Ethan Nelson

PhD Candidate
PhD Topic: 
Global Precipitation Energy Effects
Completed in 2014
MS Topic: 
Latent Heating Retrievals for CloudSat
Completed in 2012
BS Major: 
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Room 1339
1225 West Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53706
Student Bio: 

I am a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow and PhD candidate studying the effects of precipitation formation and growth in the atmosphere on Earth's energy and water cycles. This work involves the development of algorithms to quantify these microphysical processes using active and passive microwave satellite instruments, including the CloudSat mission and proposed ACE satellite. I have previously integrated cloud-resolving model simulations into the NASA Earth Observing System Simulator Suite while visiting at JPL for use in simulations of future satellite concepts. I am also interested in the study of geoinformatics and crowdsourcing. As a part of my graduate study, I will soon defend my Delta Certificate in Research, Teaching, and Learning. Finally, I am a strong advocate of free and open source software—participating in and contributing to projects such as OpenStreetMap.

I earned my M.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2014 under supervision of Prof. Tristan L'Ecuyer. Before attending UW, I received a B.S. summa cum laude in Meteorology (with a Mathematics minor) at Texas A&M University in 2012 with an Undergraduate Research Scholar designation..


Nelson, E. L., T. S. L'Ecuyer, S. M. Saleeby, W. Berg, S. Herbener, and S. C. van den Heever, 2016: Toward an Algorithm for Estimating Latent Heat Release in Warm Rain Systems J. Atmos. Ocn. Tech., 33, 1309-1329, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-15-0205.1 [Download]
Nelson, E. L., 2016: Satellites: Invaluable eyes in the sky Physics Today Online: Down To Earth, doi: 10.1063/PT.5.4026, [Download]

Research Highlights