Distinguished Lecture Series: Dr. Thomas Painter
A snow hydrologist's apology: Ruining the mystery of mountain snows
Abstract: Despite snow covered area being the first imaged geophysical retrieval from space over 50 years ago, the mysteries of snow have remained elusive in the walled mountains. With climate changing due to radiative forcing by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and absorptive black carbon and dust, snow finds itself as an innocent child victim at the war’s frontline. The global manifest losses of snow and glaciers have compelled us to peel back snow’s mysteries and, with some irony, we can no longer stare at the mountains simply to absorb their isolated beauty. Our community is now on track to determine the controls on snowmelt, the impacts of soot from industrialization, the impacts of dust from land disturbance and desertification, and ultimately the distribution of the very quantity that allows our civilization of the Western US and elsewhere on Earth – snow water equivalent. Here I will speak to the unveiling of snow’s mysteries through remote sensing advances, modeling advances, and the burn of the snow hydrologist’s missions to measure in the highest mountains.
Bio: Dr. Thomas Painter is a Research Scientist in the Water and Carbon Cycles Group, in the Earth Sciences Section, an Adjunct Professor of Geography at UCLA, Visiting Associate Researcher in the Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering (JIFRESSE) at UCLA, and Adjunct Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah. His principle research interests lie in snow hydrology and water resources, energy balance of snow and ice, radiative forcing by light absorbing impurities in snow and ice, imaging spectroscopy and multispectral remote sensing, and planetary ices. He joined JPL in 2010.
Dr. Painter is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the European Geosciences Union, International Glaciological Society, and Western Snow Conference. He is Chairman and organizer of the Working Group on Light-Absorbing Impurities in Snow and Ice. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Cryosphere Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union.