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Thomas  Painter's Picture
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Thomas Painter


Thomas H. Painter is a Principal Scientist and Scientist V at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology and a Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the Principal Investigator of the JPL Airborne Snow Observatory, an integrated imaging spectrometer and LiDAR system to give the first-ever comprehensive, near real-time maps of snow water equivalent and snow reflectivity in mountain basins. Dr. Painter has pioneered our understanding of the impacts of dust emission from land use change on snow and ice cover in mountain systems and the hydrologic response, and impacts of black carbon on regional glaciation in the Anthropocene. He has also developed cutting edge remote sensing and field models for snow properties from multispectral to imaging spectrometer sensors, scanning lidar systems, and radar systems. His efforts resulted in the development of the NASA Western Water Applications Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Painter is Past-President of the Cryosphere Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union.

Education
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Cooperative Institute for Research in Envir. Sci., with Konrad Steffen (2003)
  • PhD, Geography, UC-Santa Barbara, with Jeff Dozier Dissertation: The Hyperspectral Bidirectional Reflectance of Snow: Modeling, Measurement and Instrumentation (2002)
  • MA, Geography, UC-Santa Barbara, with Jeff Dozier Thesis: Improving Spectral Mixture Analysis of Snow-Covered Area from AVIRIS Data (1996)
  • BS, Mathematics, Colorado State University, with Kenneth Klopfenstein Foci: Linear algebra, abstract algebra (1989)

Research Interests
His areas of interest are snow hydrology, water resources applications from mountain snow and ice, radiative impacts of light-absorbing impurities on snow and glacier melt, multisensor remote sensing of snow properties, and exobiology in planetary ices.

Professional Experience
  • Principal Scientist, JPL/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.(2016-Present)
  • Scientist V, JPL/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. (2013-Present)
  • Affiliate Faculty Member, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA. (2011-Present)
  • Scientist IV, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. (2010-2013)
  • Research Faculty, JIFRESSE, UCLA, Los Angeles.(2010-Present)
  • Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, UCLA.(2010-Present)
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah. (2010-Present)
  • Project Scientist, GOES-R Cryospheric Team, UCAR, Boulder, Colorado.(2007-Present)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Utah. (2007-2010)
  • Research Scientist II, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder. (2004-2007)
  • Research Scientist I, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder. (2003-2004)
  • Research Associate, CIRES Visiting Fellowship, CIRES, CU-Boulder. (2002-2003)
  • Graduate Student Researcher, ICESS, University of California, Santa Barbara. (1994-2002)
  • Programmer, Climate System Modeling Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO. (1992-1994)

Community Service
    Scientific Leadership Roles
  • Immediate Past President, AGU Cryospheric Focus Group (2015 - 2016
  • President, AGU Cryospheric Focus Group (2013 - 2014)
  • NASA Snow Remote Sensing Working Group Executive Committee (2013 - Present)
  • Vice-President, AGU Cryospheric Focus Group (2010 - 2012 )
  • AGU Council, Vice-Chair of Cryospheric Focus Group (2010 - 2012)
  • AGU Joint Focus Group Fellows Committee (2008 - 2012)
  • American Geophysical Union Cryospheric Executive Board (2006 - Present)

  • Science Advisory Boards and Committee Service
  • Global Climate Observing System, Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC) (2016 - Present)
  • International Planning Committee (ICP), Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) (2015 - Present)
  • NASA-Chinese Academy of Science Working Group for Glacier Melt Tool (2015 - Present)
  • Science Advisory Board, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research (WSL) (2014 - Present)
  • NASA/HyspIRI Science Study Group (2009 - Present)
  • Science advisor, NSIDC MODIS product team (2004 - 2007)

  • Journals
  • Associate Editor, AGU Reviews of Geophysics (2015-Present)
  • Guest Editor, Ecological Applications (2014-Present)

Selected Awards
  • JPL Principal Scientist (2016)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - Nepal Earthquake Response team. (2016)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - Airborne Snow Observatory team. (2014)
  • JPL Ranger Award - Development of Airborne Snow Observatory and hydrologic sciences at JPL. (2014)
  • JPL Mariner Award - Development of the Airborne Snow Observatory for the 2013 spring snow observations (2013)
  • Editors' Choice Award - Water Resources Research, Skiles, S. M., T. H. Painter, J. S. Deems, Ann C. Bryant, and C. C. Landry, Dust radiative forcing in snow of the Upper Colorado River Basin: Part II. Interannual variability in radiative forcing and snowmelt rates (2012), Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1029/2012WR011986. (2013)
  • Group Achievement Award, NASA EOSDIS Data Centers Support Team, National Snow and Ice Data Center. (2006)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Colorado State University. (1989)

Selected Publications
  1. Moller, D., K. M. Andreadis, K. J. Bormann, S. Hensley, and T. H. Painter (2017), Mapping snow depth from Ka-band interferometry: Proof of concept and comparison with scanning lidar retrievals, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, in press.
  2. Skiles, S.M. and T.H. Painter (2016), Daily evolution in dust and black carbon content, snow grain size, and snow albedo during snowmelt, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Journal of Glaciology, 10.1017/jog.2016.125.
  3. Skiles, S.M., T.H. Painter, and G.S. Okin (2016), A method to retrieve the spectral complex refractive index and single scattering optical properties of dust deposited in mountain snow, Journal of Glaciology, 10.1017/jog.2016.126.
  4. Painter, T. H., et al. (2016), The Airborne Snow Observatory: scanning lidar and imaging spectrometer fusion for mapping snow water equivalent and snow albedo, Remote Sensing of Environment, 10.1016/j.rse.2016.06.018.
  5. Seidel, F. C., T. H. Painter, K. Rittger, and S. M. Skiles (2016), Case study of spatial and temporal variability of snow cover, grain size, albedo, and radiative forcing in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain snowpack derived from imaging spectroscopy, The Cryosphere, 10.5194/tc-10-1229-2016.
  6. Kargel, J. S., and 64 co-authors including T. H. Painter (2016), Geomorphic, tectonic, and geologic controls of geohazards induced by Nepal's 2015 Gorkha earthquake, Science, 10.1126/science.aac8353.
  7. Painter, T. H., M. Flanner, B. Marzeion, R. A. VanCuren, G. Kaser, and W. Abdalati (2013), End of the Little Ice Age in the Alps forced by industrial black carbon, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.1302570110.
  8. Painter, T. H., F. Seidel, A. C. Bryant, S. M. Skiles, and K. Rittger (2013), Imaging spectroscopy of albedo and radiative forcing by light absorbing impurities in mountain snow, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 10.1029/2012JD019398.
  9. Painter, T. H., M. J. Brodzik, A. Racoviteanu, and R. L. Armstrong (2012), Automated mapping of Earth's annual minimum exposed snow and ice with MODIS, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/ 2012GL053340.
  10. Painter, T. H., A. C. Bryant, and S. M. Skiles (2012), Radiative forcing of dust in mountain snow from MODIS surface reflectance data, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/ 2012GL052457.
  11. Painter, T. H., S. M. Skiles, J. S. Deems, Ann C. Bryant, and C. C. Landry (2012), Dust radiative forcing in snow of the Upper Colorado River Basin: Part I. A 6-year record of energy balance, radiation, and dust concentrations, Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1029/2012WR011985.
  12. Skiles, S. M., T. H. Painter, J. S. Deems, Ann C. Bryant, and C. C. Landry (2012), Dust radiative forcing in snow of the Upper Colorado River Basin: Part II. Interannual variability in radiative forcing and snowmelt rates, Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1029/2012WR011986.
  13. Painter, T. H., J. Deems, J. Belnap, A. Hamlet, C. C. Landry, and B. Udall (2010), Response of Colorado River runoff to dust radiative forcing in snow, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.0913139107.
  14. Painter, T. H., K. Rittger, C. McKenzie, R. E. Davis, and J. Dozier (2009), Retrieval of subpixel snow-covered area and grain size from MODIS reflectance data, Remote Sensing of Environment, 113, 868-879, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2009.01.001.
  15. J.C. Neff, A.P. Ballantyne, G.L. Farmer, N.M. Mahowald, J. Conroy, C.C Landry, J. Overpeck, T. H. Painter, C.R Lawrence, and R. Reynolds (2008), Recent Increases in Eolian Dust Deposition due to Human Activity in the Western United States, Nature Geosciences, doi: 10.1038/ngeo133.
  16. Painter, T. H., A. P. Barrett, C. Landry, J. Neff, M. P. Cassidy, C. Lawrence, K. E. McBride, and G. L. Farmer (2007), Impact of disturbed desert soils on duration of mountain snow cover, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L12502, doi:10.1029/2007GL030284.
  17. Schaepman-Strub, G., M. Schaepman, T. H. Painter, J. Martonchik, and S. Dangel (2006), Reflectance quantities in optical remote sensing - definitions and case studies, Remote Sensing of Environment 103(1), 27-42, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2006.03.002.
  18. Painter, T. H., and J. Dozier (2004), The effect of anisotropic reflectance on imaging spectroscopy of snow parameters, Remote Sensing of Environment 89(4), 409-422, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2006.03.002.
  19. Painter, T. H., and J. Dozier (2004), Measurements of the hemispherical-directional reflectance of snow at fine spectral and angular resolution, Vol. 109, No. D18, D18115, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, doi: 10.1029/2003JD004458.
  20. Painter, T. H., J. Dozier, D. A. Roberts, R. E. Davis, and R. O. Green (2003), Retrieval of subpixel snow-covered area and grain size from imaging spectrometer data, Remote Sensing of Environment 85, 64-77, doi: 10.1016/S0034-4257(02)00187-6.
  21. Painter, T. H., B. Paden, and J. Dozier (2003), Automated Spectro-Goniometer: a spherical robot for the measurement of the bi-directional reflectance of snow, Reviews of Scientific Instruments 74(12), 5179-5188, doi: 10.1063/1.1626011.
  22. Painter T.H., B. Duval, W.H. Thomas, M. Mendez, S. Heintzelman, and J. Dozier (2001), Detection and quantification of snow algae using an airborne imaging spectrometer, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 67(11), 5267-5272, doi: N/A.
  23. Painter, T.H., D.A. Roberts, R.O. Green, and J. Dozier (1998), The effect of grain size on spectral mixture analysis of snow-covered area with AVIRIS data, Remote Sensing of Environment, 65, 320-332, doi: N/A.
Complete list of publications in Curriculum vitae

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