Gregory Cesana

Associate Research Scientist

Dr. Gregory Cesana is currently an associate research scientist at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University (New York, NY). He has received a B.S (2005) and M.Sc (2007) in Atmosphere/Ocean/Soil remote sensing (environmental sciences) from the University of Toulon. From 2008 to 2010, he pursued his professional career in the climate research field as a research engineer at the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD, École Polytechnique) in Paris, France, where he developed cloud datasets using satellite observations for climate model evaluation. In January 2011, he became a Ph.D student at Sorbonne Université (Paris, France, formerly known as Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris VI), during which he used CALIPSO satellite observations to characterize cloud and radiation biases in climate models. After graduating in December 2013, he then moved to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA) for a postdoctoral research scientist position from January 2014 to March 2017. There, he extended his knowledge of satellite data for model evaluation using other A-train constellation instruments (CloudSat’s cloud profiling radar, Aqua’s CERES instrument among others). Since he joined Columbia University in March 2017, Dr. Cesana has worked closely with the modeling team of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) to help them improve the representation of cloud-climate processes in the GISS model using satellite observations.


Dr. Cesana’s research is focused on improving our understanding of cloud processes and cloud-radiation interactions in the past, present and future climate. In particular, he’s interested in the modifications that clouds and precipitation undergo in response to anthropogenically induced energy imbalances, commonly referred to as “cloud feedbacks”. Reducing the uncertainty caused by these feedbacks is critical to predict the future climate change. To tackle this problem, he currently works on the development and the use of satellite observations to evaluate the representation of cloud-radiation feedbacks in climate models. He specializes in active sensor satellite observations from a-train CALIPSO and CloudSat satellites, which give access to unprecedented cloud-related information such as the detailed vertical structure of clouds and their water phase partitioning, as well as their precise spatial distribution over continents and polar regions. These unique observations bring new perspectives and open the path to new breakthroughs in the understanding of the climate system.