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Steve Nesbitt



Prof. Nesbitt is a Professor and Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  He leads a research group comprised of research staff, graduate students and undergraduate researchers in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, where his research and teaching interests reside in radar meteorology, satellite meteorology, tropical meteorology, mesoscale meteorology, and data science.  He has participated in over 20 field experiments; notably he was the lead Principal Investigator of the NSF/NOAA/NASA RELAMPAGO (Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations) field campaign, which observed convective storms in central Argentina alongside the DOE CACTI (Clouds, Aerosols, and Complex Terrain Interactions) field campaign, which he served as a Co-Lead Investigator.  He is the Faculty PI of the National Science Foundation Flexible Arrays of Radars and Mesonets Community Instrument Facility, which includes the well-known Doppler on Wheels (DOW) radars.  He is co-author of the 2018 textbook Radar Meteorology, A First Course.

Research Interests

  • Cloud and precipitation physics
  • Mesoscale meteorology
  • Radar meteorology
  • Satellite meteorology


Meteorology, PhD, University of Utah
Meteorology, MS, Texas A&M University
Meteorology, BS with Honors, State University of New York College at Oswego

Courses Taught

  • ATMS 207: Weather and Climate Data Science
  • ATMS 305: Geophysical Data Analysis
  • ATMS 315: Meteorological Instrumentation
  • ATMS 406: Tropical Meteorology
  • ATMS 410: Radar Remote Sensing
  • ATMS 523: Weather and Climate Data Analytics
  • ATMS 597: Mesoscale Modeling

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Climate, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Professor, Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies
Professor, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Head, Climate, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

Recent Publications

Chug, D., Dominguez, F., Taylor, C. M., Klein, C., & Nesbitt, S. W. (2023). Dry-to-Wet Soil Gradients Enhance Convection and Rainfall over Subtropical South America. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 24(9), 1563-1581.

Corrales, P. B., Galligani, V., Ruiz, J., Sapucci, L., Dillon, M. E., García Skabar, Y., Sacco, M., Schwartz, C. S., & Nesbitt, S. W. (2023). Hourly assimilation of different sources of observations including satellite radiances in a mesoscale convective system case during RELAMPAGO campaign. Atmospheric Research, 281, Article 106456.

Hong, Y., Nesbitt, S. W., Trapp, R. J., & Di Girolamo, L. (2023). Near-global distributions of overshooting tops derived from Terra and Aqua MODIS observations. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 16(5), 1391-1406.

Miller, R. M., Rauber, R. M., Di Girolamo, L., Rilloraza, M., Fu, D., McFarquhar, G. M., Nesbitt, S. W., Ziemba, L. D., Woods, S., & Thornhill, K. L. (2023). Influence of natural and anthropogenic aerosols on cloud base droplet size distributions in clouds over the South China Sea and West Pacific. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 23(15), 8959-8977.

Rea, D., Rauber, R. M., Hu, H., Tessendorf, S. A., Nesbitt, S. W., Jewett, B. F., & Zaremba, T. J. (2023). The Contribution of Subtropical Moisture Within an Atmospheric River on Moisture Flux, Cloud Structure, and Precipitation Over the Salmon River Mountains of Idaho Using Moisture Tracers. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 128(6), Article e2022JD037727.

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