Cloud Systems

Our group is recognized around the world as having expertise in studying precipitation systems using satellite, aircraft, and ground based remote sensing. We have participated in more than a dozen field campaigns to observe phenomena of interest. We also use mesoscale numerical models to study the dynamical processes within clouds which lead to their observed structure and morphology. Specific foci of this research include understanding factors controlling the distribution of precipitation, precipitation intensity, lightning production, its diurnal cycle, and the vertical structure of precipitation.

Remote sensing of precipitation using spaceborne radar and passive microwave techniques

Our research uses the latest in spaceborne sensors, as well as ground validation data (including polarimetric radar, aircraft in situ, radar, and passive microwave measurements, and ground based rain gauges and distrometers) to reduce measurement errors involved in the remote sensing of precipitation. We also perform studies to address the sampling error in remote sensing precipitation processes.  We are members of the NASA Preciptiation Measurement Missions Science Team, and we are actively involved in ground validation field experiments for the planned Global Precipitation Mission satellite, set to launch in 2014.

Tropical Meteorology and Convection

Our group has participated in a number of tropical field campaigns and studies many aspects of tropical cloud systems using remote sensing platforms.  We have performed global and regional studies of convection over continental and remote oceanic locations, as well as participated in tropical cyclone field campaigns.   Recently, we use long-term passive microwave satellite observations from SSM/I and TMI to examine the structural changes of storms related to tropical cyclone intensity change.

Surface-Atmosphere Interaction

Our research investigates the role of the land and ocean surface in controlling our precipitation climate. Over land, we have examined how land surface processes in complex terrain influence the timing and evolution of atmospheric convective processes. We recently participated in two field projects (India and New Mexico) to study such interactions, as well as performing mesoscale model simulations with advanced land surface initialization and physics. We are also involved in research investigating how agricultural ecosystems impact clouds and precipitation.  Over ocean, we are interested in how the ocean surface in open ocean and coastal locations interacts with the atmosphere to produce the observed preciptiation climate.

Interested in our research?

If you are interested in our research and are interested in pursuing a M.S. or Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, please contact Prof. Steve Nesbitt.