size distribution variability. J. Atmos. Sci. DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-17-0242.1, 75, 1453-1476.

Matsui, T., B. Dolan, S. A. Rutledge, W.-K. Tao, T. Iguchi, J. Barnum, and S. Lang, 2018: POLARRIS: POLArimetric Radar Retrieval and Instrument Simulator. J. Geophys. Res.: Atmos., 124.8, 4634-4657.

Thompson, E. J., S. A. Rutledge, B. Dolan, M. Thurai, V. Chandrasekar, 2018: Dual-polarization radar rainfall estimation over tropical oceans. J. Appl. Meteorology., 57, 755-775.

Thompson, E. J., S. A. Rutledge, B. Dolan, and M. Thurai, 2015: Drop size distributions of convective and stratiform rain over the equatorial Indian and West Pacific oceans. J. Atmos. Sci., 72, 4091-4125.

Dolan, B., S. A. Rutledge, S. Lim, V. Chandrasekar, and M. Thurai, 2013: A robust C-band hydrometeor identification algorithm and application to a long term polarimetric radar data set. J. Appl. Meteor., 52, 2162-2186.

Dolan, B. and S.A. Rutledge, 2010: Using CASA IP1 to Diagnose Kinematic and Microphysical Interactions in a Convective Storm. Mon. Wea. Rev., 138, 1613-1634.

Dolan, B., and S. A. Rutledge, 2009: A theory-based hydrometeor identification algorithm for X-band polarimetric radars. J. Oceanic Atmos. Technol., 46, 1196-1213, 10.1175/2009JTECHA1208.1.

Dolan, B. A. and S. A. Rutledge, 2007: An Integrated display and analysis methodology for multi-variable radar data. J. Appl. Meteor., 46, 1196-1213.


Editor, AMS Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Member, AMS Radar Meteorology STAC
Past Chair, AGU Hydrology Section Precipitation Technical Committee
Co-Chair, NASA Particle Size Distribution Working Group

GitHub Repository:

Field Projects

2024 TIME SLICE CO, Lead Scientist, Northern Colorado
2022 PRECIP, Radar Scientist, SEA-POL, Yonaguni Island, Japan
2019 PISTON, Radar Scientist, SEA-POL, R/V Sally Ride, Western Pacific
2015 OLYMPEX, Radar Scientist, NPOL, Moclips, Washington
2014 IPHEx, Mission Scientist, Ashville, North Carolina
2013 IFloodS, Radar Scientist, NPOL, Iowa
2012 DC3, Senior Radar Scientist, CHILL, Greeley, CO
2011 DYNAMO, Radar Scientist, SPOL, Gan Island, Maldives
2011 MC3E, Radar Scientist, NPOL, Ponca City, OK
2010 LPVEx, Lead Scientist, Helsinki, Finland
2007 ISPA, Assistant Scientist, Storm Peak Lab, Steamboat Springs, CO
2004 NAME, Radar Scientist SPOL Radar, and Ship Scientist ARM Altair, Mazatlan Mexico
2002 CRYSTAL-FACE, Radar Scientist, NPOL, Everglades, Florida

Last Updated: 3/2024