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 Tropospheric Composition (329I): People
Robert  Nelson's Picture
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Robert Nelson

Dr. Robert R. Nelson received his Ph.D. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University. His work has focused on the scattering effects of clouds and aerosols on near-infrared measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2). Dr. Nelson came to JPL in 2019 as a postdoctoral researcher to work on algorithm development for OCO-2 and OCO-3 with the primary goal of enhancing the accuracy and precision of column CO2 measurements. His interests also include the remote sensing of other greenhouse gases (GHGs) as well as the detection and quantification of small-scale sources of GHGs such as megacities and power plants.

  • B.S. in meteorology from Iowa State University in 2012
  • M.S. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University in 2015
  • Ph.D. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University in 2019

Research Interests

Satellite and in situ measurements of greenhouse gases, near-infrared greenhouse gas retrieval algorithms, small-scale GHG sources and sinks, carbon cycle science, climate change.


OCO-2 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory Icon OCO-2 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) is a mission designed to make precise, time-dependent global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from an Earth orbiting satellite.

OCO-3 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 Icon OCO-3 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, or OCO-3, is a future space instrument designed to investigate important questions about the distribution of carbon dioxide on Earth as it relates to growing urban populations...

Professional Experience
  • Graduate Research Assistant - Colorado State University (2012-2019)
  • American Meteorological Society local chapter treasurer and webmaster - Colorado State University / FORTCAST (2014-2016)
  • Research intern - University of Oklahoma (Summer 2011)
  • American Meteorological Society student chapter president - Iowa State University (2011-2012)
  • Research Intern - University of Michigan (Summer 2010)

Selected Awards
  • American Meteorological Society Graduate Fellow (2012-2013)

Selected Publications
  1. Nelson, R. R., O'Dell, C. W.: The Impact of Improved Aerosol Priors on Near-Infrared Measurements of Carbon Dioxide, Atmos. Meas. Tech., doi:10.5194/amt-12-1495-2019, 2019.
  2. O'Dell, C. W., Eldering, A., Wennberg, P. O., Crisp, D., Gunson, M. R., Fisher, B., Frankenberg, C., Kiel, M., Lindqvist, H., Mandrake, L., Merrelli, A., Natraj, V., Nelson, R. R., Osterman, G. B., Payne, V. H., Taylor, T. E., Wunch, D., Drouin, B. J., Oyafuso, F., Chang, A., McDuffie, J., Smyth, M., Baker, D. F., Basu, S., Chevallier, F., Crowell, S. M. R., Feng, L., Palmer, P. I., Dubey, M., García, O. E., Griffith, D. W. T., Hase, F., Iraci, L. T., Kivi, R., Morino, I., Notholt, J., Ohyama, H., Petri, C., Roehl, C. M., Sha, M. K., Strong, K., Sussmann, R., Te, Y., Uchino, O., and Velazco, V. A.: Improved retrievals of carbon dioxide from Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 with the version 8 ACOS algorithm, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 6539-6576,, 2018
  3. Nelson, R. R., Crisp, D., Ott, L. E., O'Dell, C. W.: High-accuracy measurements of total column water vapor from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 12261-12269, doi:10.1002/2016GL071200, 2016.
  4. Nelson, R. R., O'Dell, C. W., Taylor, T. E., Mandrake, L., and Smyth, M.: The potential of clear-sky carbon dioxide satellite retrievals, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 1671-1684, doi:10.5194/amt-9-1671-2016, 2016.
  5. Taylor, T. E., O'Dell, C. W., Frankenberg, C., Partain, P. T., Cronk, H. Q., Savtchenko, A., Nelson, R. R., Rosenthal, E. J., Chang, A. Y., Fisher, B., Osterman, G. B., Pollock, R. H., Crisp, D., Eldering, A., and Gunson, M. R.: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) cloud screening algorithms: validation against collocated MODIS and CALIOP data, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 973-989, doi:10.5194/amt-9-973-2016, 2016

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