Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Jen Kay

Associate Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Headshot of Jen Kay
  • Ph.D., University of Washington, 2006
Office Location
SEEC - N274
Also on the web

Research Interests

Dr. Jen Kay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and a Fellow of CIRES at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Kay remains a visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, where she worked prior to joining CU Boulder. Dr. Kay works at the nexus of observations and models to understand climate change and variability.  Dr. Kay’s research focuses on understanding the influence of radiation, clouds, precipitation, and sea ice processes on the globally coupled climate system.

Current Research

Process-based understanding of climate physics and dynamics

We have a number of active projects that combine models and observations to improve understanding of the processes controlling climate change and variability. For example, we are a part of a $35 million NASA Earth Ventures mission called Polar Radiant Energy in the Far Infrared Experiment (PREFIRE). Launching in 2024, we have two small CubeSat satellites to make measurements Arctic radiation at far-infrared wavelengths and improve understanding of Arctic energy budgets. With funding from the NASA CloudSat and CALIPSO science team, we assessing the observability of and the mechanisms underlying Arctic precipitation changes with global warming. With funding from NSF, we are investigating drivers of recent and projected Arctic warming.   Illustrative of our broad research interests, we also research science communication strategies including quantifying engagement in climate change science education and outreach.

Research Categories

Atmosphere, Climate and Weather, Cryosphere, Oceans

Research Images

Honors and Awards

2016: CESM Distinguished Achievement Award
2017: American Meteorological Society Henry G. Houghton Award
2018: Provost Faculty Achievement Award
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About CECA

CECA connects and creates a supportive environment for graduate students and postdocs who come from various academic units to do research in CIRES.