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

Jake J. Gristey

Research Interests

My research focuses on utilizing real-world observations and model simulations to understand how radiative energy flows into, out of, and within the Earth-atmosphere system. These radiative energy flows are ultimately responsible for driving virtually all atmospheric circulations (i.e. our weather) and determining longer term changes in the equilibrium state of Earth (i.e. our climate). Since our climate appears to be warming at an unprecedented rate (the most recent 9 years are the warmest since reliable modern records began), it has never been more important to understand the drivers of variability in Earth's energy flows so that we can use this knowledge to reliably predict and prepare for the future.

Current Research

Since September 2018 I have been working with NOAA's Atmospheric Science for Renewable Energy (ASRE) program. The aim of this work is to advance understanding of solar energy variability below shallow cumulus clouds. These cloudy conditions are very frequent but challenging to simulate in weather prediction models. Observations, fine-resolution simulations, and 3D radiation calculations are providing new process level understanding to inform the weather prediction model errors, ultimately leading to improved forecasts for solar renewable energy that society is becoming increasingly reliant on. 

Since September 2020 I have been working on the Libera project. Libera is a satellite mission selected by NASA, due to launch in the mid-to-late 2020s, to continue the crucial observations of the top-of-atmosphere energy flows (i.e. Earth's Radiation Budget: ERB). I am interested in the innovative capabilities that Libera will provide to advance ERB science, including a wide-field-of-view camera and a spectral separation of the reflected solar radiation. Algorithms are under development to ensure the full scientific potential of these new capabilities can be extracted once the satellite instrument is launched.