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Tristan L'Ecuyer

Tristan L’Ecuyer became Director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Jan. 1, 2019.  L’Ecuyer joined the faculty of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) in August 2011.  He leads a dynamic team of enthusiastic graduate students and talented researchers who collectively seek to understand the key processes underlying our changing climate.  Prior to joining AOS and CIMSS, L’Ecuyer worked as a research scientist at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, CO.  He received his PhD in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2001 and holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Physics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

L’Ecuyer’s passion lies in discovering novel approaches for extracting the wealth of information provided by today’s Earth observing satellites.  Through state-of-the-art retrieval algorithms and creative approaches to data mining, he seeks a better understanding of the key processes that drive the climate system with the goal of improving how they are represented in climate models.  L’Ecuyer has more than 20 years of experience designing, implementing, validating, and analyzing global satellite datasets. He has developed several new global satellite datasets including rainfall, snowfall, and radiative fluxes from NASA’s CloudSat satellite mission, the first cloud radar flown in space.  L’Ecuyer currently leads the Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-Infrared Experiment (PREFIRE), a NASA Earth Ventures mission that will use CubeSat’s to fill a substantial gap in understanding energy exchanges in the Arctic and Antarctica.

L’Ecuyer’s ongoing research lies at the intersection of satellite remote sensing and climate science.  Students and researchers in his Atmospheric Radiation and Climate Research Group use satellite observations, data from regional field projects, and simulations from state-of-the-art models, to improve climate predictions by revealing the processes that govern atmospheric energy balance and the global water cycle.  His group is pioneering new methods for measuring snow from space, helping to realize the full potential of solar energy, quantifying the influence of aerosol particles on warm clouds and rainfall, and documenting the causes of rapid Arctic climate change.  L’Ecuyer is a member of the NASA CloudSat/CALIPSO Science and Precipitation Measurement Mission (PMM) science teams.  He chairs the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) Data Analysis Panel (GDAP) and serves on numerous NASA and NOAA advisory panels.  L’Ecuyer recently led a field experiment to document the factors that influence the snowfall characteristics in the Arctic (HiLaMS) and participated in an airborne field campaign to investigate interactions between biomass burning aerosols and clouds in the southeast Atlantic (ORACLES).

Polar Radiant Energy in the Far Infrared Experiment (PREFIRE)

CloudSat Mission

High Latitude Measurements of Snow (HiLaMS)

ObseRvations of Aerosols above Clouds (ORACLES)

The Atmospheric Radiation and Climate Research Group