Dr. Santiago Gassó specializes in observational studies of aerosols, clouds and their interactions using a combination of satellite detectors. He has extensive knowledge on technical fields related to the observation aerosols using laboratory, remote sensing and aircraft sensors as well as operating and modifying aerosol transport models. These activities include research and development aerosol retrieval algorithms (optical range), modeling of aerosol optical properties (including polarization) and discovery of new aerosol and cloud phenomena as well as new approaches to observe them. He has published as lead or co-author in all these subjects in major scientific journals.
Career Summary and Main Projects
He is an University of Washington graduate in geophysics (Atmospheric Science track) with thesis work on in-situ observations of aerosols, their optical properties in relation to remote sensing and evaluation of the first versions of the MODIS (first sensor of NASA's Earth Observing Satellite series) aerosol algorithm. In his post-doctoral work with the Naval Research Laboratory, he acquired aerosol global modeling experience with the design of a (and still currently operational) module to compute optical and radiative aerosol properties in the Navy Aerosol Assimilation Prediction System (NAAPS) model. From 2005 to 2008, he was an aerosol scientist in the NPOESS Preparatory Project science team and he was tasked to evaluate the first versions of the operational aerosol retrieval algorithm. From 2008 to 2107, he was an Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI, one of the first hyperspectral sensors with global coverage) science team and a member of the OMI aerosol remote sensing group led by Dr. Omar Torres. During 2009 to 2011, he lead the Aerosol-Ocean Interactions working group, one of the science working groups for the Aerosol, Clouds and Ecosystems (ACE) mission, a proposed NASA mission to fulfill the NRC Decadal Survey requirements. During this time he joined the science team of Japan's Cloud and Aerosol Imager to develop new ways to observe aerosols in the UV (2014-2018). In 2018, he rejoined the S-NPP science team this time as PI scientist and he worked on the development of aerosol retrievals using a combination of near ultraviolet (OMPS-NM sensor) and visible (VIIRS sensor) observations. In the same year, he joined as external science advisor to the algorithm development team of Argentina's SABIA-Mar mission, a moderate spectro-radiometer to be launched in 2024. More recently, he is working in two projects. One is as a science aerosol lead in the development of a new sensor technology for full polarimetry remote sensing (Kerry Meyer and Federico Capasso, NASA and Harvard leads respectively). The second project is within the Dark Target aerosol group (Robert Levy, NASA lead) in GSFC where he is carrying out a critical review and modification of the operational cloud mask scheme in the aerosol algorithms used by MODIS and VIIRS.
Other Scientific Interests
In addition to the operational aspects of remote sensing retrievals, his research interests include the study of dust at high latitudes. In particular, characterization of its production and long range transport as well as its impacts in biogeochemical and paleo-climate studies. He has carried out for the last 15 years this activity. He has been a collaborator and Co-I in internationally funded projects to survey and monitor dust activity in Patagonia. He made the first dedicated satellite and model studies of dust activity in Patagonia. In 2007, he chaired and organized the Multidisciplinary Workshop on Southern South American Dust held in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, 2007 for which obtained NSF funding and had an attendance 60 participant (~20 international). Between 2010 and 2013, he participated as co-I in a NASA-IDS funded project to characterize dust transport from Alaska glaciers and has been monitoring the area with remote sensing tools since then. During the period 2014-2017, he was part of the High Latitude Dust and Cold Environment Network, a working group supported by The Leverhulme Trust (UK). He has authored or co-authored peer-reviewed journal articles many on the subject of dust transport at high latitudes as characterized by satellite, model and surface observations.
He also developed an interest in studying volcanoes through a discovery he made in 2006. He found that low levels volcanic activity (non-explosive passive degassing activity VEI<2) can be detected in cloudy conditions by studying the change in properties in nearby water clouds. The discovery provides an excellent opportunity for studying aerosol-cloud interactions as well as provides a way to detect volcanic activity in cloudy conditions.
Another subject of interest is the exploration of using measurement of aerosols polarization remotely, specifically by measuring circular polarization (or CP). Currently planned space satellite sensors with polarimetry capabilities will not measure CP. However, there are conditions in the laboratory and in the environment where aerosols can produce circular polarization. Because the scattered nature of the information available on CP in the literature, he wrote in 2022 a first review on the subject of circular polarization of aerosols in relation to satellite applications in order to provide to the science community a guiding document on the subject.
Outreach and Other
Her received leadership awards by NASA's Climate and Radiation Branch in 2006 and 2020.
Additional outreach and networking activates include the participation in the Science Steering Committee of SOLAS (Surface-Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study). SOLAS is an organization dedicated to the promotion, coordination and training of scientists on subjects related to aerosol, gas and cloud exchanges at the marine interface and how these systems interact with each other.
While not currently with a recurrent teaching activity, he has a diverse instructional experience. He has taught in workshops and lectures at undergraduate and graduate level through the years. This included mentoring summer interns, thesis co-adviser as well as invited lecturer of small courses. His most recent teaching activity was carried out during June/2019 when he was invited by the Alfred Wegener Institute (Germany) to be a remote sensing instructor onboard of the ice-breaker Polarstern during their oceanographic summer school. He also taught an online remote sensing tutorial 2022 in the SOLAS summer virtual school and he will carry out a similar SOLAS teaching activity in person next June 202 in Cape Verde, Africa.
Much of these interests are expressed through his social media account (Twitter: @ SanGasso, 3.7K followers) where he regularly posts about his current research and aerosol events around world as seen with remote sensing.
See the ranking of publications: http://www.researcherid.com/rid/H-9571-2014
ORCID : http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6872-0018