2010 Physical Sciences Review » Biographies » Taneil Uttal

Taneil Uttal

Taneil Uttal

Taneil Uttal


Physical Sciences Division


Taneil Uttal is the leader of the Polar Processes Research group in the National Oceanic Atmospheric and Administration (NOAA) Earth Sciences Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. Her research specialty is clouds with a specialty in Arctic clouds since 1997. She is presently is leading the NOAA effort to establish permanent Arctic Atmospheric Observatories as a part of the SEARCH (Studies of Environmental Arctic Change) Program. She has been employed as a NOAA research scientist since 1985. Uttal has spent her entire career working with state of the art remote sensors for determining atmospheric properties.


  • M.S. Cloud Physics, Colorado State University, 1985
  • B.A. Physics, The Colorado College, 1979

Research Interests

Research interests include investigation of Arctic clouds using radar, radiometers, and lidar to remotely determine the vertical structure of cloud water contents and droplet and ice crystal sizes. These cloud properties determine how the atmosphere will impact radiation budgets, and how energy will be exchanged between the surface and the atmosphere. A primary objective is to collect long-time records of clouds to directly measure how they change over different seasons, and from year to year. This work has advanced to include investigations of how clouds impact the surface heat and energy budget exchanges between the Arctic and surface including sea-ice extent, permafrost, length of the melt season, and cloud-aerosol interactions.


She scientifically and programmatically supports research that is dependent on the coordination of measurements from a network of Arctic Observatories in the Arctic region. She is the originator of the International Arctic Systems for Observing the Atmosphere (www.iasoa.org) program and manages a coordinated program with Canada, Finland and Russia; one of the most significant accomplishments will be creation of an internationally supported observatory in Tiksi, Russia. This research is important in determining the processes and mechanisms force climate change so we can answer not only "how" but "why" our environment is changing. She presently is contributing to interagency coordination by chairing the Studies of Environmental Arctic Change SEARCH Observing Change Panel (http://www.arcus.org/search/searchscience/).

Recent Publications

  • Uttal T., and 27 co-authors, 2002: Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Phase, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 255-276.
  • Uttal, T. and R.A. Kropfli, 2001: The Effect of Radar Pulse Length on Cloud Reflectivity Statistics, J. Atmos. and Ocean. Tech., 18, 947-961.
  • Uttal, T. S.Y. Matrosov, J.B. Snider, and R.A. Kropfli, 1994: Relationships between ice water path and downward longwave radiation for clouds optically thin in the infrared, Observations and model calculations, J. Appl. Meteor., 33, 348-357.
  • Uttal, T. J.B. Snider, R.A. Kropfli, and B.W. Orr, 1990: A remote sensing method of measuring atmospheric vapor fluxes: Application to winter mountain storms. J.Appl. Meteor., 22-34.
  • Uttal, T., R.M. Rauber, and L.O. Grant, 1988: Distributions of Liquid, Vapor and Ice in an Orographic Cloud from Field Observations, J.Atmos. Sci., 1110-1122.