NASA Logo Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology View the NASA Portal
NASA Banner
NASA Banner
NASA Banner
NASA Banner
JPL Science
JPL Science Division Home
Planetary Science Planetary Science
Astrophysics & Space Sciences Astrophysics & Space Sciences
Earth Science Earth Science
Center for Climate Sciences (3292)
Earth Surface And Interior (329A)
Ocean Circulation And Air Sea Interaction (329B)
Sea Level And Ice (329C)
Stratosphere And Upper Troposphere (329D)
Atmospheric Physics And Weather (329E)
Terrestrial Hydrology (329F)
Carbon Cycle And Ecosystems (329G)
Laboratory Studies And Atmospheric Observations (329H)
Tropospheric Composition (329I)
Aerosols And Clouds (329J)
Directorate Science Affiliates Directorate Science Affiliates
Open Postdoc Positions Open Postdoc Positions
Brochures Brochures
 Aerosols And Clouds (329J): People
Michael  Garay's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 169-237
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
Email Contact:
Curriculum Vitae:

Michael Garay

I am currently a member of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) science team at JPL working on aerosol and cloud retrievals.  My work focuses on algorithm improvement, testing, validation, and the dissemination of scientific results from the MISR instrument.  I am also working on tasks related to the Multiangle SpectroPolarimetric Imager (MSPI), a successor to MISR being developed at JPL.  These tasks involve polarized radiative transfer simulations, data visualization, and analysis.  Previously, I worked on a number of projects at JPL including automatic image classification using support vector machines, multi-instrument and multi-platform data fusion, sensor webs, and feature identification and tracking.  I have extensive experience with data visualization and analysis using a variety of satellite, airborne, and ground-based instruments.

  • M.S., Atmospheric Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles (2004)
  • B.S., Physics, University of Toledo, Ohio (1995)
  • B.A., English Literature (with Honors), University of Toledo, Ohio (1995)

Research Interests
  • 1-dimensional and 3-dimensional polarized radiative transfer
  • Satellite remote sensing of clouds and aerosols and related physical processes
  • Multi-instrument data fusion and multi-platform sensor webs
  • Machine learning techniques, including support vector machines
  • Data analysis and visualization


The Airborne Multiangle SpectroPolarimetric Imager (AirMSPI) instrument flies aboard NASA's ER-2 high altitude aircraft.

The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument provides a unique opportunity for studying the environment and climate of Earth through the acquisition of global multiangle imagery on the daylit side of Earth.

Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Research Technologist III (2011 – Present)
  • Raytheon Company, Senior Physics Engineer I (2007 – 2011)
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Academic Part Time Intern (2003 – 2007)
  • Department of Atmospheric Sciences, UCLA, Graduate Teaching Assistant (2002 – 2003)

Community Service

Peer reviewer for a wide variety of academic publications

Selected Awards
  • NASA Group Achievement Awards (2014)
  • NASA Space Act Board Award (2008)

Selected Publications
  1. M. G. Tosca, D. J. Diner, M. J. Garay, and O. V. Kalashnikova, “Human-caused fires limit convection in tropical Africa: First temporal observations and attribution,” Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 6492–6501, doi:10.1002/2015GL065063, 2015.
  2. Y.-C. Chen, M. W. Christensen, D. J. Diner, and M. J. Garay, “Aerosol-cloud interactions in ship tracks using Terra MODIS/MISR,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120, 2819–2833, doi:10.1022/2014JD022736, 2015.
  3. D. J. Diner, F. Xu, M. J. Garay, J. V. Martonchik, B. E. Rheingans, S. Geier, A. Davis, B. R. Hancock, V. M. Jovanovic, M. A. Bull, K. Capraro, R. A. Chipman, and S. C. McClain, “The Airborne Multiangle SpectroPolarimetric Imager (AirMSPI): A New Tool for Aerosol and Cloud Remote Sensing,” Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 6, 2007–2025, doi:10.5194/amt-6-2007-2013, 2013.
  4. S. Li, M. J. Garay, L. Chen, E. Rees, and Y. Liu, “Comparison of GEOS-Chem Aerosol Optical Depth with AERONET and MISR Data Over the Contiguous United States,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118, 11,228–11,241, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50867, 2013.
  5. M. L. Witek, M. J. Garay, D. J. Diner, and A. Smirnov, “Aerosol Optical Depths Over Oceans: A View from MISR Retrievals and Collocated MAN and AERONET In Situ Observations,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118, 1–14, doi:10.1002/2013JD020393, 2013.
  6. D. L. Nelson, M. J. Garay, R. A. Kahn, and B. A. Dunst, “Stereoscopic Height and Wind Retrievals for Aerosol Plumes with the MISR INteractive eXplorer,” Remote Sensing, 5, 4593–4628, doi:10.3390/rs5094593, 2013.
  7. O. V. Kalashnikova, M. J. Garay, J. V. Martonchik, and D. J. Diner, “MISR Dark Water Aerosol Retrievals: Operational Algorithm Sensitivity to Particle Non-Sphericity,” Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 6, 2131–2154, doi:10.5194/amt-6-2131-2013, 2013.
  8. A. L. Ekstrand, P. W. Webley, M. J. Garay, J. Dehn, A. Prakash, D. L. Nelson, K. G. Dean, and T. Steensen, “A Multi-Sensor Plume Height Analysis of the 2009 Redoubt Eruption,” Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 259, 170–184, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.09.008, 2013.
  9. O. V. Kalashnikova, M. J. Garay, A. B. Davis, D. J. Diner, and J. V. Martonchik, “Sensitivity of Multiangle Photo-Polarimetry to Vertical Layering and Mixing of Absorbing Aerosols: Quantifying Measurement Uncertainties,” Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 112, 2149–2163, doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2011.05.010, 2011.
  10. R. A. Kahn, M. J. Garay, D. L. Nelson, R. C. Levy, M. A. Bull, D. J. Diner, J. V. Martonchik, E. G. Hansen, L. A. Remer, and D. Tanré, “Response to ‘Toward unified satellite climatology of aerosol properties. 3. MODIS versus MISR versus AERONET’,” Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 112, 901–909, doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2010.11.001, 2011.
  11. M. J. Garay, and M. C. Burl, “Adaptive Sky: From Instrument Pixels to a Sensor Web Gestalt,” IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 3, 481–487, doi:10.1109/JSTARS.2010.2052790, 2010.
  12. R. A. Kahn, B. J. Gaitley, M. J. Garay, D. J. Diner, T. F. Eck, A. Smirnov, and B. Holben, “MISR Global Aerosol Product Assessment by Comparison with AERONET,” Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 115, D23209, doi:10.1029/2010JD014601, 2010.
  13. R. A. Kahn, D. L. Nelson, M. J. Garay, R. C. Levy, M. A. Bull, D. J. Diner, J. V. Martonchik, S. R. Paradise, E. G. Hansen, and L. A. Remer, “MISR Aerosol Product Attributes, and Statistical Comparisons with MODIS,” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 47, 4095–4114, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2009.2023115, 2009.
  14. M. J. Garay, S. P. de Szoeke, and C. M. Moroney, “Comparison of Cloud-top Heights Retrieved from ISCCP, MODIS, and MISR with Coincident Ship-based Measurements for the Marine Stratocumulus Region off the Western Coast of South America,” Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 113, D18204, doi:10.1029/2008JD009975, 2008.
  15. M. C. Burl, M. J. Garay, C. Averill, B. J. Bornstein, L. Mandrake, J. Ng, Y. Wang, “Adaptive Sky Sensor Web: Novel Multi-Instrument, Multi-Satellite Observations of Volcanic Ash Clouds,” IET 4th International Conference on Intelligent Environments, (July 2008).
  16. M. C. Burl, M. J. Garay, Y. Wang, J. Ng, “Adaptive Sky: A Feature Correspondence Toolbox for a Distributed Cloud Monitoring Sensor Web,” IEEE Aerospace Conference, (March 2008).
  17. R. A. Kahn, M. J. Garay, D. L. Nelson, K. K. Yau, M. A. Bull, B. J. Gaitley, J. V. Martonchik, and R. C. Levy, “Satellite-derived Aerosol Optical Depth Over Dark Water from MISR and MODIS: Comparisons with AERONET and Implications for Climatological Studies,” Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 112, D18205, doi:10.1029/2006JD008175, 2007.
  18. M. J. Garay, and D. J. Diner, “Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) Time-Lapse Imagery of Tsunami Waves from the 26 December 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake,” Remote Sensing of Environment, 107, 256–263, 2007.
  19. D. Mazzoni, M. J. Garay, R. Davies, and D. Nelson, “An Operational MISR Pixel Classifier using Support Vector Machines,” Remote Sensing of Environment, 107, 149–158, 2007.
  20. R. F. Cahalan, L. Oreopoulos, A. Marshak, K. F. Evans, A. B. Davis, R. Pincus, K. H. Yetzer, B. Mayer, R. Davies, T. P. Ackerman, H. W. Barker, E. E. Clothiaux, R. G. Ellingson, M. J. Garay, E. Kassianov, S. Kinne, A. Macke, W. O’Hirok, P. T. Partain, S. M. Prigarin, A. N. Rublev, G. L. Stephens, F. Szczap, E. E. Takara, T. Várnai, G. Wen, and T. B. Zhuravleva, “The I3RC: Bringing Together the Most Advanced Radiative Transfer Tools for Cloudy Atmospheres,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 86, 1275–1293, 2005.
  21. M. J. Garay, R. Davies, C. Averill, and J. A. Westphal, “Actinoform Clouds: Overlooked Examples of Cloud Self-Organization at the Mesoscale,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 85, 1585–1594, 2004.
  22. S. Granger, R. Raskin, and M. J. Garay,Integrating remote sensing observations and model results for weather studies,” in Mapping and Modeling Weather and Climate with GIS, L. Armstrong, K. Butler, J. Settelmaier, T. Vance, and O. Wilhelmi (eds.), Esri Press, Redlands, CA, 2015.

Group Home Page
People in this Group
Group Projects

JPL Privacy Statement Sitemap Contact Site Manager