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Personal profile


Satellite data are an essential source of information for understanding and predicting climate change. 

Clouds significantly influence the global energy budget through direct forcing effects and also indirectly through aerosol cloud interactions. Clouds and aerosols are difficult to quantify, having highly variable composition and spatiotemporal distributions, however together they are responsible for some of the largest uncertainties in our understanding of climate change.

Satellite data measurements provide global long-term observations from which geophysical parameters can be derived.  The climate data records produced can be used for time series analysis of climate variables, for process studies and the assimilation into or validation of climate models

My current research is primarily on creating advanced algorithms to retrieve  the properties of aerosol and clouds  and subsequently applying the data sets to climate problems. My focus is primarily on algorithms of cloud and aerosol properties from passive visible and IR satellites.  

My research delves into the information on cloud and aerosols behind the beautiful images we often see from Meteorological organisations. From satellites we can get information on aerosol and cloud optical depth (thickness) and particle size, cloud amount and type, height, temperature , cloud liquid and ice water path as well as information on the top of atmosphere and down welling fluxes.

I am a key researcher behind  the satellite aerosol and cloud property retrieval community code ORAC/CC4CL (https://github.com/ORAC-CC/orac/wiki) co developed by Monash University, University of Oxford, STFC-RAL Space, DWD  and Colorado State University. This algorithm has been applied to the polar orbiting satellite SLSTR (Sea and land surface radiometer) on board Sentinel-3, AVHRR and MODIS and the meteorological geostationary satellites (e.g. SEVIRI and Himawari-AHI).

Previously I worked in the UK, first at the UK Met. Office, then at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, STFC-RAL Space and the UK National Centre for Earth Observation I still maintain strong links with these groups. In 2017 I was seconded to The UK Department for Environment, Food and rural affairs where I worked initiating a data science community and with the DEFRA Earth Observation centre of Excellence.


Research interests

  • Creating algorithms (using optimal estimation and machine learning techniques) for both polar and geostationary satellites to improve the long term climate quality records of aerosol and cloud.

  •  Joint retrievals of surface and atmosphere ( e.g sea surface temperature and aerosol) using satellite data

  • Satellite retrievals of smoke and the application to air quality forecasts over Indonesia.

  •  Volcanic Ash retrievals

  • Aerosol and cloud interactions

  • Using satellite data to understand Weather phenomena such as El Nino, and extreme weather events such as cyclones and hurricanes

  •  Satelllite derived up welling and down welling solar fluxes for climate  and solar energy applications.

Education/Academic qualification

Physics, PhD, University of Melbourne

Award Date: 1 Sep 1998

External positions

AATSR Science Advisory Group

Research area keywords

  • remote sensing
  • satellite
  • clouds
  • aerosol
  • Climate
  • machine learning
  • optimal estimation

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


SAEF: Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future – An Evidence-Based, Informatics Approach

Chown, S., Robinson, S., Wilson, K. A., Mackintosh, A., McGeoch, M., Bode, M., Helmstedt, K., McGregor, H. V., Arblaster, J., Duffy, G., Greening, C., Henley, B., Poulsen, C., Siems, S., Cressie, N., Kaye, S., Perez, P., Barthelemy, J., Mangion, A. Z., Corke, P., Dunbabin, M., Gonzalez, L., Mengersen, K. L., Strugnell, J., Cassey, P., Johnston, E., Clark, G., Terauds, A., Stark, J. S., Saunders, K., Hua, Q., Meredith, K., Stevens, M. I., Wilson, N., Smith, J., McLennan, S., Hendon, H., Lim, E., DeConto, R., Brooks, C., Cowan, D., Charman, D., Maclean, I., Bollar, B., Barbour, M., Fraser, C., Flexas, J., Zuniga, G., Olalla-Tarraga, M., Balco, G., Goehring, B., Norton, K. P., Njastad, B., Vaughan, D. G., Kessick, M., Lynnes, A. & Adams, M.

Australian Research Council (ARC)


Project: Research

Research Output

Cloud_cci Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer post meridiem (AVHRR-PM) dataset version 3: 35-year climatology of global cloud and radiation properties

Stengel, M., Stapelberg, S., Sus, O., Finkensieper, S., Würzler, B., Philipp, D., Hollmann, R., Poulsen, C., Christensen, M. & McGarragh, G., 6 Jan 2020, In : Earth System Science Data. 12, 1, p. 41-60 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
2 Citations (Scopus)

Quantifying uncertainty in satellite-retrieved land surface temperature from cloud detection errors

Bulgin, C. E., Merchant, C. J., Ghent, D., Klüser, L., Popp, T., Poulsen, C. & Sogacheva, L., 17 Apr 2018, In : Remote Sensing. 10, 4, 20 p., 616.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
4 Citations (Scopus)

The Community Cloud retrieval for CLimate (CC4CL)-Part 1: A framework applied to multiple satellite imaging sensors

Sus, O., Stengel, M., Stapelberg, S., Mcgarragh, G., Poulsen, C., Povey, A. C., Schlundt, C., Thomas, G., Christensen, M., Proud, S., Jerg, M., Grainger, R. & Hollmann, R., 13 Jun 2018, In : Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. 11, 6, p. 3373-3396 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
8 Citations (Scopus)

The Community Cloud retrieval for CLimate (CC4CL)-Part 2: The optimal estimation approach

Mcgarragh, G. R., Poulsen, C. A., Thomas, G. E., Povey, A. C., Sus, O., Stapelberg, S., Schlundt, C., Proud, S., Christensen, M. W., Stengel, M., Hollmann, R. & Grainger, R. G., 13 Jun 2018, In : Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. 11, 6, p. 3397-3431 35 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
12 Citations (Scopus)

Cloud property datasets retrieved from AVHRR, MODIS, AATSR and MERIS in the framework of the Cloud-cci project

Stengel, M., Stapelberg, S., Sus, O., Schlundt, C., Poulsen, C., Thomas, G., Christensen, M., Henken, C. C., Preusker, R., Fischer, J., Devasthale, A., Willén, U., Karlsson, K. G., McGarragh, G. R., Proud, S., Povey, A. C., Grainger, R. G., Meirink, J. F., Feofilov, A., Bennartz, R. & 2 others, Bojanowski, J. S. & Hollmann, R., 23 Nov 2017, In : Earth System Science Data. 9, 2, p. 881-904 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
34 Citations (Scopus)