The Author

Fernando Caracena

Dr. Fernando Caracena enjoying the Colorado sun and fresh air.Fernando Caracena, PhD, physicist (19 Sept. 2010.


©Fernando Caracena 14 June 2010, Boulder, CO

(Modified, 04 Jan 2015.)

While doing weather research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), I maintained a web page for those who were interested in the weather phenomena that I was studying. After retiring from NOAA eleven years ago (2004). Parts of  my former web pages at NOAA still exist, although no longer maintained by me, so that many of the external links no longer connect. However, the old web page still applies well to the phenomenon of  microbursts, in which the late Dr. Ted T. Fujita and I did some pioneering research.  Initially I worked independently on a microburst-related aircraft accident that happened at Denver's former Stapleton International Airport. An airliner had taken off there beneath a high-based shower and crashed shortly after take off after encountering a strong adverse tail wind.More details about the crash are contained on my old NOAA web page.

At that time, I was on summer leave from teaching at Metropolitan State College (MSC, now a university, MSU) working as a research fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. The story of how I became involved in research on strong downdrafts as airline safety hazards is described further in my post, "Researching Microbursts", which tells of how I collaborated with Dr, T,T, Fujita of the university of Chicago. Fujita named strong, concentrated downdrafts, downbursts, and small-scale ones ( less than 4 km in diameter), microbursts.

After the Denver accident, by invitation, I visited the University of Chicago, where Fujita and I collaborated on research that resulted in a landmark paper [Tetsuya T. Fujita and Fernando Caracena, 1977: "An analysis of three weather-related aircraft accidents."  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 58: 1164–1181], which was judged to be one of the "Significant Papers from the First 50 Years of the Boulder Labs"[NISTIR 6618 and NTIA SP-04-416: Edited by  M.E. DeWeese , M.A. Luebs  and H.L. McCullough].

I have included a short resume of my professional life below, a more extended one can be accessed here.


  • PhD and MA in physics from Case Western University
  • BS from The University of Texas at EL Paso

Research interests:
Computational Physics and graphics using visualization
flash floods

Some work and publications:
• (Barnes et al.) On the necessity of filtering high resolution model output
before doing quasi-geostrophic (QG) computations.
• (Caracena and Marroquin) On the relation between areas of turbulence and
upper-atmospheric frontal zones.
Ballon management simulations using NCEP/NCAR reanalisis data for
the GAINS project
• (Caracena, Barnes and Marroquin) A Study of Gravity Waves Generated
by Convective Systems in ETA model Forecasts -
Meterolology and Atmospheric Physics, ca. October, 1998.

Foreign Travel:
• I spent one month in Europe the summer of 1960.
•  In February 1998 I gave two Invited talks at the
Asamblea Hispano-Portugues de Geofisica y Geodisia. in Aguadulce, Almeria, Spain

Languages besides English
•      Spanish (I speak it fluently, and read and write in it.)
•      French (I speak it haltingly, and can read it somewhat. Passed French test for the Ph D language requirement.)
•      Latin
•      Smattering of German (Passed German test for the Ph D language requirement.)

Personal interests:
Reading books;
• Classical music (Bach is at the top of my list);
• Amateur artist (pen and pencil, and oil landscape painting);
• Photography; (nature digital photographs)
• Genealogy: Relating family ancestry to braoder history. My surname is taken from a town in Soria, Old Castile, Spain by knights who offered their services in the Reconquista.
I have an interesting and illustrious family background;
• Gardening;
• Hiking in the high country.
• Fly fishing;


13 June 2015

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