Clouds of all different sizes and shapes make our weather interesting.  Although we know a great deal about how clouds form and why, there is still a much we do not.  Clouds present many challenges to our understanding them scientifically, but therein lies the fun.  My research asks fundamental questions about the physical processes that are responsible for making clouds behave in the way they do.  These processes are of many types and occur on the smallest scales of the moisture balance of individual water droplets to the largest scales of global energy and balance.  I try to integrate existing theories from a variety of research sub-disciplines to create a rectified theory of clouds and convection in Earth’s atmosphere (especially in the moist tropics).  My work uses three main tools…

  1. Satellites: Satellites provide a view of clouds that we simply cannot have from down here on Earth.  They look down from space in a variety of wavelengths visible and invisible to the human eye in order to provide a global perspective of clouds.   For details.
  2. Models: Because of the complexity inherent in the real-world atmosphere, we often need to create computer simulations of cloudy atmospheres to better understand their behavior.  Cloud models provide the ability to examine physical processes within clouds with unparalleled fidelity.  For details.
  3. Pens and Paper: The heart of the scientific enterprise is mathematics.  Plus, math is fun, right?  For details.