The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
Innovative Startups to Watch in the Tech Industry
July 19, 2024

The tech industry is ever-evolving, with startups continually pushing the boundaries of innovation. In 2024, several companies are making waves...

CSU professors to partner on AI, climate research institute

Environmental science and technological advancement may not be something people always think of as being related, but at Colorado State University, they go hand in hand. 

Researchers at CSU are partnering with the University of Oklahoma on a five-year program to work with artificial intelligence and study how AI can be utilized in environmental research, according to a CSU SOURCE article.  


Matthew Rogers, a research associate and education and outreach coordinator for the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, wrote in an email to The Collegian that the program, which has received $20 million from the National Science Foundation, was “rigorously reviewed” before being chosen.

“Research (professor) Imme Ebert-Uphoff has worked with the program lead (professor) Amy McGovern at OU on other projects and (has) co-written a paper with McGovern on the blending of academia, government and private sector interests for AI research,” Rogers wrote in the email. “When the NSF solicitation came along in September of last year, it was a natural match to the work they had already been doing.”

Ebert-Uphoff, who works at CIRA and in the department of electrical and computer engineering, will work on the program alongside multiple CSU researchers, including associate professor of atmospheric science Elizabeth Barnes and computer science professor Chuck Anderson.

The SOURCE article states that CSU will lead two “use-case” studies to “better understand tropical storms and prediction of severe weather events” on multiple time scales.

“Trustworthy AI tools can lead to more trustworthy forecasts and warnings, and that’s a major benefit to society.” -Matthew Rogers, CIRA education and outreach coordinator

Rogers explained that use-case studies are examples of how new AI techniques improve a specific research task. 

“We already have some AI tools that look at certain observations — infrared satellite imagery related to atmospheric water content, for example — that tells us about storm structures, or can predict a zone of severe storm formation,” Rogers wrote. 

According to an article by Renee Cho of State of the Planet, the news blog for The Earth Institute at Columbia University, AI improves weather and extreme event forecasting because in its calculations it incorporates real-world elements, such as atmospheric and ocean dynamics and chemistry.

“Trustworthy AI tools can lead to more trustworthy forecasts and warnings, and that’s a major benefit to society,” Rogers wrote. 

Rogers wrote that AI applications exist that allow researchers to find patterns in signals they could not otherwise see, such as trends in temperature or humidity datasets. Additionally, AI can generate data from outside sources, giving researchers more to work with for modeling and forecasting, Rogers wrote. 


“Just like statistics and experimentation, AI is a tool that lets us do more with the observations we have,” Rogers wrote.

At the institute, Rogers wrote, researchers will work on a very comprehensive timeline, reporting progress to the NSF as they go.

“One of the key components of the institute is broadening AI participation and workforce development,” Rogers wrote. “I’m on a team that is working to bring education and training for AI to the workforce and the classroom; teaching about when and how AI can be applied, … so the next generation workforce is getting what they’ll need for their future careers.” 

Understanding and using AI can be a steep learning curve at first, Rogers wrote. With the AI process, the answers a researcher gets might have more to do with how they ran the algorithm than the underlying science. Rogers wrote that Ebert-Uphoff and Barnes, along with Anderson, have extensive experience helping scientists understand AI.

“Properly-used, trustworthy AI could be a game changer in terms of collecting, analyzing and communicating our research results — that’s true for CIRA, for CSU and for the field in general,” Rogers wrote.

Serena Bettis can be reached at or on Twitter @serenaroseb.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Serena Bettis
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *