Scientific Leadership

Scientists from Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) contribute world-class research and development. More than half hold Ph.D.s or advanced degrees. Our scientists serve as faculty and instructors at area universities and also as committee members of organizations such as the National Research Council. 

AER staff members are active participants in professional journal review boards as well as panel and mail proposal reviews for government agencies. They're active members of professional organizations such as the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). AER scientists have served as President of the AMS and as Vice Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Please also view more AER scientists and technologists including authors of our peer-reviewed research papers and bloggers. We invite you to contact individual scientists and technologists.

Eli Mlawer, PhD, Senior Scientist, and Leader of Atmospheric Composition and Radiation

Dr. Mlawer’s main areas of interest include atmospheric radiative transfer, climate study and the characterization of molecular collisional broadening.  As part of his involvement in the DoE Atmospheric System Research (ASR) Program, Dr. Mlawer is the leader of the Broadband Heating Rate Profile project, an effort to compute fluxes and heating rates in clear and cloudy conditions at the ARM sites and to perform a closure analysis on these calculations using surface and TOA radiation measurements.  He also was co-PI of the two Radiative Heating in Underexplored Bands Campaigns (RHUBC), ASR field experiments held at the North Slope of Alaska site in 2007 and at a high-altitude site in the Atacama Desert in Chile in 2009.  Dr. Mlawer is Lead Developer of the MT_CKD water vapor continuum model and is involved in efforts to validate and improve this model based on comparisons with spectrally resolved measurements.  He has primary responsibility for the design, implementation and validation of RRTM, a fast radiative transfer model appropriate for climate applications.  He is the Co-Leader of the Continual Intercomparison of Radiation Codes, an effort sponsored by the International Radiation Commission and the GEWEX Radiation Panel to evaluate radiation codes used in climate models.  Dr. Mlawer is also a member of the International Radiation Commission.

Rui M. Ponte, PhD, Principal Scientist and Leader, Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate

Dr. Ponte’s broad and multidisciplinary research interests have led him to study, among other topics, the general circulation of the ocean and atmosphere, using the angular momentum approach; the effects of the ocean on the Earth’s rotation and gravity field; the high-frequency oceanic response to atmospheric forcing; the oceanic meridional overturning circulation; and use of satellites to improve knowledge about the state of the ocean-atmosphere system.  He has done extensive work on modeling and interpretation of sea level and ocean bottom pressure signals and is currently a member of various NASA satellite mission science teams (Ocean Surface Topography, GRACE, Ocean Surface Salinity) and the GODAE OceanView Science Team.  He has been a member of various special working groups (IAU/IUGG Working Group on Non-Rigid Earth Nutation Theory, IAG Special Study Group on Interactions of the Earth’s Rotational Dynamics with the Oceans and Atmospheres) and the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems (IERS) Special Bureau for the Ocean.  His current research includes global ocean modeling and data assimilation efforts as part of Estimating the Circulation & Climate of the Ocean for the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (ECCO-GODAE), as well as using ensemble methods for regional ocean analysis and prediction.  Dr. Ponte’s work is summarized in close to 80 papers in the refereed literature.  Dr. Ponte is at AER, where he has been since 1989.  He holds a BS degree in Physics from the University of Rhode Island, an MS degree in Oceanography from MIT, and a PhD in Physical Oceanography from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.