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John Lundstrom

Profile picture for John Lundstrom

Contact Information

4064-C Natural History Building
1301 Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Teaching Assistant
Advisor: Dr. Larry Di Girolamo


I am a second year master’s student under the advice of Larry Di Girolamo working to understand the practical limitations of a tomographic technique (AT3D) to retrieve cloud and aerosol properties from multi-angle satellite images. I am fascinated by inversion theory, radiative transfer, and computer science, and I enjoy the broad application of my work to many different fields in the earth sciences. Prior to enrolling in the University of Illinois, I spent one year researching an inverse problem in medical imaging called Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting. I built a foundation in math, physics, and computer science in undergraduate studies at Regis University where I majored in mathematics and computational physics and participated in faculty research on particle physics (freshman year) and active galactic nuclei (senior year).

Research Description

Observations of cloud and aerosol properties play an important role in areas of research such as climate modeling, large eddy simulations, aerosol-cloud interactions, and air quality. The uncertainty in the measurements of clouds and aerosols propagates to the studies from such fields. Hence, it is imperative that we make accurate measurements of cloud optical and microphysical properties to reduce uncertainty in the numerous studies that require these observations. Current remote sensing methods to retrieve these cloud properties suffer from assumptions such as the plane parallel assumption and the independent pixel approximation, which cause biased measurements in regimes such as trade cumulus where there is high spatial heterogeneity. The recent method called Atmospheric Tomography with 3D Radiative Transfer (AT3D) makes use of 3D radiative transfer to remove these assumptions providing the opportunity to make more accurate measurements while also having the advantage of retrieving the 3-dimensional distribution of cloud and aerosol properties. Initial validation in a theoretical framework demonstrates accurate retrievals in conditions of low optical thickness and high spatial heterogeneity – conditions where current methods make biased measurements. My work focuses on examining the practical application of AT3D using observations from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) aboard the NASA TERRA satellite, which has been collecting multi-angle images for over 20 years. I am exploring the practical limitations likely to be encountered with real observations.


M.S. Atmospheric Sciences | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign | In Progress

B.S. Computational Physics, Summa Cum Laude | Regis University, Denver, CO | May 2021

B.S. Mathematics, Summa Cum Laude | Regis University, Denver, CO | May 2021

Awards and Honors

Campion Physics Award | Regis University, Denver, CO | May 2021