Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University

The thread that runs through all of my group's research is the water molecule. In its vapor form, water is our atmosphere's most important greenhouse gas. In the form of clouds, it represents another powerful moderator of our climate. Few constituents are as important to the atmosphere, as hard to understand, or as interesting. The complexity of water and its multiple interconnections with other parts of the atmospheric/oceanic system means that water cannot be studied by itself, but must be understood as part of a larger, more complex system. In all cases, the goal of our work is two-fold: improve our understanding of the physics of the atmosphere, and provide "yardsticks" with which to test of the validity and accuracy of global climate models.

I spent 2000 as a Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. While there, I became aware of a profound lack of understanding among policymakers and the general public about how science works and how to interpret the conflicting claims one often hears in policy debates. Based on that experience, I wrote a book that uses examples from the climate change arena to explain how science is used and misused in the policy arena.

I spent most of my early career studying the chemistry of the stratosphere. This included working on balloon- and aircraft-borne water vapor and ozone instruments as well as analyzing satellite measurements of the trace species that control stratospheric ozone chemistry. I still have a keen interest in stratospheric water vapor, but I have not worked on stratospheric ozone chemistry in a long, long time.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University