Pinker's Homepage

Dr. Rachel T. Pinker
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742

Phone: (301) 405-5380
Fax: (301) 314-9482

M.S.: Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Major: Physics, 1965

Ph.D.: University of Maryland

Major: Meteorology, 1976

Professor Pinker received her graduate training in Physics and Meteorology, and has been with the Department of Meteorology since 1976. In recent years, the focus of her work has been on the development of methods to remotely infer information on surface-atmosphere radiative fluxes. Due to the global nature of climate, its possible change, and our ability to forecast it, it became inevitable that information on climate parameters has to be available on global scale. Earth orbiting satellite are well suited to provide a global view of our climate. Radiative fluxes are the forcing functions of the climate system and are responsible for the maintenance of atmospheric motions. Information on their magnitude and variability can enable scientists to improve parametrization of surface- atmosphere interactions, to validate climate models, and to better understand the hydrological cycle. Professor Pinker, in collaboration with her associates in the Department of Meteorology, government agencies, independent institutions, and students, is involved in several national and international projects, aimed at improving the availability of information, that will lead to a better understanding of the climate system. Examples include the Global Energy and Water Experiment (GEWEX), the Earth Observing System (EOS) Program, and the GEWEX Continental-scale International Project (GCIP/GAAP). A short synopsis of selected projects follows:

GCIP      This is a first attempt to provide the user community with surface radiation budget (SRB) information over the United States, as generated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS). This activity is in support of the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Continental Scale International Project (GCIP/GAPP).

PATHFINDER      Under the joint NOAA/NASA PATHFINDER activity, uniform, long term data sets from observations made from numerous satellites, are being prepared. Of particular interest are the ISCCP DX data (ISCCP), sampled at 30 km resolution. Surface radiative fluxes at 0.5 degree spatial resolution, produced under the PATHFINDER program at the University of Maryland, will be provided at this Web site.

PAR      In the framework of the NOAA Climate and Global Change Program objectives to improve the ability to observe, understand, and predict climate and its response to changes in global environment, an activity to derive Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) from satellite observations, was undertaken. Capabilities were developed to derive PAR on global scale from satellite observations. At this Web site, more information on this activity and selected data sets, are provided.

EOS VALIDATION      Under this project, validation activity in a desert ecroachment zone of sub-Sahel Africa was undertaken, in collaboration with African scientists. The site is located on the campus of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, in the transition zone between the Sahara desert and the savanna zone of upper Nigeria. This is a climatically important region due to its location in a desert transition zone and because of the influence of the dusty Harmattan wind which is persistent for prolonged periods of time, and characterized by steady dusty conditions with high aerosol loading. Observations are made of surface radiative fluxes, as well as aerosol optical depth, as part of the AERONET network.

LBA      The Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) is an international research project led by Brazil. The world's tropical forests are under major stress of conversion to various forms of land use. The LBA experiment has two components. One deals with the ecology of the region and the other deals with the hydrologic cycle. Under the hydrology component we are working towards the improvement of understanding the hydrologic cycle of this region. It is anticipated that spaceborne remote sensing capabilities will help to define the basin scale forcing functions, in order to determine how the basin functions as a regional entity.

Additional information on the research projects directed by Professor Pinker and linkages to collaborative and relevant activities can be found at:

Professor Pinker is teaching courses dealing with Surface-Atmosphere Interactions (METO640), Remote Sensing of Surface Climate Parameters ( METO624) (previously METO658A) , and general Meteorology (METO400), for undergraduate students. Information on course outlines, service, publications and collaborative efforts, is in preparation.