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

Jake J. Gristey

Research Interests

I am fascinated by the natural world. At the most fundamental level, my research interest is to shed some light on "How does it all work?".

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 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 four years are the warmest since 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.

I have a particular interest in space-bourne observing system capabilities for top-of-atmosphere energy flows (i.e. Earth's Radiation Budget: ERB). Rather concerningly, the future of ERB observations is somewhat uncertain. As the community explores various routes to ensure continuity of ERB observations, I am interested in new opportunities that may arise to increse the value of these observations. For example, by exploring the sampling provided by various satellite orbits, and the spectral characteristics of the observations themselves.

Current Research

Since September 2018 I have been working as a research scientist under the Atmospheric Science for Renewable Energy (ASRE) program at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. The aim of this work is to use observations and Large Eddy Simulation in shallow cumulus conditions at the ARM Southern Great Plains site to understand the processes controlling surface solar irradiance variability. Initial results have highlighted intriguing relationships between high-order cloud field properties and the surface cloud radiative effect, as well as a larger than expected importance of 3-D radiative effects on the surface energy budget. Publications concerning these new findings are in preparation and will emerge in the literature in the near future.