Dr. Sundar A. Christopher

Dean, Professor, College of Science


Dr. Christopher received his PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from Colorado State University in 1995. He also holds a Master's degree in Meteorology from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) and a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

After completing his PhD, Dr. Christopher joined the faculty at SDSMT in the Department of Meteorology. In 1997, he joined the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at UAH as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001 and was awarded tenure in 2002. He became a Full Professor in 2007.

From August 2007-May 2014, he served as Associate Director of the Earth System Science Center. He served as Chairman of the Department of Atmospheric Science from 2010-2014. He successfully designed a Master's level graduate program in Earth System Science that educates and trains graduate students in new paradigms involving research to decision making. In 2014 he was appointed as Dean of the College of Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Dr. Christopher's research interests include satellite remote sensing of clouds and aerosols and their impact on air quality, environment, health, and global and regional climate. He works with numerous satellite data sets from polar orbiting and geostationary satellites, ground-based instruments, and aircraft data to study the earth-atmosphere system. He has published more than 100 peer reviewed papers in national and international journals including several review papers related to aerosols, air quality and the climate impacts of aerosols. He has served on numerous national and international committees including the Climate Change Science Panel and the GEWEX.

Dr. Christopher enjoys teaching and has designed and developed undergraduate and graduate level courses with special emphasis on hands-on training using satellite data. He also designed a professional development course for graduate students and maintains a blog to help students navigate graduate school. In 2011 AGU published his book titled Navigating Graduate School and Beyond : A Career Guide for Graduate Students and a Must Read for every Advisor.

Dr. Christopher has published extensively in national and international peer-reviewed journals and has also presented his work at major scientific conferences. He has been invited to speak at major venues including the World Federation of Scientists (Erice, Sicily), the United Nations Symposium in 2007 (Graz, Austria), the American Association for Aerosol Research, Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS), the United Nations Symposium on Space Applications, 2008 (Graz, Austria), the Osher Institute of Higher Learning, American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, and various national and international universities (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, Purdue University, Texas A&M, University of Nebraska, University of Wisconsin, Goddard Space Flight Center, Colorado State University, and others).

He has won several million dollars in numerous grants and contracts from NASA, NOAA, and other federal agencies for studying earth-atmosphere processes.

He has won several awards including the University Award for Research and Creative Achievement in 2006 and NASA New Investigator Award. He has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has served as an expert reviewer for the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP).

He is a citizen of the United States of America.

Dr. Sundar Christopher's Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Sundar Christopher's personal website


  • Ph. D. (Atmospheric Science), Colorado State University, 1995
  • M.A. (Industrial/Organizational Psychology), University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2002
  • M.S. (Meteorology), South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, 1989
  • B.E. (Mechanical Engineering), PSG College of Technology-Madras University, India, 1985

Classes Taught

  • Satellite Remote Sensing I
  • Satellite Remote Sensing II
  • Aerosol Remote Sensing
  • Professional Development
  • GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Radiative Transfer
  • Critical Thinking Skills for Satellite Applications
  • Data Fusion for Climate and Air Quality Applications
  • Physical Climatology


  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Geophysical Union


  • "Navigating Graduate School and Beyond," A Career Guide for Graduate Students and a Must Read for Every Advisor, American Geophysical Union, available through Wiley. Christopher, S.A. (2011)
  • "Satellite Remote Sensing of Global Air Quality. N. Bin (Ed.)," In Environmental Remote Sensing and systems Analysis, (pp. 479-489). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Christopher, S.A. (2012)
  • "Preparing Young faculty advisers of graduate research assistants," In Department Chair, 23 Jul 2012, DOI: 10.1002/dch.20047, Wiley. Christopher, S.A. and Caudill, K. (2012),
  • "AVHRR and ERBE investigations of biomass burning in the tropics," Global Biomass Burning, Ed, J.S. Levine, MIT Press. Christopher, S.A., D.V. Kiche, and R. M. Welch (1996)
  • "Simulation of GOES-R ABI aerosol radiances using WRF-CMAQ: a case study approach," Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions 13, 18713-18748, doi:10.5194/acpd-13-18713-2014. Christopher, S. A. (2014).
  • "The identification and tracking of volcanic ash using the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-Red Imager (SEVIRI)," Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions, 6, 5577-5619. Naeger, A. R. and S. A. Christopher (2014).
  • "Assessment of Smoke Shortwave Radiative Forcing using Empirical Angular Distribution Models," Remote Sensing of Environment, 140, 233-240. Patadia, F., and S.A. Christopher (2014).
  • "A new technique using infrared satellite measurements to improve the accuracy of the CALIPSO cloud-aerosol discrimination method," IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 51(1), 642-653. Naeger, A. R., S. A. Christopher, R. Ferrare, and Z. Liu (2013)
  • "Using satellite remote sensing to monitor rocket launch induced pollution," International Journal of Remote Sensing, 34(1), 60-72. Fisher, A., A. Frendi, and S. A. Christopher (2013)
  • "Satellite and surface-based remote sensing of Southeast Asian aerosols and their radiative effects," Atmospheric Research, 122, 544-554. Feng, N., and S. A. Christopher (2013)
  • "Observing and understanding the Southeast Asian aerosol system by remote sensing: An initial review and analysis for the Seven Southeast Asian Studies (7SEAS) program," Atmospheric Research, 122, 403-468. Reid, J. S., et al. (2013)
  • "The NOAA air quality proving ground: Preparing the air quality community for next-generation products from the GOES-R satellite," EM: Air and Waste Management Association's Magazine for Environmental Managers (November), 32-37. Huff, A. K., R. M. Hoff, S. Kondragunta, H. Zhang, P. Ciren, C. Xu, S. Christopher, E. S. Yang, and J. Szykman (2012)
  • "Exploring land use and land cover effects on air quality in Central Alabama using GIS and remote sensing," Remote Sensing, 3(12), 2552-2567. Superczynski, S. D., and S. A. Christopher (2011)
  • "Motivation, rationale and key results from the GERBILS Saharan dust measurement campaign," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 137(658), 1106-11. Haywood, J. M., et al. (2011)
  • "Satellite remote sensing methods for estimating clear Sky shortwave Top of atmosphere fluxes used for aerosol studies over the global oceans," Remote Sensing of Environment, 115(12), 3002-3006. Christopher, S. A. (2011)
  • "Multisensor satellite remote sensing of dust aerosols over North Africa during GERBILS," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 137(658), 1168-1178. Christopher, S. A., P. Gupta, B. Johnson, C. Ansell, H. Brindley, and J. Haywood (2011)
  • "Assessment of the Met Office dust forecast model using observations from the GERBILS campaign," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 137(658), 1131-1148. Johnson, B. T., M. E. Brooks, D. Walters, S. Woodward, S. Christopher, and K. Schepanski (2011)
  • "Development of empirical angular distribution models for smoke aerosols: Methods," Journal of Geophysical Research, 116(D14), D14203. Patadia, F., S. A. Christopher, and J. Zhang (2011)
  • "Land use change impacts on regional climate over Kilimanjaro," Journal of Geophysical Research, 116(D3), D03110. Fairman, J. G., Jr., U. S. Nair, S. A. Christopher, and T. Mölg (2011)
  • "A reanalysis of MODIS fine mode fraction over ocean using OMI and daily GOCART simulations," Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 11(12), 5805-5817. Jones, T. A., and S. A. Christopher (2011)
  • "Satellite remote sensing methods for estimating clear Sky shortwave Top of atmosphere fluxes used for aerosol studies over the global oceans," Remote Sensing of Environment, 115(12), 3002-3006. Christopher, S. A. (2011)
  • "Use of hourly Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) fire emissions in a Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model for improving surface particulate matter predictions," Journal of Geophysical Research, (D4), D04303. Yang, E.-S., S. A. Christopher, S. Kondragunta, and X. Zhang (2011)
  • "A multi-sensor approach for assessing the impacts of ultraviolet-absorbing aerosols on top of atmosphere radiative fluxes," International Journal of Remote Sensing 32(16), 4659-4682. Jones, T. A., and S. A. Christopher (2011)
  • "Sensitivity of nocturnal boundary layer temperature to tropospheric aerosol surface radiative forcing under clear-sky conditions," Journal of Geophysical Research, 116(D2), D02205. Nair, U. S., R. McNider, F. Patadia, S. A. Christopher, and K. Fuller (2011)
  • "Satellite Remote Sensing of Particulate Matter Air Quality: The Cloud-Cover Problem," Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 60(5), 596-602. Christopher, S. A., and P. Gupta (2011)
  • "Satellite remote sensing of particulate matter air quality: The cloud-cover problem," Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 60(5), 596-602. Christopher, S. A., and P. Gupta (2010)
  • "Satellite and Radar Remote Sensing of Southern Plains Grassfires: A case study," Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 49(10), 2133-2146,. Jones, T. A., and S. A. Christopher (2010)
  • "Statistical properties of aerosol-cloud-precipitation Jones, interactions in South America," Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10(5), 2287-2305. T. A., and S. A. Christopher (2010)
  • For all publications, view Dr. Christopher's CV