Capt Peter A. Saunders, PhD

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Captain Peter Saunders has served in the United States Air Force since 2011. His first assignment was at Barksdale AFB at the 26 Operational Weather Squadron from April 2011 through March 2013, where he worked as a forecaster, staff duty officer (SDO), and flight commander in one of the weather “hubs” that service both Air Force and Army airfields and test ranges across the southeastern United States. After his time in Louisiana, he went to Kunsan AB at the 8 Fighter Wing where he worked as the Wing Weather Officer and 8 Operations Group executive officer from March 2013 through March 2014. After his short tour in Korea, Captain Saunders was assigned to Hill AFB in Utah to serve as the Weather Flight Commander within the 75 Air Base Wing from April 2014 through August 2016. During his time at Hil AFB, Captain Saunders was granted a PhD student slot through the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Civilian Institution (CI) program, and in August 2016 he began his academic tour at the University of Utah to pursue a doctoral degree in Atmospheric Science. His primary research focus was in data assimilation and cloud initiation of tropical cyclones and tropical cyclone (TC) rainbands. Captain Saunders completed his degree in August 2019, and has been an Assistant Professor at AFIT since November 2019. His current research includes furthering the goals of AFIT Sensor and Scene Emulation Tool (ASSET) to include cloud and lightning climatological data in an effort to create realistic scenes of these phenomena in "real time." His research also includes high-resolution modeling of TCs with an emphasis on data assimilation and analysis of hydrometeors and cold pools in TC rainbands.


Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2020

M.S., Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, 2010

B.S., Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, 2007



  • GSEM CGO of the Year, 2020

  • Air Force Commendation Medal (2016)

  • AFMC Company Grade Officer of the Year (2015)

  • Air Force Commendation Medal (2014)

  • Air Force Commendation Medal (2013)

  • 26 OWS Sijan Award (2012)

  • Weather Officer School Distinguished Graduate (2011)


  • Tau Beta Pi Honor Society (2016)


[1] Saunders, Peter, Yafan Yu, and Zhaoxia Pu. "Sensitivity of Numerical Simulations of Hurricane Joaquin (2015) to Cumulus Parameterization Schemes: Implications for Processes Controlling a Hairpin Turn in the Track", Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan. Ser. II, 2019

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Air Force Institute of Technology
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