Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

R. Michael Hardesty

Research Interests

My research interests center around development, evaluation, and application of optical remote sensing techniques to investigate atmospheric processes. Lidar techniques can be used to investigate a broad range of phenomena, including boundary layer dynamics, winds and turbulence, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. My colleagues and I deploy lidars to obtain measurements from a variety of stationary and moving platforms, including surface vehicles, ships, aircraft, and satellites. Results of this research improve understanding, modeling, and forecasting of weather and climate processes, identify sources of particulate and gaseous air pollution, and enhance renewable energy production.

Current Research

My current research is focused on developing and deploying a Doppler lidar in space to measure wind profiles globally. Currently, observations of wind profiles come primarily from radiosondes and aircraft, and are concentrated over land masses and in the northern hemisphere. Scatterometer and atmospheric motion vectors provide additional wind information but are limited in vertical extent. Observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) indicate that space-based Doppler wind measurements assimilated into numerical forecast models will significantly improve short and medium range weather forecasts as well as reanalysis data sets used in climate studies. Working with Ball Aerospace and a CIRES postdoc, we have been investigating the performance and potential for space deployment of an Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar (OAWL) based on a Mach-Zender interferometer to measure Doppler shift. The instrument was developed at Ball and tested on a NASA WB-57 aircraft during the summer of 2016 (Figure 1). The OAWL instrument concept is potentially well-suited for a space mission, offering the capability of measuring winds based on scatter of laser light from both molecules and aerosols using one laser transmitter and a single receiver. Primary goal of the WB-57 flights was to assess the accuracy and precision of the instrument and to verify the model used to estimate performance of such a lidar from space. Dropsondes deployed during each flight provided comparison observations to assess accuracy of the lidar measurements.

The aircraft campaign demonstrated the feasibility of the OAWL design to provide space-based, global wind measurements and served as the basis for a proposal to NASA to deploy a Doppler lidar on the International Space Station.  A somewhat similar concept for space-based wind measurements has been implemented by the European Space Agency for their Aeolus wind-measuring mission (Figure 2).  The Aeolus satellite was launched in August, 2018, and has been providing observations of atmospheric winds from that time.  Because this is the first wind lidar in space, an important component of the mission is validation and assessment of instrument performance.  The Aeolus project has assembled an international team to calibrate and validate the wind measurements, and to assess the impact of the data for improving weather forecasts.  I serve as Principal Investigator for the US team working on Aeolus calibration and validation, coordinating efforts among NASA, NOAA and external partners.  The effort includes aircraft and ground-based measurement campaigns, in which Doppler lidar measurements are obtained for direct comparison with Aeolus observations, comparison of Aeolus measurements with winds calculated from tracking cloud and moisture features in satellite images, and assimilation of Aeolus measurements into current numerical forecast models to evaluate forecast impact.  Results of these efforts will be used to assess Aeolus performance and to plan future US missions for measuring winds from space-based platforms.



Artist’s conception of Aeolus spacecraft

Artist’s conception of the Aeolus spacecraft. The instrument measures the radial component of the wind along a single line-of-sight directed transverse to the spacecraft motion (European Space Agency).

wind plot

Wind speed (top) and direction (bottom) measured by OAWL Doppler lidar deployed on a NASA WB-57 research aircraft. Bold lines show co-located dropsonde measurements. (Baidar et al, J. Atmosphere. Ocean. Tech, 2019)

View Publications

  • Wulfmeyer, V, DD Turner, B Baker, R Banta, A Behrendt, T Bonin, WA Brewer, M Buban, A Choukulkar, E Dumas, RM Hardesty, T Heus, J Ingwersen, D Lange, TR Lee, S Metzendorf, SK Muppa, T Meyers, R Newsom, M Osman, S Raasch, J Santanello, C Senff, F Spath, T Wagner and T Weckwerth (2018), A NEW RESEARCH APPROACH FOR OBSERVING AND CHARACTERIZING LAND-ATMOSPHERE FEEDBACK. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 99 (8) 1639-1667, issn: 0003-0007, ids: GT5PB, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0009.1
  • Banta, RM, YL Pichugina, WA Brewer, EP James, JB Olson, SG Benjamin, JR Carley, L Bianco, IV Djalalova, JM Wilczak, RM Hardesty, J Cline and MC Marquis (2018), Evaluating and improving NWP forecast models for the fututre: How the Needs of Offshore Wind Energy Can Point the Way. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 99 (6) 1155-1176, issn: 0003-0007, ids: GL6FH, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0310.1
  • Baidar, S, SC Tucker, M Beaubien and RM Hardesty (2018), The Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar. Part II: Green OAWL (GrOAWL) Airborne Performance and Validation. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 35 (10) 2099-2116, issn: 0739-0572, ids: GX7PP, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-18-0025.1
  • Tucker, SC, CS Weimer, S Baidar and RM Hardesty (2018), The Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar. Part I: OAWL Instrument Development and Demonstration. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 35 (10) 2079-2097, issn: 0739-0572, ids: GX7PP, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-18-0024.1
  • Bonin, TA, BJ Carroll, RM Hardesty, WA Brewer, K Hajny, OE Salmon and PB Shepson (2018), Doppler Lidar Observations of the Mixing Height in Indianapolis Using an Automated Composite Fuzzy Logic Approach. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 35 (3) 473-490, issn: 0739-0572, ids: GB5MB, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-17-0159.1
  • Pichugina, YL, WA Brewer, RM Banta, A Choukulkar, CTM Clack, MC Marquis, BJ McCarty, AM Weickmann, SP Sandberg, RD Marchbanks and RM Hardesty (2017), Properties of the offshore low level jet and rotor layer wind shear as measured by scanning Doppler Lidar. Wind Energy Version: 1 20 (6) 987-1002, issn: 1095-4244, ids: EU2LM, doi: 10.1002/we.2075
  • Deng, AJ, T Lauvaux, KJ Davis, BJ Gaudet, N Miles, SJ Richardson, K Wu, DP Sarmiento, RM Hardesty, TA Bonin, WA Brewer and KR Gurney (2017), Toward reduced transport errors in a high resolution urban CO2 inversion system. Elementa-Sci. Anthrop. Version: 1 5 , Art. No. 20, issn: 2325-1026, ids: EV9PM, doi: 10.1525/elementa.133
  • Heimburger, AMF, RM Harvey, PB Shepson, BH Stirm, C Gore, J Turnbull, MOL Cambaliza, OE Salmon, AEM Kerlo, TN Lavoie, KJ Davis, T Lauvaux, A Karion, C Sweeney, WA Brewer, RM Hardesty and KR Gurney (2017), Assessing the optimized precision of the aircraft mass balance method for measurement of urban greenhouse gas emission rates through averaging. Elementa-Sci. Anthrop. Version: 1 5 , Art. No. 26, issn: 2325-1026, ids: EX8XW, doi: 10.1525/elementa.134
  • Choukulkar, A, WA Brewer, SP Sandberg, A Weickmann, TA Bonin, RM Hardesty, JK Lundquist, R Delgado, GV Iungo, R Ashton, M Debnath, L Bianco, JM Wilczak, S Oncley and D Wolfe (2017), Evaluation of single and multiple Doppler lidar techniques to measure complex flow during the XPIA field campaign. Atmos. Meas. Tech. Version: 1 10 (1) 247-264, issn: 1867-1381, ids: EM6BK, doi: 10.5194/amt-10-247-2017
  • Sarmiento, DP, KJ Davis, AJ Deng, T Lauvaux, A Brewer and M Hardesty (2017), A comprehensive assessment of land surface-atmosphere interactions in a WRF/Urban modeling system for Indianapolis, IN. Elementa-Sci. Anthrop. Version: 1 5 , Art. No. 23, issn: 2325-1026, ids: EV9PL, doi: 10.1525/elementa.132
  • Davis, KJ, AJ Deng, T Lauvaux, NL Miles, SJ Richardson, DP Sarmiento, KR Gurney, RM Hardesty, TA Bonin, WA Brewer, BK Lamb, PB Shepson, RM Harvey, MO Cambaliza, C Sweeney, JC Turnbull, J Whetstone and A Karion (2017), The Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX): A test-bed for developing urban greenhouse gas emission measurements. Elementa-Sci. Anthrop. Version: 1 5 , Art. No. 21, issn: 2325-1026, ids: EV9PO, doi: 10.1525/elementa.188
  • Wulfmeyer, V, SK Muppa, A Behrendt, E Hammann, F Spath, Z Sorbjan, DD Turner and RM Hardesty (2016), Determination of Convective Boundary Layer Entrainment Fluxes, Dissipation Rates, and the Molecular Destruction of Variances: Theoretical Description and a Strategy for Its Confirmation with a Novel Lidar System Synergy. J. Atmos. Sci. Version: 1 73 (2) 667-692, issn: 0022-4928, ids: DH8DW, doi: 10.1175/JAS-D-14-0392.1
  • Choukulkar, A, Y Pichugina, CTM Clack, R Calhoun, R Banta, A Brewer and M Hardesty (2016), A new formulation for rotor equivalent wind speed for wind resource assessment and wind power forecasting. Wind Energy Version: 1 19 (8) 1439-1452, issn: 1095-4244, ids: DR5YA, doi: 10.1002/we.1929
  • Banta, RM, YL Pichugina, WA Brewer, JK Lundquist, ND Kelley, SP Sandberg, RJ Alvarez, RM Hardesty and AM Weickmann (2015), 3D Volumetric Analysis of Wind Turbine Wake Properties in the Atmosphere Using High-Resolution Doppler Lidar. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 32 (5) 904-914, issn: 0739-0572, ids: CI5DF, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-14-00078.1
  • Karion, A, C Sweeney, EA Kort, PB Shepson, A Brewer, M Cambaliza, SA Conley, K Davis, AJ Deng, M Hardesty, SC Herndon, T Lauvaux, T Lavoie, D Lyon, T Newberger, G Petron, C Rella, M Smith, S Wolter, TI Yacovitch and P Tans (2015), Aircraft-Based Estimate of Total Methane Emissions from the Barnett Shale Region. Environ. Sci. Technol. Version: 1 49 (13) 8124-8131, issn: 0013-936X, ids: CM6ZN, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b00217, PubMed ID: 26148550
  • Atlas, R, RN Hoffman, ZZ Ma, GD Emmitt, SA Wood, S Greco, S Tucker, L Bucci, B Annane, RM Hardesty and S Murillo (2015), Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) to Evaluate the Potential Impact of an Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar (OAWL) on Numerical Weather Prediction. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 32 (9) 1593-1613, issn: 0739-0572, ids: CR5EY, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-15-0038.1
  • Wulfmeyer, V, RM Hardesty, DD Turner, A Behrendt, MP Cadeddu, P Di Girolamo, P Schlussel, J Van Baelen and F Zus (2015), A review of the remote sensing of lower tropospheric thermodynamic profiles and its indispensable role for the understanding and the simulation of water and energy cycles. Rev. Geophys. Version: 1 53 (3) 819-895, issn: 8755-1209, ids: CU2GY, doi: 10.1002/2014RG000476
  • Abari, CF, XZ Chu, RM Hardesty and J Mann (2015), A reconfigurable all-fiber polarization-diversity coherent Doppler lidar: principles and numerical simulations. Appl. Optics Version: 1 54 (30) 8999-9009, issn: 1559-128X, ids: CU1VZ, doi: 10.1364/AO.54.008999, PubMed ID: 26560390
  • Baidar, S, RM Hardesty, SW Kim, AO Langford, H Oetjen, CJ Senff, M Trainer and R Volkamer (2015), Weakening of the weekend ozone effect over Californias South Coast Air Basin. Geophys. Res. Lett. Version: 1 42 (21) 9457-9464, issn: 0094-8276, ids: DB2KK, doi: 10.1002/2015GL066419
  • Petron, G, A Karion, C Sweeney, BR Miller, SA Montzka, GJ Frost, M Trainer, P Tans, A Andrews, J Kofler, D Helmig, D Guenther, E Dlugokencky, P Lang, T Newberger, S Wolter, B Hall, P Novelli, A Brewer, S Conley, M Hardesty, R Banta, A White, D Noone, D Wolfe and R Schnell (2014), A new look at methane and nonmethane hydrocarbon emissions from oil and natural gas operations in the Colorado Denver-Julesburg Basin. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 119 (11) 6836-6852, issn: 2169-897X, ids: AJ8RK, doi: 10.1002/2013JD021272
  • Baker, WE, R Atlas, C Cardinali, A Clement, GD Emmitt, BM Gentry, RM Hardesty, E Kallen, MJ Kavaya, R Langland, ZZ Ma, M Masutani, W McCarty, RB Pierce, ZX Pu, LP Riishojgaard, J Ryan, S Tucker, M Weissmann and JG Yoe (2014), LIDAR-MEASURED WIND PROFILES The Missing Link in the Global Observing System. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 95 (4) 543-564, issn: 0003-0007, ids: AI8MK, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00164.1
  • Banta, RM, YL Pichugina, ND Kelley, RM Hardesty and WA Brewer (2013), WIND ENERGY METEOROLOGY: Insight into Wind Properties in the Turbine-Rotor Layer of the Atmosphere from High-Resolution Doppler Lidar. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 94 (6) 883-902, issn: 0003-0007, ids: 175TK, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00057.1
  • Neely, RR, M Hayman, R Stillwell, JP Thayer, RM Hardesty, M O'Neill, MD Shupe and C Alvarez (2013), Polarization Lidar at Summit, Greenland, for the Detection of Cloud Phase and Particle Orientation. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 30 (8) 1635-1655, issn: 0739-0572, ids: 207XM, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-12-00101.1
  • Ryerson, TB, AE Andrews, WM Angevine, TS Bates, CA Brock, B Cairns, RC Cohen, OR Cooper, JA de Gouw, FC Fehsenfeld, RA Ferrare, ML Fischer, RC Flagan, AH Goldstein, JW Hair, RM Hardesty, CA Hostetler, JL Jimenez, AO Langford, E McCauley, SA McKeen, LT Molina, A Nenes, SJ Oltmans, DD Parrish, JR Pederson, RB Pierce, K Prather, PK Quinn, JH Seinfeld, CJ Senff, A Sorooshian, J Stutz, JD Surratt, M Trainer, R Volkamer, EJ Williams and SC Wofsy (2013), The 2010 California Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change (CalNex) field study. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 118 (11) 5830-5866, issn: 2169-897X, ids: 228TG, doi: 10.1002/jgrd.50331
  • Karion, A, C Sweeney, G Petron, G Frost, RM Hardesty, J Kofler, BR Miller, T Newberger, S Wolter, R Banta, A Brewer, E Dlugokencky, P Lang, SA Montzka, R Schnell, P Tans, M Trainer, R Zamora and S Conley (2013), Methane emissions estimate from airborne measurements over a western United States natural gas field. Geophys. Res. Lett. Version: 1 40 (16) 4393-4397, issn: 0094-8276, ids: 219SI, doi: 10.1002/grl.50811
  • Langford, AO, J Brioude, OR Cooper, CJ Senff, RJ Alvarez, RM Hardesty, BJ Johnson and SJ Oltmans (2012), Stratospheric influence on surface ozone in the Los Angeles area during late spring and early summer of 2010. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 117 , Art. No. D00V06, issn: 2169-897X, ids: 887WB, doi: 10.1029/2011JD016766
  • Alvarez, RJ, CJ Senff, AO Langford, AM Weickmann, DC Law, JL Machol, DA Merritt, RD Marchbanks, SP Sandberg, WA Brewer, RM Hardesty and RM Banta (2011), Development and Application of a Compact, Tunable, Solid-State Airborne Ozone Lidar System for Boundary Layer Profiling. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 28 (10) 1258-1272, issn: 0739-0572, ids: 843FP, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-10-05044.1
  • Langford, AO, CJ Senff, RJ Alvarez, RM Banta, RM Hardesty, DD Parrish and TB Ryerson (2011), Comparison between the TOPAZ Airborne Ozone Lidar and In Situ Measurements during TexAQS 2006. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 28 (10) 1243-1257, issn: 0739-0572, ids: 843FP, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-10-05043.1
  • Banta, RM, CJ Senff, RJ Alvarez, AO Langford, DD Parrish, MK Trainer, LS Darby, RM Hardesty, B Lambeth, JA Neuman, WM Angevine, J Nielsen-Gammon, SP Sandberg and AB White (2011), Dependence of daily peak O-3 concentrations near Houston, Texas on environmental factors: Wind speed, temperature, and boundary-layer depth. Atmos. Environ. Version: 1 45 (1) 162-173, issn: 1352-2310, ids: 699PP, doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.09.030
  • Huang, WT, XZ Chu, J Wiig, B Tan, C Yamashita, T Yuan, J Yue, SD Harrell, CY She, BP Williams, JS Friedman and RM Hardesty (2009), Field demonstration of simultaneous wind and temperature measurements from 5 to 50 km with a Na double-edge magneto-optic filter in a multi-frequency Doppler lidar. Opt. Lett. Version: 1 34 (10) 1552-1554, issn: 0146-9592, ids: 458YB, doi: 10.1364/OL.34.001552, PubMed ID: 19448818
  • Tucker, SC, WA Brewer, RM Banta, CJ Senff, SP Sandberg, DC Law, AM Weickmann and RM Hardesty (2009), Doppler Lidar Estimation of Mixing Height Using Turbulence, Shear, and Aerosol Profiles. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 26 (4) 673-688, issn: 0739-0572, ids: 443ZN, doi: 10.1175/2008JTECHA1157.1
  • Langford, AO, CJ Senff, RM Banta, RM Hardesty, RJ Alvarez, SP Sandberg and LS Darby (2009), Regional and local background ozone in Houston during Texas Air Quality Study 2006. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 114 , Art. No. D00F12, issn: 2169-897X, ids: 466ED, doi: 10.1029/2008JD011687
  • Parrish, DD, DT Allen, TS Bates, M Estes, FC Fehsenfeld, G Feingold, R Ferrare, RM Hardesty, JF Meagher, JW Nielsen-Gammon, RB Pierce, TB Ryerson, JH Seinfeld and EJ Williams (2009), Overview of the Second Texas Air Quality Study (TexAQS II) and the Gulf of Mexico Atmospheric Composition and Climate Study (GoMACCS). J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 114 , Art. No. D00F13, issn: 2169-897X, ids: 469XW, doi: 10.1029/2009JD011842
  • Tollerud, EI, F Caracena, SE Koch, BD Jamison, RM Hardesty, BJ McCarty, C Kiemle, RS Collander, DL Bartels, S Albers, B Shaw, DL Birkenheuer and WA Brewer (2008), Mesoscale Moisture Transport by the Low-Level Jet during the IHOP Field Experiment. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 136 (10) 3781-3795, issn: 0027-0644, ids: 361YO, doi: 10.1175/2008MWR2421.1
  • Chai, TF, GR Carmichael, YH Tang, A Sandu, M Hardesty, P Pilewskie, S Whitlow, EV Browell, MA Avery, P Nedelec, JT Merrill, AM Thompson and E Williams (2007), Four-dimensional data assimilation experiments with International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation ozone measurements. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 112 (D12) , Art. No. D12S15, issn: 2169-897X, ids: 173AZ, doi: 10.1029/2006JD007763
  • Kiemle, C, WA Brewer, G Ehret, RM Hardesty, A Fix, C Senff, M Wirth, G Poberaj and MA LeMone (2007), Latent heat flux profiles from collocated airborne water vapor and wind lidars during IHOP_2002. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. Version: 1 24 (4) 627-639, issn: 0739-0572, ids: 157TC, doi: 10.1175/JTECH1997.1
  • Fehsenfeld, FC, G Ancellet, TS Bates, AH Goldstein, RM Hardesty, R Honrath, KS Law, AC Lewis, R Leaitch, S McKeen, J Meagher, DD Parrish, AAP Pszenny, PB Russell, H Schlager, J Seinfeld, R Talbot and R Zbinden (2006), International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation (ICARTT): North America to Europe - Overview of the 2004 summer field study. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. Version: 1 111 (D23) , Art. No. D23S01, issn: 2169-897X, ids: 118LC, doi: 10.1029/2006JD007829
  • Flamant, C, P Drobinski, L Nance, R Banta, L Darby, J Dusek, M Hardesty, J Pelon and E Richard (2002), Gap flow in an Alpine valley during a shallow south fohn event: Observations, numerical simulations and hydraulic analogue. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 128 (582) 1173-1210, issn: 0035-9009, ids: 564XR, doi: 10.1256/003590002320373256