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William Smith (NASA)

Title: Research Physical Scientist
Technical Focus Area: Climate Science, Atmospheric Composition, Applied Science, Air Quality & Weather, Airborne Science
Missions/ProjectsCERES, SatCORPS
Study Topics: Cloud radiative effects, cloud climate data records, Earth radiation budget, cloud composition, in-flight icing, weather forecasting


William Smith is a Research Scientist in the Climate Science Branch of the Science Directorate at the NASA Langley Research Center. Dr. Smith has used satellite data to study clouds and radiation for more than 30 years. He provides scientific leadership for planning and executing surface and aircraft-based field experiments and for conducting experimental and theoretical investigations to develop physical understandings of radiant energy processes involving clouds, aerosols, the atmosphere, and the surface. Dr. Smith leads the CERES cloud retrieval working group, which provides climate data records of cloud properties from satellite imager data to support Earth Radiation Budget studies. He also leads the NASA SatCORPS, developing real-time applications for satellite cloud products and delivering these datasets to operational weather forecasting centers and other users. He has led two major field campaigns for NASA; The Chesapeake Lighthouse and Aircraft Measurements for Satellites (CLAMS) conducted in 2001 and the Arctic Radiation-IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment (ARISE) conducted in 2014.

Publication Bibliography:

Select Publications:

  • Smith, W.L., Jr., P.F. Hein, and S.K. Cox: The 27-28 October 1986 FIRE IFO Cirrus Case Study: In Situ Observations for Radiation and Dynamic Properties of a Cirrus Cloud Layer. Monthly Weather Review, vol. 118, November 1990.;2
  • Smith, W. L. Jr., T.P. Charlock, R. Kahn, J.V. Martins, L.A. Remer, P.V. Hobbs, J. Redemann, C.K. Rutledge, 2005: EOS-TERRA aerosol and radiative flux validation: An overview of the Chesapeake Lighthouse and Aircraft Measurements for Satellites (CLAMS) experiment. J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 903-918.
  • Smith, W. L., Jr, 2014: 4-D cloud properties from passive satellite data and applications to resolve the flight icing threat to aircraft. PhD Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 165 pp.
  • Minnis, P., G. Hong, S. Sun-Mack, W. L. Smith Jr., Y. Chen, and S. D. Miller (2016), Estimating nocturnal opaque ice cloud optical depth from MODIS multi- spectral infrared radiances using a neural network method, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 121, 4907–4932, doi:10.1002/ 2015JD024456, Smith,
  • W. L., Jr., and co-authors, 2017: Arctic Radiation-IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment: The Arctic Radiant Energy System during the Critical Seasonal Ice Transition. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 98, 1399–1426,
  • Trepte, Q. Z., P. Minnis, S. Sun-Mack, C. R. Yost, Y. Chen, Z. Jin, G. Hong, F.-L. Chang, W. L. Smith, Jr., K. Bedka, T.L. Chee, 2019: Global cloud detection for CERES Edition 4 using Terra and Aqua MODIS data. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., vol. 57, no. 11, pp. 9410-9449, Nov. 2019, doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2019.2926620,
  • Minnis, P., S. Sun-Mack, W. L. Smith Jr., G. Hong, Y. Chen, “Advances in neural network detection and retrieval of multilayer clouds for CERES using multispectral satellite data,” Proc. SPIE 11152, Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XXIV, 1115202 (9 October 2019),
  • Khlopenkov, K., D. Spangenberg, W. L. Smith Jr., “Fusion of surface ceilometer data and satellite cloud retrievals in 2D mesh interpolating model with clustering,” Proc. SPIE 11152, Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XXIV, 111521F (9 October 2019);
  • Minnis, P., and co-authors (W. L. Smith, Jr.), 2020: CERES MODIS cloud product retrievals for Edition 4, Part 1: IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2020.3008866,
  • C. R. Yost, P. Minnis, S. Sun-Mack, Y. Chen and W. L. Smith, “CERES MODIS Cloud Product Retrievals for Edition 4–Part II: Comparisons to CloudSat and CALIPSO,” in IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2020.3015155,

Professional Memberships:

  • AGU
  • AMS

Related Websites:

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