Lazarus, Steven

Professor, Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences

My research interests are varied and include data assimilation, electrical phenomena such as gigantic jets, surface layer meteorology and wind/wave interactions.  I have authored or co-authored 30 peer-review articles and have had 2 dozen proposals funded totaling a little over $2 million. Over the past decade I have reviewed more than 30 articles and/or proposals and have served on both NASA and NSF panels. I have also graduated 8 Master's students, and more recently two Ph. D students. I am currently supervising a Ph. D student who is funded under a NIST  grant involving the impact of wind loading on residential structures. I am PI on a SECOORA grant involving the installation and operation of a coastal (wind and wave) radar system here in east central Florida. I presently serve as an academic member representative for the University Center for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) a consortium that includes 120 North American universities with programs i meteorology to hydrology, oceanography, atmospheric chemistry, climate science, etc.

Personal Overview

I love to bike, hike, and kayak. I am the proud owner of a rescue beagles (rescues) and I am a quasi-vegetarian (I will eat some sustainable fish!). For the past 16 summers, I have been a volunteer for the Sea Turtle Preservation Society - giving presentations and guided tours on our local beaches during the summer months. I like to tweet about climate change, weather, and environmental issues in general. FOLLOW me on Twitter (@slazmo)!

Educational Background

Ph.D. University of Oklahoma 1996
Masters of Science University of Oklahoma 1990
Bachelors Florida State 1985

Recognition, National Committees & Awards

DeSouza award winner for service and activity in the Geoscience Community (2018)
NCEP visiting scientist (June-July 2004)UCAR Strategic Advisory Committee (2016-2018)
UCAR Member Representative (2012-present)
University of Utah visiting professor (Sabbatical), 2013-2014)
NCEP visiting scientist (June-July 2004)
NCAR-ECSA Junior Faculty Forum on Predictability participant (June 2003)
COMET workshop on Atmospheric Thermodynamics participant (August 2002)
AMS Salt Lake City chapter president 2000-2001
Member, American Geophysical Union
Member, American Meteorological Society
Unidata Strategic AdvisoryCommittee Representative (2015-2018)
Unidata User Workshop participant 2009, 2012, 2015
Unidata Users Committee Representative (2009-2015)
Co-Chair, Unidata Triennial Workshop 2015

Current Courses Taught

Weather Briefing (MET 1999)

Atmospheric Environments (ENS 3101)

Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere (MET 4233/5233)

Dynamic Meteorology II (MET 4306/5306)

Global Climate Change (MET 5320)

Professional Experience

Dr. Lazarus began his research career as an undergraduate assistant for Dr. James O'Brien at Florida State University, from 1984-1985. During that span, he spent the summer of 1984 as an under-graduate fellow working with the founder of the tornado F-scale, Dr. Theodore Fujita, at the University of Chicago. Before attending graduate school, Dr. Lazarus was employed at the Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where he worked on a statistical ocean modeling project.

Dr. Lazarus completed his master's and Ph D. work at the University of Oklahoma. His work in the areas of modeling severe convection and data assimilation was augmented by tornado chasing during his graduate student years in Oklahoma. As a post-doc at the University of Utah, he was involved in several projects including real-time weather analysis work in support of the Winter Olympic games, GCM (cloud) evaluation with the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM), and served as the local AMS chapter president--representing groups from the University of Utah, the National Weather Service and Western Region Headquarters. During the summer of 2004 Dr. Lazarus was a visiting scientist at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Washington, D.C. and served on a national committee that is overseeing an operational mesoscale analysis project referred to as the Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA). While he stepped down from 8 years of service on Unidata's Users and Strategic Advisory, he continues to serve as a NCAR academic member representative. Committees and received their highest honor, the DeSouza award (see sidebar link). 

Dr. Lazarus is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. He is an active participant in the peer-review process having reviewed more than two dozen proposals and/or journal articles. Dr. Lazarus has authored or co-authored 30 articles in peer-review journals and spent a sabbatical at the University of Utah during the academic year (2013-2014).

Additional Duties

FIT Committees:

President's Hurricane Advisory

FIT Club Sponsorship

AMS Chapter; FIT Environmental Club


Graduate Students (1 PhD); Undergraduate (~15)

Current Research and Funding

--General Dynamics. Radionuclide Station (RASA) Operator. $20,000 (PI, ongoing).

--East Central Florida High Frequency Surface Coastal Mapping Radar. $167,532 (PI). 6/01/18 -5/31/21

--NIST (Disaster Resilience): Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) system and Lidar experiments for the characterization of strong wind loads on non-structural components and near-surface wind profiles.  $467,000 (Co-PI along with Mani Subramanian and Jean-Paul Pinelli). 8/01/2019 -7/31/22

Recently Funded

--NSF (REU Site: Statistical Models with Applications to Geoscience (SMAG). $304,000 (Co-PI along with Nezamoddin Nezamoddini-Kachouie).  9/01/2020-8/31/23

In review

Lazarus, S., J. Chiappa, H. Besing, M. Splitt, and J Riousset:Distinguishing characteristics of the tropical cyclone gigantic jet environment. Submitted to the Journal of Atmospheric Science.

Recent Publications

Colvin, J., S. Lazarus, and M. Splitt, 2020: Extracting nearshore wave properties from video: A new method for coastal estuaries, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 246,

Selected Publications


Boggs, L. D., N. Liu, M. Peterson, S. Lazarus, M. Splitt, F. Lucena, A. Nag, H. Rassoul, 2019: First Observations of Gigantic Jets From Geostationary OrbitGeophysical Research Lettters, 46, 3999-4006.

Boggs, L. D., N. Liu, J. A. Riousset, F. Shi, S. Lazarus, M. Splitt, H. Rassoul, 2018: Thunderstorm charge structures producing gigantic jets.  Nature, Scientific Reports, 8, Article number: 18085.

Holman, B., S. Lazarus, and M Splitt, 2018: Statistically and dynamically downscaled, calibrated, probabilistic 10-m wind vector forecasts using ensemble model output statistics. Mon. Wea. Rev, 146, 2859-2880. DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-17-0338.1.

Colvin, J., S. Lazarus, M. Splitt, R. Weaver, and P. Taeb, 2018: Wind driven setup in east central Florida's Indian River Lagoon: Forcings and parameterizations. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,



Holman, B., S. Lazarus, and M Splitt, 2017: A fetch-based statistical method to bias correct and downscale wind speed over unresolved water bodies, Wea. Forecasting, 32, 1637-1657.

Weaver, R.J., Taeb, P., Lazarus, S., Splitt, M., Holman, B., and Colvin, J., 2016: Sensitivity of modeled estuarine circulation to spatial and temporal resolution of input meteorological forcing of a cold frontal passage, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.10.014.

Boggs, L. D., N. Liu, M. Splitt, S. Lazarus, C. Glenn, H. Rassoul, and S. A. Cummer (2016), An analysis of five negative sprite-parent discharges and their associated thunderstorm charge structures, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 121, doi:10.1002/2015JD024188.

Lazarus, S. M., M. E. Splitt, James Brownlee, Nicholas Spiva, and Ningyu Liu, 2015: A Thermodynamic, kinematic and microphysical analysis of a jet and gigantic jet-producing Florida thunderstorm, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 120, doi:10.1002/2015JD023383.

Kelley, N.A., D. M. Smith, J. R. Dwyer, M. Splitt, S. Lazarus, F. Martinez-McKinney, B. Hazelton, B. Grefenstette, A. Lowell, and H. K. Rassoul, 2015: Relativistic electron avalanches as a thunderstorm discharge competing with lightning, Nature Communications, 6. Article number: 7845, doi:10.1038/ncomms8845.

Aronson, R. B., Smith, K. E., Vos S. C., McClintock J.B., Amsler, M.O., Moksnes, P.O.,. Ellis, D.S., Kaeli, J., Singh, H., Bailey, J.W., Schiferl, J.C., van Woesik, R., Martin, M.A., Steffel, B.V., Deal, M.E., Lazarus, S. M., Havenhand, J.N., Swalethorp, R., Kjellerup, S., Thatje, S., 2015: No barrier to emergence of bathyal king crabs on the Antarctic shelf. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1513962112.

Barnes, D.E., M.E. Splitt, J.R. Dwyer, S.M. Lazarus, D.M. Smith, and H.K. Rassoul (2015), A study of thunderstorm microphysical properties and lightning flash counts associated with terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 120, 3453–3464. doi: 10.1002/2014JD021495.


Splitt, M. E., S. M. Lazarus, S. Collins, D. N. Botambekov, and W. P. Roeder, 2014: Probability Distribution and Threshold Selection for Monte Carlo Type Wind Speed Probability Forecasts. Wea. Forecasting, 29, 1155-1168.

Lazarus, S. M., S. T. Wilson, M. E. Splitt, and G. A. Zarillo, 2013: Evaluation of a wind-wave system for ensemble tropical cyclone wave forecasting. Part I: Winds. Wea. Forecasting, 28, 297-315.

Lazarus, S. M., S. T. Wilson, M. E. Splitt, and G. A. Zarillo, 2013: Evaluation of a wind-wave system for ensemble tropical cyclone wave forecasting. Part II: Waves. Wea. Forecasting, 28, 316-330.

Lazarus, S. M., and Coauthors, 2013: 2012 Unidata Users Workshop Navigating Earth System Science Data. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.94, ES136–ES143,


Smith D. M.; Dwyer J. R.; Hazelton B. J.; Grefenstette B. W.; Martinez-McKinney G. F. M.; Zhang Z. Y.; Lowell A. W.; Kelley N. A.; Splitt M. E.; Lazarus S. M.; Ulrich W.; Schaal M.; Saleh Z. H.; Cramer E.; Rassoul H. K.; Cummer S. A.; Lu G.; Blakeslee R. J., The rarity of terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, 2011: Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L08807.

Smith, D. M., et al. (2011), A terrestrial gamma-ray flash observed from an aircraft, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2011JD016252, in press.

Lazarus, S. M., M. E. Splitt, M. D. Lueken, R. Ramachandran, X. Li, S. Movva, S. J. Graves, and B. T. Zavodsky, 2010: Evaluation of data reduction algorithms for real-time analysis. Wea. Forecasting, 25, 511-525.

Splitt, M. E., S. M. Lazarus, D. Barnes, J. R. Dwyer, H. K. Rassoul, D. M. Smith, B. Hazelton, and B. Grefenstette, 2010: Thunderstorm characteristics associated with RHESSI identified terrestrial gamma ray flashes. J. Geophys. Res., 115, A00E38, doi:10.1029/2009JA014622.

Splitt, M. E., J. A. Shafer, S. M. Lazarus, and W. P. Roeder, 2010: Evaluation of the National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Cyclone Wind Speed Probability Forecast Product. Wea. Forecasting, 25, 837-851.

Xid, C., R. Lopez, and S. M. Lazarus, 2009:Issues Regarding Student Interpretation of Color as a Third Dimension on Graphical Representations, J. Geosci. Ed., 57, 372-378.

LaCasse, K. M., M. E. Splitt, S. M. Lazarus, and W. M. Lapenta, 2008: The impact of high resolution sea surface temperatures on short-term model simulations of the nocturnal Florida marine boundary layer. Mon. Wea. Rev., 136, 1349-1372.

Lazarus S. M., C. G. Calvert, M. E. Splitt, P. Santos, D. W. Sharp, P. F. Blottman, and S. M. Spratt, 2007: Real-Time, High-Resolution, Space–Time Analysis of Sea Surface Temperatures from Multiple Platforms. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 3158–3173.

Lazarus, S. M. and J. Bewley, 2006: A reply to Cristina Archer and Mark Jacobson regarding comments on our evaluation of the wind power parameterization of Archer and Jacobson [2003]. J. Geophys. Res., 111 (D10), D1010410.1029/2005JD006396.

Lazarus, S. M. and J. Bewley, 2005: An Evaluation of a Wind Power Parameterization using Tower Observations. J. Geophys. Res., 110 (D7), 7102, doi:10.1029/2004JD005614.

Myrick, D. T., J. D. Horel, and S. M. Lazarus, 2005: Local Adjustment of the Background Error Correlation for Surface Analyses over Complex Terrain. Wea. Forecasting, 20, 149-160.

J. Hacker, J. Hansen, J. Berner, Y. Chen, G. Eshel, G. Hakim, S. Lazarus, S. Majumdar, R. Morss, A. Poje, V. Sheremet, Y. Tang, and C. Webb, 2005: Future Scientific Directions: Predictability. Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., 86, 1733-1777.

Lazarus, S. M., J. D. Horel, and C. M. Ciliberti, 2002: Application of a near-real time analysis system in complex terrain. Wea. Forecasting, 17, 971-1000.

Lazarus, S. M., A. Shapiro, and K. D. Droegemeier, 2001: Application of the Gal-Chen/Zhang single-Doppler velocity retrieval to a deep convective storm. J. Atmos. Sci., 58, 998-1016.

Lazarus, S. M., S.K. Krueger, and G. G. Mace, 2000: A cloud climatology of the Southern Great Plains ARM CART. J. Climate, 13, 1762-1775.

Lazarus, S. M., A. Shapiro, and K. D. Droegemeier, 1999: Analysis of the Gal-Chen single-Doppler velocity retrieval. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 16, 5-18.