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Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Distinguished Seminar Series

Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 4:00 pm

Using Microwave Satellites to Monitor Global Change

Dr. Carl Mears

There are many types of meassurements that can (and are) used for this purpose. These include measurments from ground-based weather stations, weather baloons, ships, aircraft, and Earth-orbiting satellites. Satellites are an important component of the climare measurement system because their measurements occur fairly often and cover very large areas (often the entire globe). Measurements made using the microwave part of the spectrum are especially useful because they are not strongly affected by the presence of clouds, allowing us to "see through" the clouds to recover the measurements of interest, such as atmospheric temperature, the toal column water vapor, and the surface wind speed/wind stress. In my presentation, I will discuss the challenges that arise when assembling climate data records from satellite measurements and show some examples of how these measurements can be used to help understand recent climate change. 

Dr. Mears has a B.S. in Physics from the University of Washington (1985), and a Ph.D. in Physics from University of California, Berkeley (1991), where his dissertation research involved the development of superconducting microwave heterodyne receivers. He then performed post-doctoral research in ultra-low temperature detectors for x-rays, gamma-rays and molecular fragments at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He joined Remote Sensing Systems in 1998. Since then, he has validated satellite-measured surface winds versus in situ measurements, and investigated uncertainty in microwave imager retrievals. Over the past decade, he has constructed and maintained a climate-quality data record of atmospheric temperatures and total column water vapor in microwave observations, complete with comprehensive uncertainty estimates. Dr. Mears was a convening lead author for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment program and was a lead author of the 4th National Climate Assessment. 

Dreese Lab 260 (Coffee and cookies provided)