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Know Your Earth 3.0: CloudSat
04.02.13
 
Cloudsat banner with Phil Partain and Dale Reinke

About Philip Partain


Philip Partain is the manager at the CloudSat Data Processing Center at Colorado State University's Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Fort Collins, Colo. He was part of the team that designed and built the processing center, and is a NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal recipient.

Partain's fascination with science started at an early age when his father helped him put together presentations for his elementary school classes on subjects ranging from the space shuttle to nuclear fusion. That fascination continued and was strengthened by great teachers in his high school biology, chemistry, and physics classes. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, he had some difficulty in choosing between physics, geology, astronomy, and atmospheric science as his major. He decided that the weather moved faster than the stars and tectonic plates, and would be a more interesting field of study. Growing up on the coast in Southern California, where the typical forecast is "70 degrees with night and morning low clouds," also fueled his desire to experience all that the atmosphere has to offer. He earned his bachelor's degree from UCLA and his master's degree from Colorado State University, specializing in atmospheric radiative transfer and remote sensing.

About Dale Reinke


Reinke is currently the primary research systems engineer for the CloudSat Data Processing Center, at Colorado State University's Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Fort Collins, Colo. which uses the CloudSat satellite data on cloud reflectivity to create data products. His innovative ingest and operations system earned him a NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal. His automated system provides real-time CloudSat data for engineers and weather forecasters worldwide.

Reinke has a fascination with science and space that started with watching rocket launches at Cape Canaveral in Florida as a young boy. He grew up as the son of an Air Force meteorologist and traveled throughout the United States before landing in Fort Collins, Colo. during high school. He then began working as a student at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University (CSU). He did odd jobs such as landscape maintenance, loading 9-track data tapes, and assisting with the building of satellite antennas. He used his computer skills to accept more advanced responsibilities and eventually graduated from CSU with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, which provided him with the opportunity to work on the NASA CloudSat satellite mission.

About CloudSat


CloudSat cross-section of clouds from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 taken with GOES satellite images.
CloudSat cross-section of clouds from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 taken with GOES satellite images.
Credit: NASA
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NASA's CloudSat mission flies a first-of-its-kind radar system that is much more sensitive than any weather radar. The satellite, which orbits Earth approximately every 90 minutes, provides a never-before-seen perspective on clouds. Its radar allows scientists to see inside the large cloud masses responsible for our planet's weather. Using CloudSat data, the scientists are able to study the processes that convert the tiny cloud particles to precipitation. CloudSat observations will also allow scientists to predict the effects of clouds on our climate and improve predictions of climate change.

From CloudSat observations, scientists will be able to improve on their ability to predict where and why clouds and precipitation form, learn how much water condenses in clouds, gain a better understanding of how the water cycle works, where and how much it will rain, and if Earth's freshwater supplies might change in the future.

Computer models of a warm and cold front are compared with actual CloudSat images of the fronts, showing cloud structure and precipitation.
Computer models of a warm and cold front are compared with actual CloudSat images of the fronts, showing cloud structure and precipitation.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
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Additional Links


› Know Your Earth 3.0
› NASA CloudSat Mission
› Colorado State University CloudSat Page
› CloudSat Data Processing
› NASA Science Mission CloudSat Page
› CloudSat Twitter
› CloudSat Facebook