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Mahesh Mundakkara Kovilakam (SSAI)

Title: Senior Research Scientist
Technical Focus Area: Chemistry & Dynamics
Mission/Project: SAGE III/ISS
Study Topics: Stratospheric Aerosols and their impact on climate, Remote sensing, In-situ measurements, Climate Dynamics, Climate Change and Variability

About:

Mahesh earned his PhD from University of Wyoming in 2012 with a degree in Atmospheric Sciences. He completed his PhD under Prof. Terry Deshler with a dissertation titled “On the Accuracy of Stratospheric Aerosol Extinction and Surface Area Derived from in situ and Remote Measurements”. For the dissertation work, SAGE II aerosol extinction coefficient and surface area density data have been used as one of the main remote measurements for validation purpose. After the completion of PhD, Mahesh took a position as a postdoc researcher at UCR, where he worked with CMIP5 models to understand precipitation changes in the southwestern US. Prior to coming to Langley in 2017, Mahesh worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), working with Community Earth System Model (CESM) to understand the impact of aerosols on climate. While working at ORNL, Mahesh has gained experience in working with GCMs and high performance computing and conducted and analyzed experiments with CAM4 forced with BC distributions that have been modified to match the vertical profile of smoke derived from CALIPSO satellite measurements. Mahesh joined the SAGE III/ISS team in 2017. He worked on developing version 2.0 of Global space-based Stratospheric Aerosol climatology (GloSSAC). In version 2.0 of GloSSAC, SAGE III/ISS multi-wavelength aerosol extinction coefficient data has been incorporated.

Publication Bibliography:

Select Publications:

  • Thomason, L. W., Kovilakam, M., Schmidt, A., von Savigny, C., Knepp, T., and Rieger, L.: Evidence for the predictability of changes in the stratospheric aerosol size following volcanic eruptions of diverse magnitudes using space-based instruments, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 1143–1158, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-21-1143-2021, 2021.
  • Kovilakam, M., Thomason, L., Ernest, N., Rieger, L., Bourassa, A., and Millan, L.: A Global Space-based Stratospheric Aerosol Climatology (Version 2.0): 1979-2018, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-56, accepted, 2020.
  • Deshler, T., B. Luo., M. Kovilakam., T. Peter., L. Kalnajs (2019) : Retrieval of aerosol size distributions from in situ particle counter measurements: instrument counting eciency and comparisons with satellite measurements., Journal of Geophysical Research- Atmospheres, 124, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JD029558
  • Kovilakam, M., S. Mahajan, R. Saravanan, and P. Chang (2017): Climate impacts of CALIPSO-guided corrections to black carbon aerosol vertical distributions in a Global Climate Model, Geophysical Research Letters, 44, https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL074652
  • Kovilakam, M., and S. Mahajan (2015): Black carbon aerosols induced Northern Hemisphere tropical expansion, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 4964-4972, https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GL064559
  • Kovilakam, M., and T. Deshler (2015): On the accuracy of stratospheric aerosol extinction derived from in situ size distribution measurements and surface area density derived from remote SAGE II and HALOE extinction measurements, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 120, https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JD023303
  • Allen R.J., J. R. Norris, and M. Kovilakam (2014): In uence of anthropogenic aerosols and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on tropical belt width, Nature Geosci, 7, https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2091

Professional Memberships:

  • AGU
  • AMS

Education/Professional Experience:

  • University of Wyoming, WY, USA, Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences, Aug. 2012 Advisor: Prof. T. Deshler
  • Senior Research Scientist, SSAI/NASA Langley Research Center, Sept. 2019-present 
  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, NASA Langley Research Center, Sept. 2017-Aug. 2019 
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Computational Earth Sciences Group, Climate Change Science Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oct. 2014-Jul. 2017,  Postdoc
  • Department of Earth Sciences, University of California Riverside, Oct. 2012-Sep. 2014

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  • CAPABLE/CRAVE Full Site Photo from left to right site enclosures: 1196A NASA LaRC, MPLnet, Virginia DEQ
    CAPABLE/CRAVE Full Site Photo from left to right site enclosures: 1196A NASA LaRC, MPLnet, Virginia DEQ

  • NASA LaRC NAST-I and HU ASSIST side-by-side for intercomparison
    NASA LaRC NAST-I and HU ASSIST side-by-side for intercomparison

  • Virginia DEQ, NASA and Penn State-NATIVE Enclosures (from right to left)
    Virginia DEQ, NASA and Penn State-NATIVE Enclosures (from right to left)

  • Ozone-sonde away.
    Ozone-sonde away.
  • About to lift.
    About to lift.
PurpleAir PA-II-SD Air Quality Sensor
Laser Particle Counters
Type (2) PMS5003
Range of measurement 0.3, 0.5, 1.0, 2.5, 5.0, & 10 μm
Counting efficiency 50% at 0.3μm & 98% at ≥0.5μm
Effective range
(PM2.5 standard)*
0 to 500 μg/m³
Maximum range (PM2.5 standard)* ≥1000 μg/m³
Maximum consistency error (PM2.5 standard) ±10% at 100 to 500μg/m³ & ±10μg/m³ at 0 to 100μg/m³
Standard Volume 0.1 Litre
Single response time ≤1 second
Total response time ≤10 seconds
Pressure, Temperature, & Humidity Sensor
Type BME280
Temperature range -40°F to 185°F (-40°C to 85°C)
Pressure range 300 to 1100 hPa
Humidity Response time (τ63%): 1 s
Accuracy tolerance: ±3% RH
Hysteresis: ≤2% RH


Pandora capabilities

Instrument

Response

Parameter

Precision

Uncertainty

Range

Resolution

Pandora

~2min

Total Column O3, NO2, HCHO, SO2, H2O, BrO

0.01 DU

0.1 DU

 

 

Virginia Department of Environment Quality in-situ instrumentation

Instrument

Response

Parameter

Precision

Uncertainty

Thermo Scientific 42C (Molybdenum converter)
(VADEQ)

60 s

NO and NOx

50 pptv

3%

Teledyne API 200EU w/ photolytic converter
(EPA) PI-Szykman

20 s

NO2

50 pptv

 

Thermo Scientific 49C (VADEQ)

20 s

O3

1 ppbv

4%

Thermo Scientific 48i (VADEQ)

60 s

CO

40 ppbv

5%

Thermo Scientific 43i (VADEQ)

80 s

SO2

0.2 ppbv

5%

Thermo Scientific 1400AB TEOM (VADEQ)

600 s

PM2.5 (continuous)

µg/m3

1 3%

Thermo Scientific Partisol Plus 2025 (VADEQ)

24 hr

PM2.5 (filter-based FRM)- 1/3 days

 

 

BSRN-LRC-49
Large area view.
Latitude: 37.1038
Longitude: -76.3872
Elevation: 3 m Above sea level
Scenes: urban, marsh, bay, river and farm.

Legend

  • The inner red circle is a 20km CERES foot print centered on the BSRN-LRC site.
  • The pink circle represents a possible tangential 20km foot print.
  • The middle red circle represents the area in which a 20km foot print could fall and still see the site.
  • Yellow is a sample 40 deg off nadir foot print.
  • The outer red circle is the region which would be seen by a possible 40 deg off nadir foot print.
The BSRN-LRC sun tracker at the NASA Langley Research Center on a snowy day (02/20/2015) The BSRN-LRC sun tracker at the NASA Langley Research Center on a snowy day (02/20/2015)
CAPABLE-BSRN Google Site Location Image

Team Satellite Sensor G/L Dates Number of obs Phase angle range (°)
CMA FY-3C MERSI LEO 2013-2014 9 [43 57]
CMA FY-2D VISSR GEO 2007-2014
CMA FY-2E VISSR GEO 2010-2014
CMA FY-2F VISSR GEO 2012-2014
JMA MTSAT-2 IMAGER GEO 2010-2013 62 [-138,147]
JMA GMS5 VISSR GEO 1995-2003 50 [-94,96]
JMA Himawari-8 AHI GEO 2014- -
EUMETSAT MSG1 SEVIRI GEO 2003-2014 380/43 [-150,152]
EUMETSAT MSG2 SEVIRI GEO 2006-2014 312/54 [-147,150]
EUMETSAT MSG3 SEVIRI GEO 2013-2014 45/7 [-144,143]
EUMETSAT MET7 MVIRI GEO 1998-2014 128 [-147,144]
CNES Pleiades-1A PHR LEO 2012 10 [+/-40]
CNES Pleiades-1B PHR LEO 2013-2014 10 [+/-40]
NASA-MODIS Terra MODIS LEO 2000-2014 136 [54,56]
NASA-MODIS Aqua MODIS LEO 2002-2014 117 [-54,-56]
NASA-VIIRS NPP VIIRS LEO 2012-2014 20 [50,52]
NASA-OBPG SeaStar SeaWiFS LEO 1997-2010 204 (<10, [27-66])
NASA/USGS Landsat-8 OLI LEO 2013-2014 3 [-7]
NASA OCO-2 OCO LEO 2014
NOAA-STAR NPP VIIRS LEO 2011-2014 19 [-52,-50]
NOAA GOES-10 IMAGER GEO 1998-2006 33 [-66, 81]
NOAA GOES-11 IMAGER GEO 2006-2007 10 [-62, 57]
NOAA GOES-12 IMAGER GEO 2003-2010 49 [-83, 66]
NOAA GOES-13 IMAGER GEO 2006 11
NOAA GOES-15 IMAGER GEO 2012-2013 28 [-52, 69]
VITO Proba-V VGT-P LEO 2013-2014 25 [-7]
KMA COMS MI GEO 2010-2014 60
AIST Terra ASTER LEO 1999-2014 1 -27.7
ISRO OceanSat2 OCM-2 LEO 2009-2014 2
ISRO INSAT-3D IMAGER GEO 2013-2014 2

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