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William Rossow

Faculty and Staff Profiles

William Rossow

Distinguished Professor


During undergraduate years, worked summers at Health and Human Services (Water and Air Quality Monitoring), at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and at MIT Physics. After completing PhD, had post-doc appointment at Princeton University working at NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. Joined NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies from 1978 through 2006. In early 1980's became Head of Earth Observations Group at NASA GISS. Became Distinguished Professor of EE at CCNY in 2006 working with NOAA Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology center. Fellow of AGU and AMS; AMS V.E. Suomi Award. Head of International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project of the World Climate Research Program since 1982, Chairman of Global Energy and Water cycle Experiment Radiation Panel from 2001-2007. Served on numerous national and international committees. 

  • 1976 Ph.D, Astronomy, Cornell University
  • 1972 M.S., Physics, Cornell University
  • 1969 B.A., Magna cum laude, Physics and Mathematics, Hanover College
Courses Taught

Graduate Seminars in Advanced Statistics

Analysis and in Earth Remote Sensing

Research Interests

Cloud physics and dynamics, atmospheric radiative transfer, atmospheric general circulation and climate, and satellite remote sensing of all components of Earth’s climate system.


Rossow, W.B., and C. Sagan, 1975: Microwave boundary conditions on the atmosphere and clouds of Venus. J. Atmos. Sci., 32, 1164-1176.

Rossow, W.B., 1978: Cloud microphysics: Analysis of the clouds of Earth, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. Icarus, 36, 1-50.

Rossow, W.B., and G.P. Williams, 1979: Large-scale motion in the Venus stratosphere. J. Atmos. Sci., 36, 377-389.

Rossow, W.B., F. Mosher, E. Kinsella, A. Arking, M. Desbois, E. Harrison, P. Minnis, E. Ruprecht, G. Seze, C. Simmer and E. Smith, 1985: ISCCP cloud algorithm intercomparison. J. Climate Appl. Meteor., 24, 877-903.

Rossow, W.B., 1985: Atmospheric circulation of Venus. Issues in Atmospheric and Oceanic Modeling, Part A. Climate Dynamics, Advances in Geophysics, 28A, 347-379.

Rossow, W.B., 1989: Measuring cloud properties from space: A review. J. Climate, 2, 201-213.

Rossow, W.B., A.D. Del Genio and T.P. Eichler, 1990: Cloud-tracked winds from Pioneer Venus OCPP images. J. Atmos. Sci., 47, 2053-2084.

Rossow, W.B., and A.A. Lacis, 1990: Global, seasonal cloud variations from satellite radiance measurements. Part II: Cloud properties and radiative effects. J. Climate, 3, 1204-1253.

Rossow, W.B., and R.A. Schiffer, 1991: ISCCP cloud data products. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 72, 2-20.

Rossow, W.B., and L.C. Garder, 1993a: Cloud detection using satellite measurements of infrared and visible radiances for ISCCP. J. Climate, 6, 2341-2369.

Rossow, W.B., and Y-C. Zhang, 1995: Calculation of surface and top-of-atmosphere radiative fluxes from physical quantities based on ISCCP datasets, Part II: Validation and first results. J. Geophys. Res., 100, 1167-1197.

Rossow, W.B., and B. Cairns, 1995: Monitoring changes of clouds. Climatic Change, 31, 305-347.

Rossow, W.B., and R.A. Schiffer, 1999: Advances in understanding clouds from ISCCP. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 80, 2261-2287.

Rossow, W.B., C. Delo and B. Cairns, 2002: Implications of the observed mesoscale variations of clouds for Earth’s radiation budget. J. Climate, 15, 557-585.

Aires, F., C. Prigent, W.B. Rossow and M. Rothstein, 2001: A new neural network approach including first-guess for retrieval of atmospheric water vapor, cloud liquid water path, surface temperature and emissivities over land from satellite microwave observations. J. Geophys. Res., 106, 14,887-14,907.

Aires, F., and W.B. Rossow, 2003: Inferring instantaneous, multi-variate and non-linear sensitivities for the analysis of feedback processes in a dynamical system: The Lorenz model case study. Q. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 129, 239-275.

Prigent, C., F. Aires and W.B. Rossow, 2003: Land surface skin temperatures from a combined analysis of microwave and infrared satellite observations for an all-weather evaluation of the differences between air and skin temperatures. J. Geophys. Res., 108, doi 10.1029/2002JD002301 (1-14).

Zhang, Y-C., W.B. Rossow, A.A. Lacis, M.I. Mishchenko and V. Oinas, 2004: Calculation of radiative fluxes from the surface to top-of-atmosphere based on ISCCP and other global datasets: Refinements of the radiative transfer model and the input data. J. Geophys. Res., 109, doi 10.1029/2003JD004457, 1-27 + 1-25.

Rossow, W.B., Y-C. Zhang and J-H. Wang, 2005: A statistical model of cloud vertical structure based on reconciling cloud layer amounts inferred from satellites and radiosonde humidity profiles. J. Climate, 18, 3587-3605.

Rossow, W.B., G. Tselioudis, A. Polak and C. Jakob, 2005: Tropical climate described as a distribution of weather states indicated by distinct mesoscale cloud property mixtures. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, doi 10.1029/2005GL024584, (1-4).

Additional Information

Professional Experience

Head of Global Processing Center for the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP)

Member of Science Teams for the CloudSat mission, the Earth Observing System (EOS), the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), the NASA Global Aerosol Climatology Project, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) project, the ScaRab project, the First ISCCP Regional Experiment (FIRE), the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and the Pioneer Venus mission.

Professional Affiliations

Fellow of American Geophysical Union

Fellow of American Meteorological Society

Member of American Astronomical Society (Division of Planetary Sciences)

Member of the Planetary Society

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