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 Earth Science: People
Nathaniel Livesey's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-701
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

Nathaniel Livesey
Principal Investigator, Aura Microwave Limb Sounder

Nathaniel Livesey is an atmospheric scientist and is currently the Principal Investigator for the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) instrument on the Earth Observing System Aura spacecraft, launched in 2004. His research interests are centered on microwave space based observations of the chemistry, hydrology and dynamics of Earth's atmosphere. Most of his work has focused on the MLS experiments both on Aura and the earlier Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) launched in 1991. Before becoming Aura MLS PI, he was responsible for the MLS 'retrieval' algorithms. These convert the raw observations of the microwave signature of the atmosphere into measurements of atmospheric composition, temperature, humidity, and cloud ice.

  • B.A. in Physics (Honors), Oxford University (1988-1991)
  • D.Phil (Ph.D equivalent) in Atmospheric Physics, Oxford University, England (1992-1995)

Research Interests
  • Remote sounding of the Earth's atmosphere with a particular focus on stratospheric and tropospheric chemistry and climate observations using a microwave limb sounding technique.
  • The implementation and use of 'retrieval' algorithms as applied to microwave limb sounding instruments.
  • EOS Microwave Limb Sounder observations of upper tropospheric O3, CO and stratospheric BrO.


MLS - Microwave Limb Sounder Icon MLS - Microwave Limb Sounder
The Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) experiments measure naturally-occurring microwave thermal emission from the limb (edge) of Earth's atmosphere to remotely sense vertical profiles of atmospheric gases, temperature, pressure, and cloud ice.

Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1996-Present)
    • Deputy Section Manager, Earth Atmospheric Science (2011-2014)
    • Principal Investigator, Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (2006-present)
    • Co-Investigator, Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (1998-2006)
    • Chair, Aura Algorithm Working Group (2000-2005)
    • Lead scientist for MLS 'retrieval algorithms' (1996-2005)

    Selected Awards
    • NASA Group Achievement Award Airborne Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder Team (2013)
    • NASA Group Achievement Award SMD American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Team (2011)
    • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (Design and implementation of the retrieval algorithms for Aura MLS) (2006)
    • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (Development of data processing algorithms that allowed reduction in UARS MLS operational power consumption) (1999)

    Selected Publications
    1. N. J. Livesey, L. J. Kovalenko, R. J. Salawitch, I. A. MacKenzie, M. P. Chipperfield, W. G. Read, R. F. Jarnot, and J. W. Waters. EOS Microwave Limb Sounder obser vations of upper stratospheric BrO: Implications for total bromine. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L20817, doi:10.1029/2006GL026930, 2006.
    2. N. J. Livesey, W. Van Snyder, W. G. Read, and P. A. Wagner. Retrieval algorithms for the EOS Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS). IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 44(5):1144?1155, 2006.
    3. I. Folkins, P. Bernath, C. Boone, G. Lesins, N. Livesey, A. M. Thompson, K. Walker, and J. C. Witte. Seasonal cycles of O3 , CO, and convective outflow at the tropical tropopause. Geophysical Research Letters, 33:L16802, doi:10.1029/2006GL026602, 2006.
    4. L. Froidevaux, N. J. Livesey, W. G. Read, R. J. Salawitch, J. W. Waters, B.J. Drouin, I. A. MacKenzie, H. C. Pumphrey, P. Bernath, C. Boone, R. Nassar, S. Montzka, J. Elkins, D. Cunnold, and D. Waugh. Decreases in upper atmospheric chlorine. Geophysical Research Letters, 2006. In Press.
    5. G. L. Manney, N. J. Livesey, C.J. Jimenez, H.C. Pumphrey, M.L. Santee, I.A. MacKenzie, and J.W. Waters. EOS Microwave Limb Sounder obser vations of frozen-in anticyclone air in Arctic summer. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, no. 6 L06810, doi: 10.1029/2005GL025418, 2006.
    6. M. R. Schoeberl, B. N. Duncan, A. R. Douglass, J. Waters, N. Livesey, W. Read, M. Filipiak, The carbon monoxide tape recorder, Geophys. Res. Lett., L12811, doi: 10.1029/2006GL026178, 27 June 2006.
    7. M. R. Schoeberl, S. R. Kawa, A. R. Douglass, T. J. McGee, E. V. Browell, J. W. Waters, N. J. Livesey, W. G. Read, L. Froidevaux, M. L. Santee, H. C. Pumphrey, L. R. Lait, L. Twigg, Chemical Observations of a Polar Vortex Intrusion, J. Geophys. Res. 111, D20306, doi:10.1029/2006JD007134, 2006.
    8. M. L. Santee and N. J. Livesey, G. L. Manney, J. W. Waters. Variations and climatology of ClO in the polar lower stratosphere from UARS MLS measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(D15):4454, 2003. doi:10.1029/2002JD003335.
    9. N. J. Livesey, M. D. Fromm, J. W. Waters, G. L. Manney, M. L. Santee, and W. G. Read. Enhancements in lower stratospheric CH3CN observed by UARS MLS following boreal forest fires. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109(D060308). doi:10.1029/2003JD004055.
    10. N. J. Livesey, W. G. Read, L. Froidevaux, J.W. Waters, H.C. Pumphrey, D.L. Wu, M.L. Santee, Z. Shippony, and R.F. Jarnot. The UARS Microwave Limb Sounder version 5 dataset: Theory, characterization and validation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(D13):4378, 2003. doi:10.1029/2002JD002273.
    11. N. J. Livesey, J. W. Waters, R. Khosravi, G. P. Brasseur, G. S. Tyndall, and W. G. Read. Stratospheric CH3CN from the UARS Microwave Limb Sounder. Geophysical Research Letters, 28(5):779.782, 2001.
    12. M. L. Santee, G. L. Manney, N. J. Livesey, and J. W. Waters. UARS Microwave Limb Sounder observations of denitrification and ozone loss in the 2000 Arctic late winter. Geophysical Research Letters, 27:3213.3216, 2000.
    13. N. J. Livesey and W. G. Read. Direct retrieval of line-of-sight atmospheric structure from limb sounding observations. Geophysical Research Letters, 27(6):891.894, 2000.
    14. N. J. Livesey and D. L. Wu. EOS MLS retrieval processes algorithm theoretical basis. Technical report, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1999. D-16159, available on the MLS web site

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