Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Particle Scattering and Absorption Properties: Fundamentals, Measurements and Applications

The second Maniac Talk was given by Vanderlei Martins On Friday October 28, 2011, an Associate Professor at UMBC and an expert on the measurement of the properties of atmospheric aerosol particles.

Vanderlei gave a good overview of the jargon used to describe the scattering and absorption properties of aerosol particles, and described the different spectral radiative behaviours of various important aerosol types, such as black carbon and dust, and mixtures. He then described current and forthcoming techniques for the measurement of such properties, such as the scattering phase matrix and absorption coefficient, in situ. As many of us are involved in remote sensing work which requires assumptions about the radiative properties of aerosol particles, these in situ measurements are a vital source of such constraints. Vanderlei did an excellent job at connecting these two worlds.  (Andy)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The big unknowns in clouds and their influence on climate

Have you ever travelled back in time?  We at GESTAR/Goddard did when Warren Wiscombe gave the inaugural GESTAR 'Maniac Talk' on October 26th, 2011. Warren lead us down his memory lanes showing us several exciting milestones of his career. Starting from the days when  size distribution of rain drops was measured by collecting raindrops on special materials and actually counting drops of different sizes to the largest global change research program, called Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and the currently proposed IRIDIUM constellation, Warren narrated the successes and failures of several scientific ideas over the past decades. He talked about current issues in the field and said that The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) is one example of how ideas can materialize even after a decade! The talk was very inspiring and as advice to young scientists, Warren offered the suggestion that taking risks can lead to unexpected scientific rewards, although you should not expect to meet with success every time. Warren is a world-renowned expert and leader in many aspects of radiative transfer, clouds physics and climate modeling and we were very pleased to have him as a speaker.The intent of the Maniac talks is to provide an informal overview of some scientific topic related to the research work we do and to discuss the fundamental principles of the underlying science. 
(Andy and Falguni)