Steve Nesbitt


  • Ph.D. Meteorology, University of Utah, 2003
  • M.S. Meteorology, Texas A&M University, 1999
  • B.S. Meteorology, summa cum laude, State University of New York at Oswego, 1997

Precipitation is a necessary component of life on Earth and is a key component of the Earth’s water and energy cycles.  Precipitation, and its extremes, including droughts and floods, have wide-ranging impacts on the environment and society.  Precipitation arises from a plethora of types of weather systems that occur within the background of Earth’s climate, yet the millions of individual hydrometeors that form even in an individual thunderstorm arise from microphysical processes occurring on molecular to micrometer-scales.  Processes work together across this tremendous range of scales, with the stage set by globally-varying atmospheric dynamics, to provide the energy that powers severe storms, devastating floods, tropical cyclones, and gives rise to two-thirds of the energy that drives the Earth’s winds.  This incredibly complex system provides the motivation for my observationally and model-based research investigating how precipitation processes operate in and impact the Earth System. The goals of this work include improving predictions of precipitation and its many impacts, including understanding the potential impacts of climate variability and change on precipitation processes and our life-giving water resources. 


My research group's primary research interests include:

(1) improving measurements of clouds and precipitation,

(2) using satellite, ground-based, and aircraft-based observations and models to study the physical and dynamic processes in clouds and precipitation in weather systems, including in high-impact weather, 

(3) understanding the complex connections between clouds, precipitation, and climate, and

(4) improving global societal resilience to extreme weather and hydrometeorological hazards.   

Research Areas

Courses Taught

  • ATMS 305: Geophysical Data Analysis
  • ATMS 315: Meteorological Instrumentation
  • ATMS 406: Tropical Meteorology
  • ATMS 571: Graduate Professional Development