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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Room 1343 AOSS
Personal Website

Mayra Oyola-Merced

Assistant Professor

PhD Howard University

My research interests are focused on satellite and space-borne remote sensing, specifically in the areas of aerosol and cloud radiative effects, severe weather, air quality, and disaster/hazard risk reduction. While satellite remote sensing is essential for weather prediction and climate monitoring, there are still many fundamental atmospheric research questions that remain unanswered due to limited observation capabilities. One of the biggest challenges is retrieving highly resolved information on cloud and aerosol vertical distribution, particularly in the lower atmosphere. This issue creates uncertainties that significantly influence our understanding of severe weather formation and long-term climate variability and trends.

My primary interest is to improve space-borne observation capabilities and how these datasets are used in atmospheric modeling for severe weather and air quality applications. I am currently a member of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I previously worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I specialized in satellite remote sensing retrievals and their applications on severe weather, climate monitoring, and disaster risk reduction. I also served as the Deputy Director of the International GNSS Service, managing a federation of over 250 international organizations advocating for GNSS satellite and ground-based systems research and applications.

While I am passionate about researching severe weather and climate, my primary love is studying aerosols. I have worked on assessing and correcting the aerosol impact on operational sea surface temperature retrievals and hyperspectral infrared satellite data assimilation for both NOAA and the Naval Research Laboratory. I have also spent over 200 days at sea conducting research studying aerosol, AQI, and ozone distribution over the Atlantic.

In addition to my research, I am a firm believer in the power of community and collaboration. I have served on several committees and delegations, including the Association of Geodesy Inter-Commission Committee on Climate Research, the World Data System, and the United States Delegation for the International Committee on GNSS in the United Nations. Currently, I am a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Board on Representation, Accessibility, Inclusion, and Diversity (BRAID), and I am the chair of the AMS Women Committee.

My philosophy is rooted in the importance of people and purpose. While cutting-edge technology and education are crucial, nothing compares to being surrounded by passionate individuals who are driven to make a difference. Innovation requires stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing diversity of thought, background, and experience. As an educator, I am committed to working with students from all walks of life who share a passion for innovation and a desire to make a positive impact on the world.