Research Interests

Giant planet atmospheres, planetary rings, extreme weather and climate change, radiative transfer, atmospheric dynamics, interferometry

Observations of Extreme Precipitation

My recent work focuses on extreme weather and its relationship with climate change on Earth as part of the CASCADE collaboration at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.  Understanding the response of the precipitation system to climate change is crucial for urban planners, civil engineers, and farmers, who design infrastructure and make decisions based on the amount of rain that will fall in an extreme event.  My most recent paper (link) made use of Doppler radar observations to improve the way rainfall is quantified, with a particular eye toward extreme rainfall events.  I’m now working on combining the radar data with ERA-5 reanalysis data and GOES satellite imaging to better understand why climate models tend to produce too little heavy precipitation.

Planetary Atmospheres

My previous work pursued a deeper understanding of the composition and dynamics of the tropospheres of Uranus, Neptune, and Titan. Observing an atmosphere across the electromagnetic spectrum from the visible to the radio reveals information about clouds, hazes, dust, absorbing gases, and temperature at different pressure levels; radiative transfer modeling provides the translation between an observed spectrum and these physical properties of interest.  The combination of radiative transfer modeling and multi-wavelength observations with cutting-edge (and sometimes amateur!) telescopes led me to (1) discover and characterize a unique storm at Neptune’s equator (link), (2) determine isotopic abundances and constrain chemical reaction pathways in Titan (link), and (3) determine the circulation pattern and gas abundances in Uranus’s middle troposphere (link).

Planetary Rings

I was awarded time to observe Uranus at millimeter wavelengths with the ALMA array, and accidentally imaged thermal emission from the Uranian ring system for the first time!  Some collaborators at the University of Leicester subsequently observed the rings’ thermal emission in the mid-infrared, so we wrote a paper together (link) in which we determined the temperature and filling factor of the rings.  In Cycle 8 we will observe the rings again at a factor of 10 higher resolution.

Climate & Impacts Research Hub

I co-organize Berkeley’s Climate and Impacts Research Hub, a monthly seminar and discussion group for early-career scientists focused on interdisciplinary research related to climate change impacts, adaptations, and solutions.  We host presentations on diverse topics ranging from “Indigenous Perspectives on Climate-Change-Driven Farm Expansion in the Arctic” to “Satellite Imaging for Identification of Major Methane Leaks.”