Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Galina (Gala) Wind

(Senior Research Scientist)

Galina (Gala) Wind's Contact Card & Information.
Org Code: 613
Mail Code 613
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Galina (Gala) Wind received the B.S. and M.C.S. degrees in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000 and 2002 respectively and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in atmospheric and oceanic science from the University of Maryland College Park in 2010 and 2016 respectively.

She has over 30 years of experience in advanced software development, signal processing and data analysis at all levels from embedded real-time systems to high-performance computing applications. Dr. Wind is a Lead Research Scientist with the Science Systems and Applications, Inc in Lanham, MD and has been a member of the MODIS Science Team since 2002. Prior to that she was a member of the Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign between 1998 and 2002 and a member of the High Energy Physics Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign between 1996 and 1998.

She has a wide range of research interests from modeling applications to radiative transfer to remote sensing involving a wide variety of satellite and aircraft instruments.

Dr. Wind is a mother of three.


Research Interests

Remote Sensing of Clouds and Aerosols

Earth Science: Remote Sensing

Software Development

Earth Science: Analysis

Crossing Modeling With Remote Sensing

Earth Science: Analysis

Radiative Transfer

Earth Science: Clouds

Current Projects



Development lead and general team oversight on CHIMAERA system

The Cross-platform HIgh resolution Multi-instrument AtmosphEric Retrieval Algorithms (CHIMAERA) is a highly flexible and fault-tolerant system that allows the operational MODIS cloud product and other science algorithms to run on fourteen different spaceborne and airborne passive imaging instruments. CHIMAERA covers every orbit type: L1, GEO, LEO and aircraft (ER-2, B-200, P-3, GlobalHawk). CHIMAERA has allowed us to form extensive and productive collaborations with many other research groups and instrument teams, including NOAA LEO and GEO teams. The system has been up and running since 2007. CHIMAERA presently operates in tandem with its closest relative: NOAA PATMOS-x system for processing of VIIRS, SEVIRI and AHI/ABI.



Development lead and experiment designer on MCARS

The Multi-sensor Cloud and Aerosol Retrieval Simulator (MCARS) is an advanced radiance OSSE that has been in operation since 2010. It is a true joint project between remote sensing (MODIS Cloud, MODIS Aerosol) and modeling (GMAO) communities. MCARS produces simulated MODIS L1B scenes fully equivalent to real sensor data, except with known source for every pixel. It is a unique sandbox for examination of model performance, operational algorithm proofing and research algorithm evaluation. MCARS can also act as a retrieval proxy proving ground for the modeling community. MCARS radiances combined with operational retrieval algorithms can act as a "ground truth" for COSP simulators as gridded products made from MCARS radiances can be compared directly to COSP output as they both started from known state.


Remote Sensing

Development lead on MARA

MARA can reformat and re-grid instrument data to ease comparisons with GCMs or assimilation of instrument data into GCMs. Multi-instrument Atmospheric Retrieval Aggregation (MARA) is a novel approach to creating Level-3 gridded statistical aggregation products from many different sources. MARA allows an operator to design and run a wide variety of statistical analyses without altering the source code, only writing a study description in an external file. MARA can combine different instruments onto a single grid. MARA is the only gridding code that can create animations of the gridding process thus allowing detailed examination of artifacts.

MODIS Science Team

VIIRS Science Team

DSCOVR Science Team

Permafrost Discovery Gateway

NSF funding under Navigating the New Arctic (NNA) program


Programmer/Analyst through Lead Research Scientist

SSAI, Inc (02.2005-present), sub-contracted by SSAI (05.2002-02.2005) - Code 613 B33/C316 NASA GSFC 8800 Greenbelt Rd. Greenbelt MD, 20771

May 2002 - Present

Development lead on the Cross-platform HIgh resolution Multi-instrument AtmosphEric Retrieval Algorithms (CHIMAERA) system. CHIMAERA runs the operational MODIS cloud optical and microphysical properties algorithm on 13 different spaceborne and airborne instruments using a shared-core architecture. CHIMAERA's unique design allows us to add a new sensor to the system in as little as a couple of days. CHIMAERA also doubles as a field processing system for airborne sensors. It is highly fault-tolerant and allows an operator to easily recover from partial instrument failures in the field and continue producing science data.

Lead developer on Multi-sensor Cloud and Aerosol Retrieval Simulator (MCARS). MCARS is a radiance-level OSSE, currently running as a combination of MODIS instrument and GEOS-5 model. MCARS can operate with any model and emulate any sensor. MCARS is a fully controlled algorithm proofing sandbox that allows a developer to pull apart their research or operational remore sensing algorithm or a modeling proxy and examine various sensitivities in isolation. MCARS outputs MODIS L1B files that are completely transparent to operations. MCARS is a unique cross-disciplinary project, a full collaboration between modeling and remote sensing communities.

Scientific Programmer / Research Assistant

National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) - Urbana, IL

September 1998 - May 2002

Co-lead on the LCA Vision scientific visualization tool at the Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics.

Research Assistant

High Energy Physics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Urbana, IL

September 1996 - May 1998

Undergraduate research assistant to Dr. Mats Selen.

1996 -- wrote the code for syncronization of neutrino detectors using the Global Positioning System

1997 -- hardware build for the CLEO detector at Cornell, prototyping for CAMAC architecture for CERN experiments. All hardware, assembly programming, FPGAs, logic analyzers all that sort of good fun.

PC Technician

American Computer Systems, Inc - St. Louis, MO

December 1994 - August 1996

Custom build, repair and upgrades of personal computers.

Teaching Experience

2002 -- Instructor ARTGD 332/333, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


PhD,  Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland College Park, 2016

MS, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland College Park, 2010

Master of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002

BS, Computer Science, with Honors, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000

Professional Societies


2015 - Present


2016 - Present


2008 -- NASA Group Achievement Award (TC4 Field Campaign)

2015 -- Earth Sciences Division Atmospheres Contractor and Partner Performance Award (CHIMAERA system)

2004, 2008, 2014, 2021 -- Climate and Radiation Branch awards

2019 -- Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Daisy Award for STEM outreach work.

2019 -- Pecora team award, Terra mission


Improvement and Assessment of the EPIC Cloud Products

DSCOVR Science Team - NASA (NNH18ZDA001N-DSCOVR) - Awarded: 2019-02-09

Dates: 2019-05-01  - 2025-02-28

Permafrost Discovery Gateway - NSF - Awarded: 2019-04-04

Dates: 2020-10-01  - 2023-10-31

Other Professional Information

Russian, native speaker

Professional artist (visual arts)

Special Experience

Being a mother of three makes one an expert in conflict resolution, project management and human resources management.



2022. "Analysis of the MODIS above-cloud aerosol retrieval algorithm using MCARS." Geoscientific Model Development 15 (1): 1-14 [10.5194/gmd-15-1-2022] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Improved cloud detection for the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS): training an artificial neural network on colocated MLS and Aqua MODIS data." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14 (12): 7749-7773 [10.5194/amt-14-7749-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The effect of low-level thin arctic clouds on shortwave irradiance: evaluation of estimates from spaceborne passive imagery with aircraft observations." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14 (4): 2673-2697 [10.5194/amt-14-2673-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "The NASA MODIS-VIIRS Continuity Cloud Optical Properties Products." Remote Sensing 13 (1): 2 [10.3390/rs13010002] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Sensitivity of Multispectral Imager Liquid Water Cloud Microphysical Retrievals to the Index of Refraction." Remote Sensing 12 (24): 4165 [10.3390/rs12244165] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Evaluation of the Aqua MODIS Collection 6.1 multilayer cloud detection algorithm through comparisons with CloudSat CPR and CALIPSO CALIOP products." AMT [10.5194/amt-2019-448] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "The CHIMAERA system for retrievals of cloud top, optical and microphysical properties from imaging sensors." Computers & Geosciences 134 104345 [10.1016/j.cageo.2019.104345] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Shortwave Radiative Effect of Arctic Low-Level Clouds: Evaluation of Imagery-Derived Irradiance with Aircraft Observations." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques [10.5194/amt-2019-344] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Evaluation of Chlorophyll-a and POC MODIS Aqua Products in the Southern Ocean." Remote Sensing 11 (15): 1793 [10.3390/rs11151793] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Cloud products from the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC): algorithms and initial evaluation." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 12 (3): 2019-2031 [10.5194/amt-12-2019-2019] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Improving cloud optical property retrievals for partly cloudy pixels using coincident higher-resolution single band measurements: A feasibility study using ASTER observations." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres [10.1029/2018jd028902] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "MODIS Retrievals of Cloud Effective Radius in Marine Stratocumulus Exhibit No Significant Bias." Geophysical Research Letters 45 (19): 10,656-10,664 [10.1029/2018gl079325] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "In-Flight Calibration and Performance of the OSIRIS-REx Visible and IR Spectrometer (OVIRS)." Remote Sensing 10 (9): 1486 [10.3390/rs10091486] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Quantifying the Impacts of Subpixel Reflectance Variability on Cloud Optical Thickness and Effective Radius Retrievals Based On High-Resolution ASTER Observations." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123 (8): 4239-4258 [10.1002/2017jd027916] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "The MODIS cloud optical and microphysical products: Collection 6 updates and examples from Terra and Aqua." IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens. 55 (1): 502–525 [10.1109/TGRS.2016.2610522] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Marine boundary layer cloud property retrievals from high-resolution ASTER observations: case studies and comparison with Terra MODIS." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 9 (12): 5869-5894 [10.5194/amt-9-5869-2016] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "The spectral signature of cloud spatial structure in shortwave irradiance." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 16 (21): 13791-13806 [10.5194/acp-16-13791-2016] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Multi-sensor cloud and aerosol retrieval simulator and remote sensing from model parameters – Part 2: Aerosols." Geosci. Model Dev. 9 (7): 2377-2389 [10.5194/gmd-9-2377-2016] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "A framework based on 2-D Taylor expansion for quantifying the impacts of subpixel reflectance variance and covariance on cloud optical thickness and effective radius retrievals based on the bispectral method." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 121 (12): 7007-7025 [10.1002/2016jd024837] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Resolving ice cloud optical thickness biases between CALIOP and MODIS using infrared retrievals." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 16 (8): 5075-5090 [10.5194/acp-16-5075-2016] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Retrieval of ice cloud properties using an optimal estimation algorithm and MODIS infrared observations: 2. Retrieval evaluation." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 121 [10.1002/2015jd024528] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Remote sensing of cloud top pressure/height from SEVIRI: analysis of ten current retrieval algorithms." Atmos. Meas. Tech. 7 2839-2867 [10.5194/amt-7-2839-2014] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Multi-sensor cloud retrieval simulator and remote sensing from model parameters – Part 1: Synthetic sensor radiance formulation." Geosci. Model Dev. 6 (6): 2049-2062 [10.5194/gmd-6-2049-2013] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Examining the impact of overlying aerosols on the retrieval of cloud optical properties from passive remote sensing." Journal of Geophysical Research 115 (D10): D10211 [10.1029/2009jd012829] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Remote sensing of radiative and microphysical properties of clouds during TC⁴ : Results from MAS, MASTER, MODIS, and MISR." J. Geophys. Res. 115 D00J07 [10.1029/2009JD013277] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Apparent absorption of solar spectral irradiance in heterogeneous ice clouds." J. Geophys. Res. 115 (D10): D00J22 [10.1029/2009JD013124] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Detection of multi-layer and vertically-extended clouds using A-train sensors." Atmos Meas Tech 3 (1): 233-247 [10.5194/amt-3-233-2010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Multilayer Cloud Detection with the MODIS Near-Infrared Water Vapor Absorption Band." J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol. 49 (11): 2315-2333 [10.1175/2010JAMC2364.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Testing remote sensing on artificial observations: impact of drizzle and 3-D cloud structure on effective radius retrievals." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 10 (19): 9535-9549 [10.5194/acp-10-9535-2010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Comparing irradiance fields derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer airborne simulator cirrus cloud retrievals with solar spectral flux radiometer measurements." Journal of Geophysical Research 112 (D24): D24206 [10.1029/2007jd008711] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Comparison of CALIPSO-Like, LaRC, and MODIS Retrievals of Ice-Cloud Properties over SIRTA in France and Florida during CRYSTAL-FACE." J Appl Meteor Clim 46 (3): 249-272 [10.1175/JAM2435.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Trade wind cumuli statistics in clean and polluted air over the Indian Ocean from in situ and remote sensing measurements." Geophysical Research Letters 31 (21): L21105 [10.1029/2004gl020412] [Journal Article/Letter]

Talks, Presentations and Posters


In-flight Performance and Science Results from the OSIRIS-REx Visible and IR Spectrometer (OVIRS)

13, 2018

Amy A Simon, Dennis Reuter, Nicolas Gorius, Allen Lunsford, Richard Cosentino, Galina Wind, Beth Clark, Dante S Lauretta, The OSIRIS-REx Team

Daytime Global Cloud Variability as Observed by DSCOVR-EPIC

13, 2018

Yuekui Yang, Kerry Meyer, Galina Wind, Yaping Zhou, Alexander Marshak, Qilong Min, Anthony B Davis, Steven E Platnick, David P Duda, Wenying Su

The MARA System and Its Applications

13, 2018

Galina Wind, Steven Platnick, Kerry Meyer

Evaluating the MODIS C6 multilayer cloud detection and phase algorithms through comparisons with CALIOP and CloudSat

13, 2018

B. Marchant, S. Platnick, K. Meyer, G. Wind

S. Platnick, K. Meyer, R. Holz, S.A. Ackerman, A. Heidinger, G. Wind, N. Amarasinghe: AS09-D1-AM2-319A-010 (AS09-A031) Progress in Porting NASA VIIRS-Like Cloud Property Algorithms to ABI and AHI Imagers

July 4, 2018

J. Riedi, G. Wind, M. Patou, S. Platnick, A. Heidinger, F. Thieuleux, K. Meyer, J. Vidot: AS09-D1-AM2-319A-011 (AS09-A034) Validation and Temporal Analysis of the SEV06-CLD Cloud Product, a MODIS-Like Cloud Properties Dataset from SEVIRI/MSG

July 4, 2018

H. Chen, S. Schmidt, O. Coddington, G. Wind, A. Bucholtz, M. Segal-Rosenhaimer, S.E. LeBlanc: A51E-2114: Validation of Cloud Optical Parameters from Passive Remote Sensing in the Arctic by using the Aircraft Measurements


15, 2017

F. Werner, G. Wind, Z. Zhang, S. Platnick: A21A-2143: Partially Cloudy Retrievals: Case Studies with High-resolution ASTER Data and Applicability to MODIS Observations

12, 2017

S. Platnick, K. Meyer, R. Holz, S.A. Ackerman, A. Heidinger, G. Wind, C. Wang, B. Marchant, R. Frey: A11N-08: Progress towards NASA MODIS and Suomi NPP Cloud Property Data Record Continuity

11, 2017

G. Wind, A. Da Silva, K. Meyer, S. Platnick, R. Levy, P. Norris, and S. Mattoo, 2017: “Multi-sensor Cloud and Aerosol Retrieval Simulator and its applications” ELS-XVI oral presentation, College Park, MD March 20-24, 2017

April 20, 2017

Z. Zhang, F. Werner, H.-M. Cho, G. Wind, S. Platnick, A. S. Ackerman, L. Di Girolamo, A. Marshak, and K. Meyer, 2017: “A framework based on 2-D Taylor expansion for quantifying the impacts of sub-pixel reflectance variance and covariance on cloud optical thickness and effective radius retrievals based on the bi-spectral method” ELS-XVI oral presentation, College Park, MD March 20-24, 2017

April 22, 2017

S. Platnick, K. Meyer, G. Wind, N. Amarasinghe, R. Holz, S. A. Ackerman, R. Frey, A Heidinger, A. Walther, S. Dutcher, L. Gumley, 2017: “Progress towards NASA MODIS and VIIRS Cloud Optical Property Data Record Continuity”, AMS annual meeting, Seattle, WA January 24, 2017

February 24, 2017

Selected Public Outreach

NASA Explorer Schools

July 2004 - August 2006

Participated in the NASA Explorer Schools program where middle and high school science teachers visited Goddard over the summer to attend workshops and shadow scientists. The program ended, which is really too bad, because I think the teachers were getting a valuable experience hanging out with us.

Howard County Public School System

February 2015 - April 2020

Regular entertainer at the Bollman Bridge Elementary School STEM-related events. I have given numerous talks on various scientific topics. I have taught astrophysics to first graders. I have taught numerical integration and weather forecasting to third graders. I have given remote sensing talks to kindergartners and second graders. And of course the biology talk every spring that includes live baby frogs is always a hit.

The crowd keeps asking me to come back, so I guess they enjoy my goofy science shows.

Harpeth Hall School Winterim

February 2019 - February 2020

Hosted high school students from Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, TN in a month-long internship. The students learned basics of FORTRAN programming, satellite meteorology and Earth System Science.

Garrett County Public Schools

February 2021 - Present

Science talks on a variety of topics for elementary and middle school students.

NASA Neurodiversity Network mentoring program

July 2023 - Present

I am going to be participating in this remote mentoring program for neurodiverse students interested in STEM this coming summer. My unique perspective as a person with a neurological disability who is in a STEM career, fingers crossed, will be a valuable asset.