Software Engineering

Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) is a global leader in software development, testing, integration and validation of the complex computations used for environmental science modeling.  Our experts are not only intimately familiar with the leading weather and climate models, but they have also contributed significant innovations to them.  Nearly half of our staff is composed of software engineers, many of whom possess extensive domain expertise in the atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences. This knowledge greatly accelerates world-class code development.

That's why many business and government clients come to us to write state-of-the-art algorithms that meet their specialized needs.  Since many of our models, algorithms and software programs are the de facto standards for sensing, simulating, modeling and predicting phenomena in the atmosphere, ocean and space, we can build on our existing capabilities to meet each client's requirements.  All coding is performed by AER software engineers – senior-level staff members who understand not only software but also the science behind the code.

Our extensive software capabilities range from basic and applied research to end-user system design and operations.  AER's solid research heritage enables our software experts to work seamlessly with knowledge experts in transitioning science-based algorithms and models into high-fidelity operational systems. We focus on scientific algorithms, environmental data collection and assimilation, end-to-end models, simulation test beds, and operational systems, which we can design and deliver to run on multiple platforms or as web-based services.

Area Examples
Satellite and other remote sensing

Algorithm Design and Sensor System Simulation

  • AER works with to sensor manufacturers and system integrators to develop models/simulation tools used for the design, testing and validation of ground-based, airborne and satellite remote sensing systems.
  • Over the years we have developed the Interactive Algorithm Tool Box (IATB), a multi-layered architecture designed to aid in the rapid implementation of models and datasets to provide robust and efficient assessments of the overall system performance.

AER transfers science-based measurements into useful environmental and weather intelligence for industry and governments.

  • AER develops software for mining value-added environmental information from remote sensing satellite systems. This software uses proprietary retrieval algorithms to convert raw satellite sensor data into useful environmental products. 
  • Our software development tools and test beds provide accurate and consistent physics-based approaches uniformly across remote sensing sensor technologies: visible, infrared, millimeter wave, and microwave.

We’re developing the operational science algorithms for the next U.S. geostationary meteorological satellite system, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – Series R (GOES-R). This includes:

  • Developing the algorithm software that calibrates satellite data, applies quality controls, and translate them into environmental parameters such as wind velocity, lightning, ocean temperature, cloud top temperature, cloud height and properties, hurricane intensity and other environmental products.
Numerical weather prediction

For more than 20 years AER experts have worked extensively with numerous numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. We incorporate our proprietary bias correction and filtering techniques for specific customer needs.

Our experts have improved the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model by contributing innovations via scientifically-proven software modules. These include clouds, sand and dust.

  • AER has the facilities, manpower and operational expertise to run the WRF models daily. We know how the WRF models work because we helped write them.
  • We write algorithms that use WRF model output, or customize the model for a specific customer purpose.
Geospatial environmental products

 AER’s geospatial capabilities enable clients to establish comprehensive geo-hazard monitoring systems.

  • Flood monitoring and flow prediction
  • Vegetation mapping
  • Land surface feature extraction

We enable decision support through fusion of multiple geospatial sources (image and vector) and integration with industry standard ESRI GIS systems.

AER uses multispectral imagery for a number of client needs:

  • Classify surface properties supporting DoD mission planning and situational awareness products.
  • Analyze images for decision support. These may employ proprietary image processing algorithms or customized rules-based engines.
  • Create accurate, high-resolution mapping of weather events quickly

AER projects and maps wildfire risk for 9 Western U.S. states. The FireLineTM service provides situational awareness for AER and our customers.

Our weather analysis, forecasting and forensic systems are used by Fortune 1000 re/insurance firms to review claims related to weather and to understand the potential resiliency of building structures based on historic weather.

Operational weather and climate scenario planning systems


AER has access to one of the most comprehensive mine-able repositories from operational weather satellites orbiting the earth. The repository includes current, historical and predicted environmental data for local, regional and hemispheric areas across the globe. As a result we can create historical databases based on three decades of satellite data.

AER’s commercial weather and climate forecast products for energy traders, fund managers, and re/insurers capitalize on this abundance of weather data and the company’s science and software expertise. The forecasts are derived from more than twenty years in researching numerical weather prediction models.

Modeling and Simulations for operational scenario planning


AER has developed weather Modeling and Simulation capabilities that allow scenario planners to find historical weather events that match their criteria, anywhere in the world. Extensive integration with operational and training systems supports DoD training and analysis exercises of all sizes and types.

AER has developed proprietary programs and systems that are applied in critical defense missions of national importance. These programs and systems include:

  • Satellite sensor development
  • Remote sensing test bed infrastructure
  • Simulation test bed technology
  • Infrared Target Scene Simulation technology to predict what infrared system operators will see during their mission
Cloud analysis and forecasting

AER is recognized as a global expert in the field of satellite-based cloud property analysis. For over 20 years government agencies, Fortune 500 defense contractors and energy providers have used AER’s state-of-the-art cloud products.

AER developed the suite of science algorithms and software for the world’s only operational global cloud analysis and forecast system. Developed in 1994 and refined continuously, Air Force Weather Agency’s (AFWA) Cloud Depiction and Forecast, System (CDFS-II) relies on AER’s expertise in cloud remote sensing..

Space weather and solar flare disruption

We have 20 years experience in modeling, forecasting and detecting disruptions from solar flares and other space weather, whether those impacts affect instruments on Earth or satellites, or disrupt business operations through impaired electronic equipment, communication or navigation.

AER designed and implemented the mission critical software for the Communications/Navigation Outage Forecasting System (C/NOFS) for the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).

Our Space Environment and Effects Toolkit (SEET) provides modeling of the space environment for satellite designers, mission planners and operators interested in understanding space’s impact on a satellite’s electronic systems. Leading physicists at AER developed SEET using models from the AF-GEOSpace software program at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).

Science algorithm development and validation

AER is a premier developer of scientific algorithms. Our expertise spans from new science algorithms to clients’ legacy algorithms.

AER was a primary developer for remote sensing algorithms for all major meteorological sensors for the DoD/DoC/NASA National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program. These included sensors for:

  • Cross-track Infrared Sounder and Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (CrIMS) which globally produces atmospheric temperature, moisture and pressure profiles from space.
  • Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
  • Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)

AER's patented OSS model well suited for both remote sensing applications and assimilation of satellite observations in numerical weather prediction models. Both applications require extremely fast and accurate models. OSS computes hyperspectral radiances, measured by Earth orbiting satellites, used to determine the properties of the earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and surface for environmental and defense applications, weather prediction, and global change studies.

AER’s rapid atmospheric radiative transfer models improve the accuracy and computational efficiency of climate simulations by simulating the atmospheric radiative processes and their relationship to changes in the earth's climate system.

In many projects our scientists and software engineers examine and document legacy algorithms and transition them to state-of-the-art technology including Software-as-a-Service and high performance computing.

High performance computing AER experts are helping NOAA to validate the agency’s science algorithms as their weather and climate models and environmental products are transitioned to the new high performance computing environment.
System and data development and integration

AER scientists and software engineers work directly with global companies to develop products and services that deliver differentiated value for their customers.

Our software engineers have extensive scientific and computational experience and excel at software capabilities for your science and data needs.

The delivery approach depends on each customer’s needs:

  • We deliver modules that customers can embed in their legacy systems, or integrate with platforms their internal teams or customers use;
  • We partner with premier software development firms to create consumer-focused and mobile application delivery for our science expertise;
  • We provide high performance operational end-to-end solutions delivered and managed by AER.