Dr. Edwin X Berry is a physicist and Certified Consulting Meteorologist for the American Meteorological Society. His consulting expertise is in physics, atmospheric physics, meteorology, climatology, and numerical models. [Download short Bio]
Dr. Berry has been an expert witness in many legal trials and has been on the winning side of every trial. Since moving to Bigfork, Montana in 2008, he has assisted legal cases in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. He has published over 42 professional scientific papers.
Dr. Berry received his BS degree in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1957, where he studied under teachers like Dr. Linus Pauling. Berry served four years in USAF ROTC as pilot trainee. The USAF gave Berry an honorable discharge because Congress lowered the Air Force pilot quota for 1957. After graduating from Caltech, he worked as a physics instructor at Sacramento State University in 1958-59 while he studied math and statistics.
In 1959, Dartmouth College awarded Berry a teaching fellowship in physics. In addition to physics, he also studied math and philosophy of science under Dr. John Kemeny, a student of Albert Einstein and the inventor of Basic computer language. Berry’s master’s thesis under Professor Millet Morgan concerned the polarization of high-frequency radio waves beamed into the earth’s ionosphere. Berry received his MA degree in Physics from Dartmouth in 1960.
In 1961, Berry became the first research assistant for the new Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno. He studied meteorology under Professor Wendell Mordy and physics under Dr. Friedwardt Winterberg, top student of Nobel Laureate Heisenberg in Germany, and Dr. William Scott. Berry received his PhD in Physics in 1965, with a focus on atmospheric physics.
Dr. Berry’s theoretical PhD thesis is recognized as a breakthrough in the science of rain formation and in the use of computer-based numerical models. His model of the microphysics of rain formation is summarized in cloud physics textbooks and taught in university courses.
Following his graduation, Dr. Berry became chief scientist for Nevada’s Desert Research Institute airborne research facility. He designed and his team built the first low cost, airborne, earth-referenced radar display, which was later adapted by NOAA for hurricane research. He led pioneering research flights inside Alberta hailstorms and Sierra Nevada mountain effect storms. He participated in meteorological research experiments in South Africa, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix.
In 1969, Dr. Pierre St. Amand of the Naval Weapons Center invited Berry to be the only civilian consultant in DOD’s Top-Secret Operation Popeye. Berry and St. Amand taught USAF pilots how to produce rain from tropical clouds near the Philippines. USAF pilots then used these methods to wash out the Ho Chi Min trail and other targets in Laos and North Vietnam.
In 1973, the National Science Foundation, Research Applied to National Needs (RANN), in Washington, DC, invited Berry to be its Program Manager for Weather Modification. He managed NSF’s leading edge national weather research projects, including the Metropolitan Meteorological Experiment (METROMEX) and the National Hail Research Experiment (NHRE).
In 1976, Dr. Berry founded Edwin X Berry & Associates in Sacramento. He developed numerical models to calculate and reduce aircraft accidents due to wind shear and proposed a method for reducing such accidents that is in use today at major airports. He performed the southern California desert wind-energy study for the California Energy Commission and performed wind‑energy evaluations for wind-energy companies. He identified Altamont Pass and Tehachapi Pass as excellent wind energy resources in 1980. He designed and manufactured the first low-cost, electronic remote data instruments for wind energy using then state-of-the-art electronics.
From 1989 through 1992, Dr. Berry’s meteorological team provided 24-hour weather forecasting for the US Customs Aerostat project along the southern U.S. border.
In 1992, Dr. Berry made courtroom history by developing and defending the first computer model to generate new evidence in a criminal trial. His custom software application, written in Microsoft Visual Basic, modeled human body physiological responses to changing weather and environmental conditions. Berry’s numerical model and testimony were key in the successful defense in a high-profile murder trial. Computerworld and Microsoft selected his model as one of 24 finalists out of 1300 entries for the 1993 Windows World Open where it won the overall “People’s Choice Award.” Microsoft nominated Dr. Berry for a Smithsonian Award.
In 1992, Berry developed software that used historical annual streamflow data to estimate future annual steamflow for the Sacramento River Index. His software accurately predicted California would recover from its 1993 drought but drought would reoccur in 2013.
From 1994 through 2000, Dr. Berry applied mathematical artificial intelligence methods developed for weather forecasting to the valuation of single-family homes. Bank of America performed side-by-side tests of Berry’s model against other home valuation methods, Berry’s method proved significantly superior. Berry is an expert in Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) for property valuations.
In 1996, the University of Nevada Alumni Association presented Dr. Berry with its Professional Achievement Award, after he was nominated by his physics mentor, Dr. Winterberg.
Since 2001, Dr. Berry has focused on the climate change problem which is tied to his expertise in cloud physics, numerical modeling, and government-sponsored research. Like 1000’s of other atmospheric scientists, Berry concludes human carbon dioxide emissions are insignificant to climate change.
During his professional career, Dr. Berry has been very active in athletic competition.
While a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Berry qualified for membership in the elite Sigma Delta Psi national athletic honorary. Very few people have achieved this level of athletic performance. Sigma Delta Psi members include Astronaut Ed White, Dr. Hatfield, super-athlete Norm Hoffman, Harvey Wray, Dr. Robert Gordon, Scott Hurley, Bill Ruschel, and Thomas Cureton.
As a competitive small-boat sailor, Dr. Berry and his wife, Valerie, as crew, won Gold Medals in the 1974 Canadian Olympic-Training Regatta in Kingston, Ontario. They beat Olympic sailors and Valerie became the first woman ever to win such high-caliber sailing competition. They won North American and US National Championships.
In the 1990’s, Berry placed in top 10 USA age-group running and run-bike-run events. In 2013, at age 78, he rowed 500 meters on a Concept 2 in 1:46.3 to earn a 2014 world fourth place in the 70-79 age group. In February 2016, he set Concept 2 world records for rowing 500 meters and 100 meters for the 80-89 age group.
Dr. Berry is a pilot, with glider, power, and instrument ratings.
Dr. Berry Extended BIO
Berry received his BS degree in Engineering from CalTech in 1957, where he studied under teachers like Dr. Linus Pauling. Pauling stressed problem solving. Exams at CalTech were open book because that is how the real world works. The challenge given the students is to find a solution to a problem in a limited time using as many resources as you can.
After his freshman year at CalTech, Berry was called to take the required Selective Service Examination. The written test was 2 hours long. Berry finished the 2-hour written test in half the allotted time. The Sargent graded Berry’s exam with a template and found no errors. The Sargent reviewed Berry’s exam a second and a third time, and said, “This is impossible. I have been scoring these exams for 20 years and no one ever gets a perfect score.”
While at Caltech, Berry was in the Air Force ROTC as a pilot trainee. The four years of officer training was a very important and valuable part of his education. A week before graduation, Congress lowered the Air Force quota for pilots. So, the Air Force offered all AFROTC pilot trainees two choices: draw straws to see who gets to fly a jet and who gets to fly a desk, or receive an honorable discharge from the Air Force. Berry choose the honorable discharge.
After graduating from CalTech, Berry worked one year as a physics instructor at Sacramento State University and did graduate study in math. He saw a Dartmouth College announcement for six Graduate Teaching Fellowships in Physics. He applied and was one of the six accepted.
Berry, as a Teaching Fellow in Physics, began work on his masters degree in physics at Dartmouth College in 1959. He also studied math, probability, and philosophy of science under Dr. John Kemeny who was Chairman of both math and philosophy departments. Berry was one the few students who hung out in the evenings with Kemeny and his LPG-30 computer. Berry watched Kemeny develop the Basic computer language. (Kemeny, while a student at Princeton, worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory under Richard Feynman and John von Neumann. Later, as a graduate student, Kemeny worked as a special mathematical assistant for Albert Einstein.)
Berry did his M.A. thesis on the transmission of high-frequency radio waves in the ionosphere under Dr. Millet Morgan. The study was a predecessor to HAARP. Berry received his MA degree in Physics from Dartmouth in 1960.
Berry became the first research assistant for the Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno, under Dr. Wendell Mordy, in 1961. Mordy brought in many excellent scientists to mentor Berry. One was Dr. Winterberg, noted for being the best student of physics Nobelist Heisenberg. Winterberg taught Berry fluid dynamics, magneto-hydrodynamics and relativity. Winterberg taught Berry more than physics. He taught Berry how to think.
Berry received his PhD in Physics in 1965, with a focus on atmospheric physics and a minor in math. (Here is a humorous rap about being a physics student.) After graduation, Berry worked at the University of Nevada Desert Research Institute for seven years. He was also a consultant to the Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, California.
Berry is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist of the American Meteorological Society. He has published over 42 professional scientific papers.
Berry’s theoretical PhD thesis is recognized as a breakthrough in the atmospheric science and in the use of computer-based numerical models. He was the first to show how warm clouds can rain within 30 minutes. His numerical mathematical breakthrough allowed calculation of cloud droplet collisions and coalescence over a mass range of 12 orders of magnitude. Scientists in other fields have used Berry’s numerical method. One application was calculate the formation of the universe. Cloud physics textbooks discuss Berry’s thesis.
Here is the fundamental problem that Berry’s thesis solved. Observations show that tropical clouds can produce rain within 30 minutes. Describe the physics of how this can happen.
Prior attempts used a “continuous” model that assumed a larger drop will capture smaller droplets as it falls through them. The problem was the continuous model takes many hours to grow raindrops. Therefore, the continuous model did not explain how clouds work.
Berry was first to use a stochastic model in a numerical calculation. Russian scientists had developed analytic solutions of the collection equations but analytic solutions required special assumptions that did not represent the physics of droplet collection. Berry’s stochastic collection model produced rain within 30 minutes. Here is what the output of his stochastic model looked like. The droplet mass range in these numerical calculations covers a ration of 10^12.
To produce a scientifically acceptable numerical model, Berry needed to demonstrate its accuracy. He did this by showing how his numerical model also matched the results of three known analytic mathematical solutions to the “stochastic collection equation.” The three analytic solutions bounded the realistic physical conditions.
Airborne research laboratory
After receiving his PhD degree in physics in 1965, Berry became chief scientist and manager of the Desert Research Institute’s airborne research facility. His research team included 16 people. One of their most memorable adventures is measuring the cloud characteristics of geysers. For additional information see Kim Berry’s website.
Flying through Old Faithful
On January 28 to 30, 1966, Berry took a 4-person crew to Idaho Falls in the DRI research Beechcraft C-45. Below, you can see the instrument pod sticking out in from of the nose and the runway conditions at Idaho Falls airport.
Berry’s team spent three days flying through geysers Yellowstone park. They took photos from a time-lapse 16 mm movie camera in the nose. On one very low pass through Old Faithful Geyser, the photos showed the aircraft was below the roof line of Old Faithful Lodge. This geyser penetration was so wet pass, it shut down the aircraft electrical system for 10 minutes.
Later, the Desert Research Institute upgraded its research aircraft to the modified B-26 shown here.
Berry invented and his team built the first low cost, airborne, earth-referenced radar display. They adapted their system, first used in the B-26, to hurricane research. The objective was to use a larger radar antenna than the one’s that sat on top of aircraft. The larger the antenna, the better the radar image. They mounted a large radar antenna behind the cargo door of a C-130. Then the C-130 flew in a circle to rotate the antenna.
Berry led pioneering research flights inside Alberta hailstorms and Sierra Nevada mountain effect storms.
Berry participated in meteorological research experiments in Canada, South Africa, Puerto Rico, St. Croix and the Philippine Islands.
In 1969, Dr. Pierre St. Amand of the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, California, invited Berry to be the only person outside DOD to participate in DOD’s Top-Secret Operation Popeye, now declassified. Popeye developed techniques to seed tropical clouds to produce rain for use over Laos and North Vietnam.
Operating out of Clark AFB, St. Amand’s team used C-130’s to train B-52 pilots to seed certain clouds and make big storms. Later, the B-52 pilots used these methods to wash out the Ho Chi Min trail.
Jane Fonda’s in the USA argued it was “unfair” to use environmental means in warfare. The Navy denied everything until the project was declassified years later. The Navy argument was that it was more humane to stop a war by turning a military corridor into mud than to win a war by killing people.
National Science Foundation
In 1973, National Science Foundation in Washington, DC invited Berry to be the its Program Manager for Weather Modification. Berry managed NSF’s leading-edge national weather research projects, including the Metropolitan Meteorological Experiment (METROMEX) and the National Hail Research Experiment (NHRE). METROMEX was the first research project to show how a metropolitan city like St. Louis inadvertently changed its temperature, humidity and precipitation. This has become known as the heat island effect.
Berry convened a panel of the best statisticians in America to review the statistical problems involved in determining whether cloud seeding was effective or not. These eminent statisticians concluded that the problem of determining the effect of cloud seeding involved the most difficult statistical problems they had encountered. This was a case where the experimenters can repeat their experiments, have control clouds and do double-blind studies. It is still the most difficult statistical problem in the world, mainly because no one cloud is the same as another cloud.
In 1976, Berry began a private company in Sacramento and grew it to employ 30 people.
Berry developed numerical models to calculate the effect of wind shear on departing and landing aircraft and worked with pilots in Boeing simulators to determine what downdraft speeds were dangerous. Then Berry proposed a ground-based method to detect the presence of dangerous downdrafts that was installed at major airports. It uses a field of wind-speed and direction instruments and a central computer to detect divergence and the presence of a strong downdraft.
Wind energy studies
Berry’s company performed the Southern California Desert wind-energy study for the California Energy Commission which mapped the available wind energy over an area the size of Ohio.
Berry’s company performed wind energy evaluations for many wind-energy companies. Berry was the first to identify Altamont Pass and Tehachapi Pass as excellent wind energy resources. His company designed and manufactured the first low-cost, electronic remote data instruments for wind energy. Berry’s company developed easy to install 50-ft masts like this and installed them all over the southern California desert. Wind speed and direction sensors are at the top.
Here is their then state-of-the-art wind recording instrument. It recorded hourly average wind speed for 45 days without service, running on 4 D-cells.
Here is how wind flows over a smooth ridge. The wind is stronger on the leeward slope than on the windward side of the hill. You can even see this effect by watching water flow over rocks in a stream.
Some who called themselves environmentalists also offered their wind evaluation services to wind energy companies. These environmentalists believed they understood wind flow simply because they “cared for the earth.” They cost the companies they consulted for many millions of dollars. One of their biggest errors was thinking wind is strongest on the windward side of the hill and, in one case, in a valley.
Eventually, wind companies caught on to the fact that Berry had the best education and experience – PhD in atmospheric physics, skills in soaring and sailing – to make the best wind-energy assessments.
From 1989 through 1992, Berry’s meteorological team provided 24-hour weather forecasting for the US Customs Aerostat project along the southern U.S. border.
Windows World Open ‘People’s Choice Award’
In 1992, Berry made courtroom history by developing and defending the first computer model to generate new evidence in a criminal trial. His custom software application, written in the first version of Microsoft Visual Basic, modeled human body physiological responses to changing weather and environmental conditions. His model and testimony was a key element in the successful defense in a high-profile murder trial.
Computerworld and Microsoft selected Berry’s model as one of 24 finalists out of 1300 entries for the 1993 Windows World Open where it won the overall “People’s Choice Award.” Microsoft nominated me for a Smithsonian Award.
In 1993, Berry’s company developed “CalWater” software that used historical, annual streamflow and tree-ring data to estimate future annual steamflow for the Sacramento River Index. It accurately predicted the recovery from the drought in California in 1993, and predicted a longer-term drought would return in 2012.
Professional Achievement Award
In 1996, Berry’s physics mentor, Dr. Winterberg, nominated, and the University of Nevada Alumni Association presented, Berry with its Professional Achievement Award.
Artificial intelligence applications
From 1996 through 2000, Berry’s company applied mathematical artificial intelligence methods developed for weather forecasting to the valuation of single-family homes. In side-by-side testing against other home valuation methods, our method proved significantly superior.
Since 2001, Berry has focused on the climate change problem. Climate change is intimately tied to his knowledge of cloud physics, numerical modeling, meteorology, weather modification and management of government weather modification research.