UM Rosenstiel School Alumna Gentemann to Receive Falkenberg Award from American Geophysical Union

by | Aug 21, 2013

MIAMI, Aug. 19, 2013”American Geophysical Union (AGU) announced that Chelle L. Gentemann, Ph.D., senior principal scientist at Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) is the recipient of this year's Falkenberg Award.  The award is given to a scientist under age 45 who has contributed to the quality of life, economic opportunities and stewardship of the planet through the use of Earth science information.  Gentemann is an alumna of the University of Miami (UM) and will be honored at a banquet on December 11, as part of the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Gentemann's current research at RSS focuses on the extraction of accurate geophysical variables from measurements of imaging microwave radiometers on earth observation satellites. Exploiting the fact that microwave radiation emitted by the sea surface is largely unaffected by clouds as it propagates through the atmosphere, Gentemann's research includes the calibration of microwave radiometer and validation of sea surface temperature, studying the modification of sea-surface temperature (SST) by tropical cyclones and the daily heating and cooling of the upper ocean. She also contributes to improvements to the blending of SSTs derived from infrared and microwave radiometers.

Previously, she served as a graduate research assistant in the laboratory of UM Professor Peter Minnett, working on physical models of daytime warming to establish better approaches to the interpretation of satellite-derived SSTs, and on the improved uncertainty error characterization of satellite-derived SSTs using shipboard radiometers.

Minnett said We are very proud of Chelle's accomplishments. She was a very conscientious and highly-motivated student, earning several awards for Best Student Papers at scientific meetings of the AGU and the American Meteorological Society during her time here. The Falkenberg Award is well-deserved and shows the respect that Chelle has earned from her peers in the world-wide satellite oceanography research and operational communities.

While at Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) she worked with Dr Rick Salmon investigating baroclinic instabilities using numerical modeling of surface quasi-geostrophic flow over topography. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Gentemann investigated the effect of traveling atmospheric storms on TOPEX sea-surface height measured by satellite altimeters, with Dr. Carl Wunsch and Dr. Detlef Stammer, to provide more accurate parameterization of the inverted barometer effect.

Gentemann received her Ph.D. in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography from UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science in 2007.  She attended the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she received her Master's in Physical Oceanography, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she completed her Bachelor's in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

Gentemann is a lead-PI of the MISST (Multi-sensor Improved SST) project, which is a multi-institutional research effort to improve the accuracies and demonstrate applications of satellite SSTs. She participates in the National Research Council Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space, the NASA SST Science Team, the JAXA GCOM AMSR2 Science Team, the Group for High Resolution SST (GHRSST) Science Team and Advisory Council, and is active in the GHRSST Diurnal Warming, Sea Ice, Multi-Product Ensemble, and Data Management Working Groups.  She is also a member of the AGU, American Meteorological Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

About Charles S. Falkenberg

Established in 2002 and jointly sponsored with the Earth Science Information Partnership (ESIP), the Falkenberg Award is named in honor of Charles S. Falkenberg, whose research focused on enabling practical applications of Earth science through data visualization and information technology. Trained as a computer scientist, he was committed to the clear expression to the public of scientific findings about the environment of the Earth and about the process that achieved those findings. Falkenberg, his wife Leslie, and their daughters, Zoe and Dana, died in the tragic events of September 11, 2001. In 2002, he was posthumously recognized as the first recipient of this award, which is dedicated to his memory.

About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is the largest private research institution in the southeastern United States. The University's mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit


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