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+ SG Home > Earth Science Division > Atmospheric Science Branch Staff > Kirk Knobelspiesse
Earth Science Directory: Staff

Kirk Knobelspiesse

MS: 245-5


Dr. Knobelspiesse conceptualizes instrument systems for the optical remote sensing of parameters relevant to the Earth’s climate. This includes expertise in radiative transfer computations, algorithm development and validation with observations in the field.  Specific areas of interest have been the polarimetric remote sensing of aerosols and clouds, and the atmospheric correction required for ocean color observations.

Education: Ph.D., Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, NY. Thesis title: “Atmospheric aerosol optical property retrieval with scanning polarimeters.” 2011

M.S., Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, NY 2007

M.S., Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 2000

B.S., Imaging and Photographic Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 1998

Experience: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, 2012 - present

Physical Scientist in the Atmospheric Science Branch of the Earth Science Division.

  NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, 2011-2012
  • NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, Advisor: Dr. Michael Mishchenko.
  • Investigated polarimetric aerosol and cloud remote sensing algorithms and impact of measurement characteristics on retrieval uncertainty.
  Columbia University / NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, 2006-2010

Graduate research assistant to Dr. Brian Cairns, funded by the NASA Glory Mission

  NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Greenbelt, MD,2000-2004
  • Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) Project: performed daily quality control checks and participated in calibration and validation activities.
  • Sensor Intercomparison and Merger for Biological and Interdisciplinary Oceanic Studies (SIMBIOS) Project: assisted ocean color remote sensing validation activities by maintaining, calibrating and deploying sun photometers for use in the field. Participated in oceanographic research cruises.
Honors: National Science Foundation, Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, Fellow, 2004-2009
  National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Group Achievement awards for the ARCTAS field campaign (2009), INTEX-B field campaign (2008) and SIMBIOS Project (2003).

Ottavani, M., K. Knobelspiesse, B. Cairns, and M. Mishchenko. 2013. Information content of aerosol retrievals in the sunglint region. Geophys. Res. Lett., 40: 631-634.
Zhai, P.-W., Y. Hu, C.A. Hostetler, B. Cairns, R.A. Ferrare, K.D. Knobelspiesse, D.B. Josset, C.R. Trepte, P.L. Lucker, and J. Chowdhary, 2013: Uncertainty and interpretation of aerosol remote sensing due to vertical inhomogeneity. J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer, 114, 91-100.
Chowdhary, J., B. Cairns, F. Waquet, K. Knobelspiesse, M. Ottaviani, J. Redemann, L. Travis, and M. Mishchenko, 2012: Sensitivity of multiangle, multispectral polarimetric remote sensing over open oceans to water-leaving radiance: Analyses of RSP data acquired during the MILAGRO campaign. Remote Sens. Environ., 118, 284-308, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2011.11.003.
Knobelspiesse, K., B. Cairns, M. Mishchenko, J. Chowdhary, K. Tsigaridis, B. van Diedenhoven, W. Martin, M. Ottaviani, and M. Alexandrov, 2012: Analysis of fine-mode aerosol retrieval capabilities by different passive remote sensing instrument designs. Opt. Express, 20, 21457-21484, doi:10.1364/OE.20.021457.
Ottaviani, M., B. Cairns, J. Chowdhary, B. van Diedenhoven, K. Knobelspiesse, C. Hostetler, R. Ferrare, S. Burton, J. Hair, M.D. Obland, and R. Rogers, 2012: Polarimetric retrievals of surface and cirrus clouds properties in the region affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Remote Sens. Environ., 121, 389-403, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2012.02.016.
Knobelspiesse, K., B. Cairns, M. Ottaviani, R. Ferrare, J. Hair, C. Hostetler, M. Obland, R. Rogers, J. Redemann, Y. Shinozuka, A. Clarke, S. Freitag, S. Howell, V. Kapustin, and C. McNaughton, 2011: Combined retrievals of boreal forest fire aerosol properties with a polarimeter and lidar. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 7045-7067, doi:10.5194/acp-11-7045-2011.
Knobelspiesse, K., B. Cairns, J. Redemann, R.W. Bergstrom, and A. Stohl, 2011: Simultaneous retrieval of aerosol and cloud properties during the MILAGRO field campaign. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 6245-6263, doi:10.5194/acp-11-6245-2011.
Cairns, B., F. Waquet, K. Knobelspiesse, J. Chowdhary, and J.-L. Deuzé, 2009: Polarimetric remote sensing of aerosols over land surfaces. In Satellite Aerosol Remote Sensing over Land. A.A. Kokhanovsky and G. De Leeuw, Eds., Springer-Praxis Books in Environmental Sciences. Springer, pp. 295-325, doi:10.1007/978-3-540-69397-0_10.
Waquet, F., B. Cairns, K. Knobelspiesse, J. Chowdhary, L.D. Travis, B. Schmid, and M.I. Mishchenko, 2009: Polarimetric remote sensing of aerosols over land. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D01206, doi:10.1029/2008JD010619.
Knobelspiesse, K.D., B. Cairns, B. Schmid, M.O. Román, and C.B. Schaaf, 2008: Surface BRDF estimation from an aircraft compared to MODIS and ground estimates at the Southern Great Plains site. J. Geophys. Res., 113, D20105, doi:10.1029/2008JD010062.
Chu, D.A., L.A. Remer, Y.J. Kaufman, B. Schmid, J. Redemann, K. Knobelspiesse, J.D. Chern, J. Livingston, P.B. Russell, X. Xiong, and W. Ridgway, 2005: Evaluation of aerosol properties over ocean from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) during ACE-Asia. J. Geophys. Res., 110, D07308, doi:10.1029/2004JD005208.
Miller, M.A., K. Knobelspiesse, R. Frouin, M.J. Bartholomew, R.M. Reynolds, C. Pietras, G. Fargion, P. Quinn, and F. Thieuleux, 2005: Analysis of shipboard aerosol optical thickness measurements from multiple sunphotometers aboard the R/V Ronald H. Brown during the Aerosol Characterization Experiment-Asia. Appl. Opt., 44, 3805-3820, doi:10.1364/AO.44.003805.
Wang, M., K.D. Knobelspiesse, and C.R. McClain, 2005: Study of the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) aerosol optical property data over ocean in combination with the ocean color products. J. Geophys. Res., 110, D10S06, doi:10.1029/2004JD004950.
Knobelspiesse, K.D., C. Pietras, G.S. Fargion, M. Wang, R. Frouin, M.A. Miller, A. Subramaniam, and W.M. Balch, 2004: Maritime aerosol optical thickness measured by handheld sun photometers. Remote Sens. Environ., 93, 87-106, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2004.06.018.
Knobelspiesse, K.D., C. Pietras, and G.S. Fargion, 2003: Sun-pointing error correction for sea deployment of the MICROTOPS II handheld sun photometer. J. Atmos. Ocean Tech., 20, no. 5, 767-772.

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