My current scientific interests include: land surface processes & climate science; remote sensing & 'atmospheric correction of orbital imaging data'; Mars, planetary science & astrobiology; methane hydrates & climate science; computer vision & data mining.
My current collaborations include: LANDWISE (LAND Management in lowland catchments for Integrated flood riSk rEduction), JLMP (Joint Land Modelling Programme) project of the UK, the Cocoa and Climate group at the U. of Reading, PORCELAIN (PORtrayal of ChinesE Land Atmosphere INteractions) project, TAMSAT (Tropical Applications of Meteorology using SATellite data and ground-based observations), NCAS Climate, NCAS CMS (Computational Modelling Services), and the Land Surface Processes research cluster at the University of Reading. I have a side-project with people from Exeter (University of Exeter and the Met Office) on modeling land-surface processes on Mars-like planets.
From 2013-2016, I was located at the Freie Universität Berlin, working in the Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing Group on making global mosaics of HRSC images of Mars. I also organized 'The Afternoon Balloons' seminar series and 'The FUB Internal GeoSymposium' (FUB IGS) in the Department of Earth Sciences. From 2008-2019, I spent part of my time as a consultant to the CRISM Science Team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, working on Phase II of the radiative-transfer-based atmospheric-correction software for multispectral mapping of minerals on Mars. This Phase II atmosphere-correction software uses CRISM EPF measurements of the dust aerosols. Our Phase I atmospheric-correction software (for an open-access version of this 2008 paper, see the preprint in arxiv) used historical TES climatology for the dust and ice aerosols. I also improved the standard 'volcano-scan' algorithm for correcting CRISM and OMEGA hyperspectral images for absorption by atmospheric CO2 gas. This improvement to the volcano-scan algorithm was published in 2009 (for an open access version of this paper, see our arxiv preprint), and has been used by a significant number of researchers for atmospheric correction of their CRISM images of the Martian surface (including the work by Ojha et al. (2015), where hydrated salt minerals (i.e., perchlorates) were identified in the RSL dark slope streaks on Mars, which confirms the hypothesis that flowing liquid water is responsible for the RSL dark slope streak formation).
From 2012-2013, I was at West Virginia University, in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering, where I modeled natural gas production from methane hydrate deposits, as well as the possibility of sequestering carbon dioxide in the hydrate deposits, both at the Ignik Sikumi site on the North Slope of Alaska. From 2009-2011, I worked at the University of Chicago, in the Dept. of Geophysical Sciences, where I focused on estimating the impacts of global warming upon deposits of methane hydrates under the sea. I also developed and taught a course on the "Science of Sustainability" (a course in which I focused on the global warming issue) in the Leadership in Sustainability Management Program at the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.
Previously (2000-2005), I worked in Bielefeld, Germany, where I built robots for developing human-machine cooperation and where I did neural networks and complex systems research, and in Madrid, Spain, where I built computer vision systems for astrobiological exploration (a.k.a., the 'Cyborg Astrobiologist' project') (here's the open-access preprint), a project that I continue till today (open-access preprint). I moved to Saint Louis in 2005, and until 2008 I was a Senior Research Fellow at the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences. In Saint Louis, I worked on the CRISM hyperspectral imager on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, particularly on correcting CRISM's images and spectra for atmospheric effects (open-access preprint). From 2008-2010, I was a Humboldt Research Fellow, spending part of each year at the Freie Universität Berlin, working on making regional maps with CRISM and OMEGA data of hydrated minerals of the Martian surface, in order to understand better the paleoclimate and the current climate of Mars.
I grew up in Central Illinois, going on to the University of Chicago to study Physics and Mathematics, where I completed my senior honors thesis on Solar-Energy Optics in 1989. From there, I moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I finished my doctoral studies at the University of Arizona in 1994 in Physics (Dark Matter Astrophysics as my major, and Neural Networks and Complex Systems as my minor). I worked for several years after that in the finance and optics industries, as well as for several years in the Astronomy Department at the University of Arizona, where I helped to build adaptive optics systems and large ground-based optical/infrared telescopes.
Department of Meteorology, and
Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences
University of Reading