On April 10, the Prairie Research Institute honored employees for their outstanding achievements and excellent work. ISWS Jim Angel was awared the Research Scientist’s Career Achievement Award.
Jim Angel retired at the end of 2018 after 34 at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS). He spent more than 20 of those years at Illinois State Climatologist, the primary source of science-based weather and climate information and services for the state of Illinois.
As State Climatologist, Angel conducted research projects on topics related to weather and climate, particularly drought, extreme rainfall events, Great Lakes storms, and weather impacts. He also maintained an extensive archive of historical climate data dating back to the mid-1800s.
Perhaps the most visible indication of Angel's standing in the applied climate field is his appointment as lead author of the Midwest Chapter of the 4th National Climate Assessment issued by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Early in his career, Angel co-authored Bulletin 70: Frequency Distributions and Hydroclimatic Characteristics of Heavy Rainstorms in Illinois, which provides the expected rainfall amounts for select storm durations and return periods, such as the 1 percent, or 100-year storm. These data enable city engineers to weigh the costs and benefits of building infrastructure that mitigates the damage from severe rainstorms while minimizing costs. Thirty years later, many state and local agencies still mandate that engineering firms use Bulletin 70 for design projects. The publication is considered one of the most valuable ISWS contributions to the economy and welfare of Illinois in terms of the enormous amount of money saved due to improved protection against heavy rainfall for properties, businesses, and other structures. Angel has written an update for Bulletin 70 to be published in 2019.
In nominating Angel, Dave Kristovich, the head of the Water Survey's Climate and Atmospheric Science section, noted that "his activities...serve as a model for scientists interested in both applied sciences and helping people use the results of those investigations." Angel was frequently interviewed by Illinois media outlets about weather and climate conditions and spoke spoke frequently to groups, including producers, horticulturists, scientists, homeowners, students, and local, state, and federal officials.
Angel has been affiliated with the American Meteorological Society’s Committee on Applied Climatology and Committee on Hydrometeorology, American Geophysical Union, Interim National Drought Council’s Monitoring and Prediction Task Group, and the U.S. Drought Monitor discussion group.
He has also served as president of the American Association of State Climatologists and adjunct professor with the University of Illinois’ Department of Geography and Department of Atmospheric Science and the Northern Illinois University Department of Geography.