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Dr. Mike Larsen
Associate Professor
Office: RHSC 317
Lab: RHSC 392
Phone: (843) 953-2128


Full CV: (PDF)

Dr. Larsen's Spring 2022 Schedule: (PDF)

Accomplishments and History of Larsen Lab

Internal Lab Materials here

CofC has New Programs in Atmospheric Physics and Meteorology!!! Check them out here

Mike Larsen

- Current Courses (FALL 2021) -

General Physics I (PHYS 111, Sections 1-2)
General Physics I Lab (PHYS 111L, Section 1)
Cloud and Precipitation Physics (PHYS 459, Section 1)
Physics Problem Solving (PHYS 481, Section 1)
Characterization of Aerosol Surface Morphology with an AFM (PHYS 390, Section 3) [Individual Enrollment, no web page]
Evaluation of Inexpensive Commercial Rain Sensors (PHYS 397, Section 1) [Incdividual Enrollment, no web page]
Preliminary Investigations into Ice Nucleation (PHYS 397, Section 4) [Individual Enrollment, no web page]
Using Disdrometer Data to Validate and Calibrate a MRR (PHYS 420, Section 3) [Indiidual Enrollment, no web page]

-Research -

I do research in an area broadly defined as atmospheric microphysics. In short, I study stuff in the sky smaller than a deck of playing cards. For most of my career, this has focused on studying small particles in the sky where the particle-like nature is relevant to the processes the particles are involved with. (In other words, I study aerosol particles, cloud droplets, and raindrops in contexts where the fact that they are discrete entities matter).

The processes that I study include radiative transfer (the transmission of light), aerosol activation, ice nucleation, cloud particle growth through mechanisms like condensation and collision/coalescence, and raindrop interactions.

Our lab's research program is somewhat unique insofar as that we bridge several different research communities. The aerosol and cloud physics research we do fits most comfortably in the cloud physics community; the rain physics and measurement work more naturally fits in the field of hydrology; our radiative transfer work and some of the remote sensing rain measurement work naturally lies in the fields of radar meteorology and applied optics; and some of our analysis techniques bring us into the fields of time series analysis, stochastic geometry, and monte-carlo simulation techniques. Even within, say, the cloud physics community we occupy an under-represented corner where we focus more on laboratory studies and/or analysis of field data than computational models.

Our lab involves experimental (lab and fieldwork), computational, and data-analytic methods -- with an occasional foray into theoretical work, especially within the realm of stochastic geometry. We work on a lot of different problems, and we're always looking to work on interesting things.

We have recently developed a lab web page highlighting our accomplishments and trying to keep track of the students who have worked in the lab over the years. If you are interested, it might be worth checking out.

- About Me -

The academic basics can be found if you check out one of my CVs to the left. A more comprehensive biography (you must be bored) can be found here.

- Students Currently Working in the Larsen Atmospheric Physics Lab -

Carson Barber -- Using Microrain radar data and data from a 2-dimensional video disdrometer to analyze the vertical variability of falling rain.
Chris Blouin -- Studying radiative transfer through correlated random media with computational simulations.
Lili Boss -- Working on developing and characterizing a novel rain measurement device.
Brianna Brunson -- Working on questions related to strategic ways that rain arrival data can be partitioned.
Liam Brunson -- Working on developing a drop-on-demand system for calibration of rain measurement systems.
Griffin Hall -- Working on studying ice nucleation of dilute solutions on different substrates.
Will McLoud -- Working to use an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) to characterize the surface roughness of atmospherically relevant surfaces.

last updated: 19 November 2021