NERTO Students

Brent McBride

Brent McBride
PhD, Atmospheric Physics, Graduate

Internship Location: NOAA ESRL (Boulder, CO)

Internship Date: May 1, 2021 - August 1, 2021 (virtual for COVID-19)


McBride holds a B.S. in Physics and an M.S in Atmospheric Physics both from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He specializes in instrument science. His research focused research related to Atmospheric Hazards, particularly satellite remote sensing, instrument and retrieval algorithm

NERTO Research Project Title:

Analysis of Cloud Microphysical Properties using Hyper Angular ImagingPolarimeter Observations and Model Simulations for CSC Students

NERTO Project Details :


Clouds are one of the largest contributors to climate change and the least understood. While it is well-known that the cloud droplet size distribution (DSD) controls many of the growth and radiative processes in clouds, DSDs are difficult to measure from space. New polarimeter instruments, like the Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP), can access the entire DSD for different clouds using a special cloud feature that only appears in polarized light. Therefore, HARP-like instruments are needed in future space missions, such as NASA Plankton-Aerosol-Cloud-ocean Ecosystem (PACE) and Aerosol & Cloud, Convection and Precipitation (A&CCP), to validate of current ones (MODIS, VIIRS, ABI), and improve our climate predictions. This work compared the HARP measurement of real clouds with simulated HARP measurements over large-eddy simulated (LES) cloud fields. The goal was to better understand the relationships between the polarized scattering and the DSD properties of clouds, as well as validate HARP field measurements at different resolutions.

NERTO Outcomes:

Results from this paper (below) bolstered the HARP science team and paved the way for the development of the HARP2 instrument for the NASA PACE mission (2023).

Value of NERTO to the Line Office:

Research, satellite, and young professional development, synergy between university and federal agency, peer-reviewed publication, collaboration on future/upcoming federally-funded projects and proposals

NERTO Skills:

I developed a stronger understanding for using cloud models and the physics behind them. I have an experimental and observational background, so the NERTO helped me close the gap between the two sides of my cloud research.