Thomas Kovacs

A photo of Thomas Kovacs

Professor of Meteorology, Interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Society

Geography & Geology; Environmental Science and Society (ENVI) Interdisciplinary Program

140H Strong Hall


[email protected]


  • Ph.D., Meteorology, The Pennsylvania Sate University, 2000
  • MS, Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, 1996
  • BS, Meteorology, Northern Illinois University, 1993

Interests and Expertise

My research involves satellite remote sensing of the atmosphere with weather and climate applications. I received a BS in Meteorology from Northern Illinois University, and my MS and Ph.D. in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University. I was the lead of science studies for the Hampton University NASA contract for the Cloud Aerosol Lidar and Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) mission. The CALIPSO satellite, launched on April 28, 2006 for a 3-year mission has on-board a nadir looking three-channel polarization sensitive lidar. I also coordinated a global network of nearly 500 ground-based remote sensing sites to provide validation data for the CALIPSO mission. Collectively, I have authored over 20 journal articles and abstracts. 

Currently, I plan to use CALIPSO, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and CloudSat, all part of the Atrain network of satellites, to obtain aerosol and cloud observations to improve our knowledge of tropical cyclone development and intensification. Aerosols affect the temperature and humidity profiles and, therefore, the initiation of convection of tropical cyclones. Because tropical cyclones often form from waves off the African coast they are frequently enveloped in the Saharan Aerosol Layer.


  • ENVI 405 Capstone Seminar
  • ESSC 101 Introduction to Weather and Forecasting
  • ESSC 311 Weather and Climate for Elementary Teachers
  • ESSC 324 Weather
  • ESSC 425W Severe and Unusual Climate (GEWI)