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Michael Gunson

Photo of Michael Gunson


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-601

Pasadena, CA 91109





Member of:


Global Change & Energy Program Manager & OCO-2 Project Scientist


Dr. Michael Gunson is currently the Manager of the Global Change & Energy Program and the Project Scientist for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2). His research interests have primarily focused on the physical and chemical processes of the Earth's atmosphere using space-based instruments. Most recently, through OCO-2 he has been examining ways in which atmospheric measurements of carbon dioxide can help resolve questions as to the sources and sinks of this gas at the surface and how these inform carbon cycle science.


  • B. Sc., Chemistry (Honors.), Bristol University (1978)
  • Ph. D., Chemistry, Bristol University, Department of Theoretical Chemistry (1983)

Professional Experience

  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1990-Present)
    • OCO-2 Project Scientist (2010-Present)
    • Global Change & Energy Program Manager (2009-Present)
    • Chief Scientist, Earth Science and Technology Directorate (2008-2009)
    • Deputy Manager, Science Division (2006-2008)
    • Section Manager, Earth Remote Sensing Science Section (2002-2006)
    • Deputy Principal Investigator, Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) (2002-Present)
    • Lead Scientist, AIRS Atmospheric Science Research Element (1999-2002)
    • Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) Deputy Team Leader (1998-2002)
    • Lead Scientist, Atmospheric Chemistry (1995-1998)
    • Deputy Chief Scientist, New Millennium Program (1994-1995)
    • Principal Investigator, Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy Experiment (ATMOS) (1990-1996)

Research Interests

  • Atmospheric Remote Sensing from Space
  • Atmospheric Composition and Chemistry
  • Climate Change

Selected Awards

  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for management and direction of the Science and Ground Data Systems teams during the critical integration and test periods of the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer. (2005)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for defining and leading the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder data analysis and validation activities. (2003)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in recognition of exceptional advancements in our knowledge of the composition and structure of the Earth's atmosphere achieved with the Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy experiment. (1996)

Selected Publications

  1. Eldering A., Kahn B.H., Mills F.P., Irion F.W., Steele H.M., Gunson M.R., Vertical profiles of aerosol volume from high spectral resolution infrared transmission measurements: Results, Journal Of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 109 (D20): Art. No. D20201 (2004)
  2. Fetzer E., McMillin L.M., Tobin D., Aumann H.H., Gunson M.R., McMillan W.W., Hagan D.E., Hofstadter M.D., Yoe J., Whiteman D.N., Barnes J.E., Bennartz R., Vomel H., Walden V., Newchurch M., Minnett P.J., Atlas R., Schmidlin F., Olsen E.T., Goldberg M.D., Zhou S.S., Ding H.J., Smith W.L., Revercomb H., AIRS/AMSU/HSB validation, IEEE Transactions On Geoscience And Remote Sensing, 41 (2): 418-431 (2003)
  3. Fishbein E., Farmer C.B., Granger S.L., Gregorich D.T., Gunson M.R., Hannon S.E., Hofstadter M.D., Lee S.Y., Leroy S.S., Strow L.L., Formulation and validation of simulated data for the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), IEEE Transactions On Geoscience And Remote Sensing, 41 (2): 314-329 (2003)
  4. Irion F.W., Gunson M.R., Toon G.C., Chang A.Y., Eldering A., Mahieu E., Manney G.L., Michelsen H.A., Moyer E.J., Newchurch M.J., Osterman G.B., Rinsland C.P., Salawitch R.J., Sen B., Yung Y.L., Zander R., Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS) experiment version 3 data retrievals, Applied Optics, 41 (33): 6968-6979 (2002)
  5. Michelsen H.A., Manney G.L., Irion F.W., Toon G.C., Gunson M.R., Rinsland C.P., Zander R., Mahieu E., Newchurch M.J., Purcell P.N., Remsberg E.E., Russell J.M., Pumphrey H.C., Waters J.W., Bevilacqua R.M., Kelly K.K., Hintsa E.J., Weinstock E.M., Chiou E.W., Chu W.P., McCormick M.P., Webster C.R., ATMOS version 3 water vapor measurements: Comparisons with observations from two ER-2 Lyman-alpha hygrometers, MkIV, HALOE, SAGE II, MAS, and MLS, Journal Of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 107 (D3): Art. No. 4027 (2002)
  6. G. L. Manney, H. A. Michelsen, M. L. Santee, M. R. Gunson, F. W. Irion, A. E. Roche, N. J. Livesey, "Polar vortex dynamics during spring and fall diagnosed using trace gas observations from the Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy instrument," J. Geophys. Res., 104, 18841-18866 (1999)