Michael Battalio

I am a postdoctoral associate at Yale University in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, investigating methane convection on Titan.

I previously worked operations as Environmental Theme Lead for the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity).  My research involves the energetics of transient waves and in dust devils on Mars.  I was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, studying the development histories of Martian dust storms, have a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from Texas A&M University, an MS in Meteorology from Mississippi State University, and a BS in Physics and a BS in Meteorology (communication, mathematics and music minors).  I am a graduate fellow of the American Meteorological Society.  I invite you to find out more about me, learn about my research activities, or download my CV.

Please feel free to contact me with questions on research, employment, or just to chat at michael[at]battalio.com.
My work at CfA concerned the development histories of sequences (collections) of dust storms on Mars. I have recently published the Mars Dust Activity Database (MDAD), composed of about 15,000 dust events over 8 Mars years (about 5000 sols) of MOC/MARCI images. For more information, please read the paper in Icarus, The Mars Dust Activity Database (MDAD): A comprehensive statistical study of dust storm sequences. (PDF)

A new paper in Icarus (Eddy evolution during large dust storms, on arxiv.org and PDF) describes how atmospheric eddies are altered by increased dust opacity on Mars. The dominant eddy kinetic energy progresses from P=1-8 sols to P<1 to P=8-60 sols during periods of increased dust opacity, but when the opacity reaches high enough levels, the P=1-8 sol eddies are suppressed. The P=1-8 sol eddies are correlated with textured dust storms with a curved shape. Times of highest eddy kinetic energy happen when all wave numbers are amplified, suggesting that frontal events are associated with P=1-8 sol eddies. Again, after big storms, the P=1-8 sol eddies that are linked to the initiation of dust events are suppressed by the dust. There is a negative feedback mechanism if the dust storms cannot reach global scale. This is why there are not usually successive large dust events.

A paper, The Aonia-Solis-Valles dust storm track in the southern hemisphere of Mars (PDF) has received some press (UT, phys.org, press release). We described a dust storm track in the southern hemisphere of Mars that semi-regularly reoccurs every 20 Mars days.

I have recently published the Wave energetics of the southern hemisphere of Mars (PDF) on the nature of mid-latitude weather systems in the Martian southern hemisphere.  We found that waves in the southern hemisphere were weaker than that in the northern but are similar in the way they grow and decay. Southern hemisphere waves are weaker in spring than in summer due to changes in the vertical profile of temperatures.  Previous work includes Energetics of the martian atmosphere using the Mars Analysis Correction Data Assimilation (MACDA) dataset (PDF) on the alteration of transient waves by the Mars Global Dust storm of 2001.  We found that the number of transient waves during the dust storm is roughly halved due to a stabilization of the atmosphere to baroclinic energy conversion as a result of an altered vertical wind and temperature profile.  However, the intensity of individual eddies is not necessarily reduced.  For more go to the Academia page.

Currently in preparation is a third paper on Mars atmosphere energetics, focusing on the spectral decomposition of waves with respect to the pause in eddy activity during the winter solstice.

I was an Environmental Theme Group Lead for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and work rover operations three to four times per month.  I was also a blogger for JPL discussing MSL operations, like this post for Sol 1700 where I described how optical depth measurements are taken. Below is an image of a Dust Devil search performed on Sol 959 that I instructed Curiosity to take.  For more images go to the JPL multimedia gallery.

I published The Minimum Length Scale for Evaluating QG Omega Using High-Resolution Model Data (PDF) with Monthly Weather Review on the horizontal scaling of the QG omega equation.  I received the 21st Century Fellowship from the American Metrological Society in 2011.

Other research topics include Quasi-geostrophic theory and the three-dimensional patterns of divergence, vorticity, and vertical velocity in synoptic systems. 

I particularly interested in the elucidation of the atmospheric dynamics of exoplanets via observed temperature profiles and/or global circulation models and am looking for a Postdoc in that area.

For more details on my research see the Academia page. 

Here is a recent recording of Deux Arabesque 1 (Claude Debussy). 

Here is the Bach Cello Suite no. 1 in G Major - Prelude

I've also recorded Trumpet Voluntary in D (J. Clarke) on organ from a wedding in April 2015.
Performances and Booking
To listen to samples of some of my work or for information on booking me and pricing, visit the performance section of the music page.
DPS 2018 Poster An Important Dust Storm Track in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars
MAMO 2017 extended abstract Eddy Energetics of the Southern Hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Analysis Correction Data Assimilation (MACDA).
AMS 2017 Poster The Minimum Horizontal Length Scale When Evaluating Quasi-Geostrophic Omega
AGU 2016 Poster A Comparison of Martian Transient Wave Energetics in High and Low Optical Depth Environments
DPS 2016 slides from The Energetics of Transient Eddies in the Martian Northern Hemisphere
DPS 2015 slides from Reduced Baroclinicity During Martian Global Dust Storms
An Investigation of the Local Energetics of the Martian Atmosphere
Research Website
A Battalio Christmas
Garden Blog
Research Gate
VTK_omega is code to calculate QG omega on a VTK dataset. The paper The Minimum Length Scale for Evaluating QG Omega Using High Resolution Model Data is published in "Monthly Weather Review".
Last updated:  January 05, 2021 | © 2003-2021 Michael Battalio (michael[at]battalio.com)