John Kochendorfer, Ph.D.

Title: Physical Scientist


US Climate Reference Network

Surface-Layer Meteorology

Surface Energy Budget Network


Office: (865) 603-2098

Current Research

My research is focused on using measurements to advance our understanding of the atmosphere. This work involves making improvements to the techniques and sensors available to record atmospheric variables, and performing novel field experiments to better understand different atmospheric processes. I am interested in increasing the accuracy of Earth’s climate records, the study of turbulence in and above plant canopies, and the exchange of water, energy, CO2, and trace gasses between the atmosphere and the earth’s surface.

A listing of publications is available in pdf format: Publications List.


University of California, Davis, CA; Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, 2008

St John’s College, Santa Fe, NM; B.A., Liberal Arts, 1995

Professional Experience

Physical Scientist, NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, Atmospheric and Turbulent Diffusion Division,
Oak Ridge, TN January 2010 to present

Post-doctoral Research, NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division,
Oak Ridge, TN July 2008 through January 2010

More about my research

One of the unique aspects of atmospheric science is the interaction of processes occurring at vastly different spatial and temporal scales. For example, fluxes of greenhouse gases emitted from permafrost soils in the Arctic occur at very small scales. Such flux measurements must be recorded at very high frequencies (at least 10 times per second!), but they can affect the climate and weather of the entire earth for many decades after they have occurred. High-quality measurements are required to quantify such micro-scale greenhouse gas fluxes. In addition, accurate measurements are needed to monitor large-scale global climate and also atmospheric phenomena occurring at intermediate scales, such as thunderstorms.

The goal of my research is to develop and use accurate and representative measurements to better describe processes, trends, and variability in the atmosphere at many of these different scales. This work has been used to help create more accurate water budgets, which are needed by hydrologists and watershed managers. It is also used to create more accurate models of the atmosphere and better understand the role of ecosystems in the Earth’s carbon and water budgets.