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Nathaniel Livesey

Photo of Nathaniel Livesey


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-701

Pasadena, CA 91109





Member of:

Earth Science

Assistant Section Manager, 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)

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)
  • Lead scientist for MLS 'retrieval algorithms' (1996-2005)

Community Service

  • 2019-present: Vice-Chair - National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine - Committee on Radio Frequencies (CORF)
  • 2017-present: Member - Science Steering Group for World Climate Research Program's Stratosphere Troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC)
  • 2016-present: Member - International Ozone Commission.

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.

Selected Awards

  • NASA Group Achievement Award Airborne Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder Team (outstanding achievement in the development, test, delivery, and operation of the Airborne Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder instrument) (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. Pumphrey, H., N. Glatthor, P. Bernath, C. Boone, J. Hannigan, I. Ortega, N. Livesey, and W. Read, "MLS measurements of stratospheric hydrogen cyanide during the 2015-2016 El Niño event,&quot Atmos. Chem. Phys.691-703, doi:10.5194/acp-18-691-2018, 2018.
  2. Park, M., W.J. Randel, D.E. Kinnison, A.E. Bourassa, D.A. Degenstein, C.Z. Roth, C.A. McLinden, C.E. Sioris, N.J. Livesey, and M.L. Santee, "Variability of Stratospheric Reactive Nitrogen and Ozone Related to the QBO," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, doi:10.1002/2017jd027061, 2017.
  3. Santee, M.L., G.L. Manney, N.J. Livesey, M.J. Schwartz, J.L. Neu, and W.G. Read, "A comprehensive overview of the climatological composition of the Asian summer monsoon anticyclone based on 10 years of Aura Microwave Limb Sounder measurements," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122, doi:10.1002/2016jd026408, 2017.
  4. Wargan, K., G. Labow, S. Frith, S. Pawson, N. Livesey, and G. Partyka, "Evaluation of the Ozone Fields in NASA's MERRA-2 Reanalysis," J. Climate 30, 8, 2961-2988, doi:10.1175/jcli-d-16-0699.1, 2017.
  5. Field, R., G.D. van Werf, T. Fanin, E. Fetzer, R. Fuller, H. Jethva, R. Levy, N. Livesey, M. Luo, O. Torres, and H. Worden, "Indonesian fire activity and smoke pollution in 2015 show persistent nonlinear sensitivity to El Niño-induced drought," Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 113, 33, 9204-9209, doi:10.1073/pnas.1524888113, 2016.
  6. Millan, L., N. Livesey, M. Santee, J. Neu, G. Manney, and R. Fuller, "Case studies of the impact of orbital sampling on stratospheric trend detection and derivation of tropical vertical velocities: solar occultation vs. limb emission sounding," Atmos. Chem. Phys. 16, 18, 11521-11534, doi:10.5194/acp-16-11521-2016, 2016.
  7. Froidevaux, L., J. Anderson, H.J. Wang, R.A. Fuller, M.J. Schwartz, M.L. Santee, N.J. Livesey, H.C. Pumphrey, P.F. Bernath, J.M. Russell III, and M.P. McCormick, "Global OZone Chemistry And Related trace gas Data records for the Stratosphere GOZCARDS: methodology and sample results with a focus on HCl, H2O, and O3," Atmos. Chem. Phys., doi:10.5194/acp-15-10471-2015, 2015.
  8. Jiang, J.H., H. Su, C. Zhai, T.J. Shen, T. Wu, J. Zhang, J. Cole, K. von Salzen, L.J. Donner, C. Seman, A.D. Genio, L.S. Nazarenko, J.L. Dufresne, M. Watanabe, C. Morcrette, T. Koshiro, H. Kawai, A. Gettelman, L. Millan, W.G. Read, N.J. Livesey, Y. Kasai, and M. Shiotani, "Evaluating the diurnal cycle of upper tropospheric ice clouds in climate models using SMILES observations," J. Atmos. Sci. 72, 1022-1044, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-14-0124.1, 2015.
  9. Livesey, N.J., M.L. Santee, and G.L. Manney, "A Match-based approach to the estimation of polar stratospheric ozone loss using Aura Microwave Limb Sounder observations," Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15, 0045-9963, doi:10.5194/acp-15-9945-2015, 2015.
  10. Millan, L., S. Wang, N. Livesey, D. Kinnison, H. Sagawa, and Y. Kasai, "Stratospheric and mesospheric HO2 observations from the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder," Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15, 2889-2902, doi:10.5194/acp-15-2889-2015, 2015.
  11. Schwartz, M.J., G.L. Manney, M.I. Hegglin, N.J. Livesey, M.L. Santee, and W.H. Daffer, "Climatology and variability of trace gases in extratropical double-tropopause regions from MLS, HIRDLS, and ACE-FTS measurements," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 120, 843-867, doi:10.1002/2014JD021964, 2015.
  12. Wang, S., Q. Zhang, L. Millan, K. Li, Y.L. Yung, S.P. Sander, N.J. Livesey, and M.L. Santee, "First evidence of middle atmospheric HO2 response to 27 day solar cycles from satellite observations," Geophys. Res. Lett. 42, 22, 10,004-10,009, doi:10.1002/2015gl065237, 2015.
  13. Millan, L., M. Lebsock, N.J. Livesey, S. Tanellin, and G. Stephens, "Differential absorption radar techniques: surface pressure," Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 7, 3959-3970, doi:10.5194/amt-7-3959-2014, 2014.
  14. Neu, J.L., T. Flury, G.L. Manney, M.L. Santee, N.J. Livesey, and J. Worden, "Tropospheric ozone variations governed by changes in stratospheric circulation," Nature Geoscience 7, 340-344, doi:10.1038/ngeo2138, 2014
  15. Jin, J.J., N.J. Livesey, G.L. Manney, J.H. Jiang, M.J. Schwartz, and W.H. Daffer, "Chemical discontinuity at the extratropical tropopause and isentropic stratosphere - troposphere exchange pathways diagnosed using Aura MLS data," J. Geophys. Res. 118, 9, 3832-3847, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50291, 2013.
  16. Livesey, N.J., J.A. Logan, M.L. Santee, J.W. Waters, R.M. Doherty, W.G. Read, L. Froidevaux, and J.H. Jiang, "Interrelated variations of O3, CO and deep convection in the tropical/subtropical upper troposphere observed by the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder MLS during 2004-2011," Atmos. Chem. Phys. 13, 579-598, doi:10.5194/acp-13-579-2013, 2013.
  17. Santee, M.L., N.J. Livesey, G.L. Manney, A. Lambert, and W.G. Read, "Methyl chloride from the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder: First global climatology and assessment of variability in the upper troposphere and stratosphere," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 118, 24, 13532-13560, doi:10.1002/2013JD020235, 2013.
  18. Schwartz, M.J., W.J. Read, M.L. Santee, N.J. Livesey, L. Froidevaux, A. Lambert, and G.L. Manney, "Convectively Injected Water Vapor in the North American Summer Lowermost Stratosphere," Geophys. Res. Lett. 40, 10, 2316-2321, doi:10.1002/grl.50421, 2013.
  19. Manney, G.L., M.L. Santee, M. Rex, N.J. Livesey, M.C. Pitts, P. Veefkind, E.R. Nash, I. Wohltmann, R. Lehmann, L. Froidevaux, L.R. Poole, M.R. Schoeberl, D.P. Haffner, J. Davies, V. Dorokhov, H. Gernandt, B. Johnson, R. Kivi, E. Kyro, N. Larsen, P.F. Levelt, A. Makshtas, C.T. McElroy, H. Nakajima, M.C. Parrondo, D.W. Tarasick, P.D. von Gathen, K.A. Walker, and N.S. Zinoviev, "Unprecedented Arctic ozone loss in 2011," Nature 478, 469-475, doi:10.1038/nature10556, 2011.
  20. Pumphrey, H.C., M.L. Santee, N.J. Livesey, M.J. Schwartz, and W.G. Read, "Microwave Limb Sounder observations of biomass-burning products from the Australian bush fires of February 2009, " Atmos. Chem. Phys. 11, 2, 6285-6296, doi:10.5194/acp-11-6285-2011, 2011.
  21. Santee, M.L., S.P. Sander, N.J. Livesey, and L. Froidevaux, "Constraining the chlorine monoxide (ClO) / chlorine peroxide (ClOOCl) equilibrium constant from Aura Microwave Limb Sounder measurements of nighttime ClO," Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 107, 15, 6588-6593, doi:10.1073/pnas.0912659107, 2010.
  22. Joiner, J., M.R. Schoeberl, A.P. Vasilkov, L. Oreopolulos, S. Platnick, N.J. Livesey, and P.F. Levelt, "Accurate satellite-derived estimates of the tropospheric ozone impact on the global radiation budget," Atmos. Chem. Phys. 9, 4447-4465, doi:10.5194/acp-9-4447-2009, 2009.
  23. Livesey, N.J., M.J. Filipiak, L. Froidevaux, W.G. Read, A. Lambert, M.L. Santee, J.H. Jiang, H.C. Pumphrey, J.W. Waters, R.E. Cofield, D.T. Cuddy, W.H. Daffer, B.J. Drouin, R.A. Fuller, R.F. Jarnot, Y.B. Jiang, B.W. Knosp, Q.B. Li, V.S. Perun, M.J. Schwartz, W.V. Snyder, P.C. Stek, R.P. Thurstans, P.A. Wagner, M. Avery, E.V. Browell, J-P. Cammas, L.E. Christensen, G.S. Diskin, R-S. Gao, H-J. Jost, M. Loewenstein, J.D. Lopez, P. Nedelec, G.B. Osterman, G.W. Sachse, and C.R. Webster, "Validation of Aura Microwave Limb Sounder O3 and CO observations in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere," J. Geophys. Res. 113, D15S02, doi:10.1029/2007JD008805, 2008.
  24. Schoeberl, M.R., A.R. Douglass, P.A. Newman, L.R. Lait, D. Lary, J. Waters, N. Livesey, L. Froidevaux, A. Lambert, W. Read, M.J. Filipiak, and H.C. Pumphrey, "QBO and Annual Cycle Variations in Tropical Lower Stratosphere Trace Gases from HALOE and Aura MLS Observations," J. Geophys. Res. 113, D05301, doi:10.1029/2007JD008678, 2008.
  25. Kovalenko, L.J., N.J. Livesey, R.J. Salawitch, C. Camy-Peyret, M.P. Chipperfield, R.E. Cofield, M. Dorf, B.J. Drouin, L. Froidevaux, R.A. Fuller, F. Goutail, R.F. Jarnot, K. Jucks, B.W. Knosp, A. Lambert, I.A. MacKenzie, K. Pfeilsticker, J-P. Pommereau, W.G. Read, M.L. Santee, M.J. Schwartz, W.V. Snyder, R. Stachnik, P.C. Stek, P.A. Wagner, and J.W. Waters, "Validation of the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder BrO observations in the stratosphere," J. Geophys. Res. 112, D24S41, doi:10.1029/2007JD008817, 2007.
  26. Schoeberl, M.R., J.R. Ziemke, B. Bojkov, N. Livesey, B. Duncan, S. Strahan, L. Froidevaux, S. Kulawik, P.K. Bhartia, S. Chandra, P.F. Levelt, J.C. Witte, A.M. Thompson, E. Cuevas, A. Redondas, D.W. Tarasick, J. Davies, G. Bodeker, G. Hansen, B.J. Johnson, S.J. Oltmans, H. Vomel, M. Allaart, H. Kelder, M. Newchurch, S. Godin-Beekmann, G. Ancellet, H. Claude, S.B. Andersen, E. Kyro, M. Parrondos, M. Yela, G. Zablocki, D. Moore, H. Dier, P. von der Gathen, P. Viatte, R. Stubi, B. Calpini, P. Skrivankova, V. Dorokhov, H. De Backer, F.J. Schmidlin, G. Coetzee, M. Fujiwara, V. Thouret, F. Posny, G. Morris, J. Merrill, C.P. Leong, G. Koenig-Langlo, and E. Joseph, "A trajectory-based estimate of the tropospheric ozone column using the residual method," J. Geophys. Res. 112, D24S49, doi:10.1029/2007JD008773, 2007.
  27. Froidevaux, L., N.J. Livesey, W.G. Read, Y.B. Jiang, C.J. Jimenez, M.J. Filipiak, M.J. Schwartz, M.L. Santee, H.C. Pumphrey, J.H. Jiang, D.L. Wu, G.L. Manney, B.J. Drouin, J.W. Waters, E.J. Fetzer, P.F. Bernath, C.D. Boone, K.A. Walker, K.W. Jucks, G.C. Toon, J.J. Margitan, B. Sen, C.R. Webster, L.E. Christensen, J.W. Elkins, E. Atlas, R.A. Lueb, and R. Hendershot, "Early validation analyses of atmospheric profiles from EOS MLS on the Aura satellite," IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing 44, no. 5, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2006.864366, 2006.
  28. Livesey, N.J., 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 observations of upper stratospheric BrO: Implications for total bromine," Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L20817, doi:10.1029/2006GL026930, 2006.
  29. Livesey, N.J., W.V. Snyder, W.G. Read, and P.A. Wagner, "Retrieval algorithms for the EOS Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) instrument," IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing 44, no. 5, 1144-1155, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2006.872327, May 2006.
  30. Schoeberl, M.R., B.N. Duncan, A.R. Douglass, J. Waters, N. Livesey, W. Read, and M. Filipiak, "The carbon monoxide tape recorder," Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L12811, doi:10.1029/2006GL026178, 27 June 2006.
  31. Waters, J.W., L. Froidevaux, R.S. Harwood, R.F. Jarnot, H.M. Pickett, W.G. Read, P.H. Siegel, R.E. Cofield, M.J. Filipiak, D.A. Flower, J.R. Holden, G.K. Lau, N.J. Livesey, G.L. Manney, H.C. Pumphrey, M.L. Santee, D.L. Wu, D.T. Cuddy, R.R. Lay, M.S. Loo, V.S. Perun, M.J. Schwartz, P.C. Stek, R.P. Thurstans, M.A. Boyles, S. Chandra, M.C. Chavez, G-S. Chen, B.V. Chudasama, R. Dodge, R.A. Fuller, M.A. Girard, J.H. Jiang, Y. Jiang, B.W. Knosp, R.C. LaBelle, J.C. Lam, K.A. Lee, D. Miller, J.E. Oswald, N.C. Patel, D.M. Pukala, O. Quintero, D.M. Scaff, W.V. Snyder, M.C. Tope, P.A. Wagner, and M.J. Walch, "The Earth Observing System Microwave Limb Sounder (EOS MLS) on the Aura satellite," IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing 44, no. 5, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2006.873771, 2006.
  32. Livesey, N.J., 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 fillowing boreal forest fires," J. Geophys. Res. 109, D06308, doi:10.1029/2003JD004055, 2004.
  33. Livesey, N.J., 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," J. Geophys. Res. 108, D13, 4378, doi:10.1029/2002JD002273, 2003.
  34. Livesey, N.J., J.W. Waters, R. Khosravi, G.P. Brasseur, G.S. Tyndall, and W.G. Read, "Stratospheric CH3CN from the UARS Microwave Limb Sounder," Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 779-782, doi:10.1029/2000GL012144, 2001.
  35. Livesey, N.J., and W.G. Read, "Direct Retrieval of Line-of-Sight Atmospheric Structure from Limb Sounding Observations," Geophys. Res. Lett. 27, 891-894, doi:10.1029/1999GL010964, 2000.