The Sabel region of West Africa is sensitive to climate change given its location on the margin of the tropics. It has experienced general drought interspersed with periods of extreme drought over the past thirty years and the extreme drought events have occasionally lead to disastrous socioeconomic consequences. The climate of the Sahel is modulated by several factors including Saharan dust and the depth and duration of its summer monsoon. An experiment conducted in 2006 using the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program’s Mobile Climate Research Facility and the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (GERB) aboard METEOSAT has lead to an improved understanding of the radiation budget of Sahel. Combinations of measurements made during this experiment are used to determine the role of clouds, dust, and water vapor in modulating the cross-atmosphere net radiative flux divergence. The measurements are also used to test the ability of three Global Climate Models used in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a recent version of the NCAR Community Climate Model to reproduce the observed structure in the Sahel region.
Bio: Dr. Mark Miller’s research efforts are focused on improving our understanding of the complex feedbacks that exist between aerosols, clouds and the climate system, and the accurate representation of these processes in Global Climate Models. He is a co-developer the cloud detecting radar technology that has become a staple in the climate research community for the past decade and was recently installed on an orbiting satellite by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). He has participate in multiple field programs, the first in 1987, and was principal investigator during the multi-agency Marine Stratus, Radiation, Aerosol, and Drizzle Experiment conducted in 2004 and the Cloud and Land Surface Interaction Campaign conducted in 2006. He currently serves as the Site Scientist for the US Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program Mobile Facility (www.arm.gov), which samples the atmospheric structure in remote locations to improve global climate simulations, and recently received a US Department of Energy Agency Appreciation Award for his work on this project. Dr. Miller obtained his doctorate from the Pennsylvania State University in 1994 and has authored or co-authored forty five published scientific papers. He is an Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science at Rutgers University.