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The Secret Life of Clouds: New Findings From NASA's CloudSat and A-Train - Bios of the Presenters
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A little more than a year and a half into its primary mission, NASA's CloudSat satellite, working in tandem with the other Earth-observing satellites in NASA's "A-Train," is now yielding a treasure trove of new data that are helping scientists better understand the enormous influence clouds have on Earth's weather, climate and energy balance. Researchers present results that include discovery of a link between observed decreases in polar clouds last summer and a corresponding loss of Arctic sea ice; surprising new global estimates of how frequently clouds rain over Earth's oceans that suggest the need to reassess the intensity of Earth's water cycle and its impact on climate models; and the first global evidence that the small aerosol particles in our atmosphere may be polluting clouds, making them more reflective.

Photo of Jennifer KayJennifer Kay

Jennifer Kay currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Climate and Global Dynamics division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Her research interests include clouds, aerosols, snow and ice, climate modeling and climate change impacts and adaptation.

Kay was born and raised in Ithaca, New York. In 1999, she received her bachelor of arts magna cum laude and with honors from Brown University with majors in both Geological Sciences and Economics. She received her master of science in Geological Sciences at the University of Washington under the supervision of Professor Alan Gillespie in 2002. Her Masters research involved analysis of snowpack properties and stream temperatures derived from airborne remote-sensing data. After a summer working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, she returned to the University of Washington to work towards her doctorate. In 2006, she completed her doctorate in Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington under the supervision of Professors Marcia Baker and Dean Hegg. Her doctoral work investigated physical controls on cirrus cloud processes using a combination of modeling and analysis of ground-based remote-sensing data. At the University of Washington, she also worked with the Climate Impacts Group to understand the projected impacts of climate change on Pacific Northwest natural resources.

Photo of HaynesJohn Haynes

John Haynes is a graduate research assistant with the Graeme Stephens Research Group at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. He will be receiving his doctorate in Atmospheric Science in the spring of 2008. His research interests involve gaining a better understanding of the global structure of clouds and precipitation, especially using space-based millimeter wavelength radar and lidar systems such as those on NASA's CloudSat and Calipso satellites.

Haynes is a developer for CloudSat precipitation products. In conjunction with this, he has developed radar simulation software (QuickBeam) that is widely used in the atmospheric modeling community. QuickBeam is featured in the November 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Photo of StephensGraeme Stephens

Graeme Stephens' research activities focus on atmospheric radiation and on the application of remote sensing in climate research, with particular emphasis on understanding the role of hydrological processes in climate change. His work has dealt with the derivation of cloud properties from both space borne and aircraft measurements and the application of this information to problems of better understanding the physical processes that define the Earth's atmosphere.

Stephens is currently the principal investigator on NASA's CloudSat mission; a distinguished visiting scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; and a science team member on the Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes Project at Colorado State University. His committee involvements include co-investigator of NASA's Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) mission, member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center Climate Panel, member of the National Academy of Sciences Climate Change Feedbacks Working Group, member of NOAA’s Climate and Global Change Advisory Panel, and member of the U.S. National Academy of Science - Committee on Earth Sciences (CES). He has also remained as a member on several other advisory panels for over a decade through his dedication to the atmospheric science community.