Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Brent McBride


Brent McBride's Contact Card & Information.
Org Code: 613
Mail Code 613
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Aqua and Terra MODIS Characterization and On-Orbit Calibration

I lead aspects of the operational calibration and algorithm development for the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. MODIS is a scanning radiometer that images the Earth in 21 reflective solar and 15 thermal emissive wavelengths. Over 20 years of MODIS data forms a large part of our global climate record for cloud, aerosol, land, ocean, and molecular properties.

A major focus of my work is improvements to MODIS on-board and Earth-view vicarious calibration in the post-constellation exit era. I use co-incident multi-angle and/or polarimetric data, vector radiative transfer modeling, and deep learning approaches. This work builds the foundation for instrument performance monitoring for upcoming NASA missions, such as PACE and AOS. For more details, visit

The Hyper Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP)

The HARP instrument is a wide field-of-view, multi-angle imaging polarimeter that advances the way we measure and interpret aerosol and cloud microphysical properties from space. HARP was funded through the NASA ESTO InVEST program and was developed jointly by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in Baltimore, MD, and the Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) in Logan, Utah. I led the pre-launch calibration and cloud science applications with HARP, and also contributed to its development at all stages, including optical design, deployment, algorithm development, and on-orbit trending.

The HARP instrument won Small Satellite of the Year 2020 from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and is the first American instrument of its kind in space. This work paved the way for aircraft instrumentation (Airborne HARP) and a highly optimized HARP2 onboard the upcoming NASA PACE mission. For more details, visit


Senior Research Scientist

Science Systems and Applications, Inc. - Lanham, MD

2021 - Present

Graduate Research Assistant

Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology - Baltimore, MD

2015 - 2020



2021. "Efficient multi-angle polarimetric inversion of aerosols and oceancolor powered by a deep neural network forward model." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14 (6): 4083–4110 [] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Retrieval of aerosol properties from Airborne Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (AirHARP) observations during ACEPOL 2017." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 13 (10): 5207-5236 [10.5194/amt-13-5207-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "The Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL) airborne field campaign." Earth System Science Data 12 (3): 2183-2208 [Full Text] [10.5194/essd-12-2183-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Spatial distribution of cloud droplet size properties from Airborne Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (AirHARP) measurements." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 13 (4): 1777-1796 [10.5194/amt-13-1777-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]


2022. "Assessment of polarization sensitivity of Aqua MODIS using co-incident POLDER-3 polarized measurements over marine stratocumulus clouds." Earth Observing Systems XXVII, SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications 12332 [10.1117/12.2633017] [Proceedings]

2019. "The Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter-2 (HARP-2): A wide FOV polarimetric imager for high resolution spatial and angular characterization of cloud and aerosol microphysics." Proceedings of the 70th International Astronautical Congress IAC-19-B1.2.7 1-12 [Full Text] [Proceedings]

2018. "The HARP Hyperangular Imaging Polarimeter and the Need for Small Satellite Payloads with High Science Payoff for Earth Science Remote Sensing." 2018 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium 18 6304-6307 [10.1109/igarss.2018.8518823] [Proceedings]