Radiation lies at the heart of both climate modeling and climate monitoring from space. The interactions between the solar radiation with atmospheric dynamics, cloud microphysics, and the hydrological cycle are highly complex and involve multi-scale processes. In Climate & Space, our research addresses (1) testing modeled climate feedbacks using satellite and GPS radio data, (2) comparisons of radiative fluxes and cloud radiative forcings with satellite data and Atmospheric General Circulation Models and (3) radiative effects of ice clouds on atmospheric transport processes. Furthermore, our research includes the development of radiative transfer inversion algorithms that, for example, use satellite data to estimate the near-surface wind speeds and rain rates in tropical cyclones.
Frequent measurements of water vapor and air temperature help enhance weather forecast skill, particularly during rapidly evolved (extreme weather) events. Climate & Space’ Remote Sensing Group is involved in instrumentation projects like the development of the next-generation “hurricane hunter” airborne imagers that can penetrate through extreme precipitation. In addition, Climate & Space faculty members are on the development teams for the (1) National Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite System Microwave Imager/Sounder, (2) the Juno microwave spectrometer (Jupiter orbiter) and the (3) Aquarius ocean salinity mapper. Our research activities are concentrated in the areas of hardware and real-time firmware development, instrument calibration and operation, microwave system and subsystem engineering, atmospheric radiative transfer modeling, and signal processing. Furthermore, we develop electric field sensors to detect charged particles in blowing sand, dusty plumes, dust devils, and dust storms.