Simon Proud

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Simon Proud

Post-doctoral researcher

I am a researcher in the Earth Observation Data Group and my work revolves around producing estimates of cloud and aerosol properties using satellite measurements.

In particular, I'm interested in retrieving information about storm (cumulonimbus) clouds, such as their life cycle, altitude and their potential to produce lightning. My end goal is to make this information available to the public, as storm knowledge can be very useful for hazard prevention and avoidance.

More generally, I work on the European Space Agency's Cloud and Aerosol Climate Change Initiatives (CCI): Both are international projects with a goal of producing long-term datasets that describe the properties of clouds and aerosols in our atmosphere. These datasets are intended for use by the climate community in order to better understand how the climate is affecting cloud and pollution events (and vice-versa).

Depending on my goal, I use either low earth orbit (LEO) or geostationary orbit (GEO) satellites. LEO sats have the advantage of good spatial resolution (allowing us to see smaller objects on the surface) but suffer from a lack of temporal resolution (meaning it can take hours or even days to get 2 views of the same area). GEO sats, on the other hand, have poor spatial resolution (typically around 2 or 3 km) but can produce data very quickly: The most recent geosats produce a new image of the Earth every 10 minutes. This is particularly useful for monitoring storms and other weather events that evolve rapidly. For my storm properties work I tend to use the European Meteosat and Japanese Himawari series of geostationary satellites. For my CCI work I use European leo sats that fly variants of the ATSR sensor. These have a strong heritage stretching back several decades, allowing us to build long timeseries of data. The most recent ATSR sensor is called SLSTR, and flies aboard the Sentinel-3 spacecraft.

I occasionally teach at St Hugh's college. If teaching then I'll be found as a tutor for the second year Statistical physics and/or Optics courses.
Details of any teaching can be found here.