School of Meteorology mourns the loss of adjunct professor Dr. Dave Rust

NSSL retiree and OU Meteorology adjunct professor W. David Rust passed away Monday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Rust was a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, the first NSSL scientist to receive the honor.

Rust made significant and revolutionary contributions to thunderstorm science, especially through observation platforms from mobile laboratories to instrumented storm-penetrating balloons. Rust’s measurements contributed much to our present understanding of how storms become charged and produce lightning.

Rust directed NSSL’s fleet of mobile research facilities (excluding mobile radars) for decades.  Beginning with the mobile lab he helped build at NSSL out of an old Suburban truck in 1979, the armada now includes mobile ballooning facilities, field coordination vehicles, mobile mesonet vehicles and mobile radars.  Rust saw the value in going out to find the storms rather than waiting for them to come to NSSL.  Countless other scientists and research projects have benefited from the ability to measure temperature, pressure, dew point, wind speed and direction, the electric field, and even return stroke velocities in a storm.

Rust co-wrote a graduate level textbook with NSSL’s Don MacGorman, “The Electrical Nature of Storms.”  A review by a colleague said, “The book is clearly the best compilation of material on storm electricity that exists today.” He also advised and mentored numerous graduate students over the years.

The School of Meteorology offers condolences to Dr. Rust’s family, colleagues, and friends, and honors his many contributions to the field and to educating the next generation.

Part of this article was sourced from the NSSL website.