Monitoring the Atmosphere from Space and Ground Based Remote Sensing


In the present context of global changes, atmospheric and climatic research should be more organized in the framework of international collaborations and research networks. During recent years, the importance of systematic monitoring of the atmospheric structure, dynamics and composition has been confirmed by numerous satellite and surface observations. Over Southern Africa and the neighbouring oceanic regions of the Indian Ocean, these regional impacts are influenced by dynamical variability and play an important role in global climate change. Compared to developed regions of the northern hemisphere, the tropical and austral regions of the southern hemisphere are poorly documented even though they are important components of the global atmosphere. The present lecture aims to provide an overview of atmospheric research ( team activities at UKZN, Durban and showcase some of the recent results obtained over Southern Africa, from different ground based and space-borne observations.

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Sivakumar Venkataraman has obtained his Ph.D. degree from Sri Venkateswara University, India with a thesis entitled “Lidar studies of the middle atmospheric temperature structure and tropospheric cirrus clouds over a low latitude” while he continued his work at India Space Research Organization (ISRO, Department of Space, India) centre at National Atmosphere Research Laboratory. Later, he joined at the Reunion University (Reunion, France), Atmosphere Physics and Cyclone Laboratory of Centre Nationale Researche de la Scientifique (CNRS, similar to CSIR), UMR 8105, as a post doctoral researcher. For four years from 2002-2006, he has continued his atmosphere research, specifically studying the structure and dynamics, interms of middle atmosphere temperature, special features/unusual atmosphere events (stratosphere warming, double stratopause etc.), wave dynamics, ozone budget and trace gases exchanges etc.  In 2006, he joined at the CSIR National Laser Centre (South Africa) as a senior researcher (Gd:II) and was subsequently promoted to the position of Principal Researcher (Gd-II) in September 2008. At CSIR-NLC, his work involved the development of a mobile lidar system for studying atmosphere particulate matter and pollutants. He has successfully demonstrated the first atmosphere backscatter lidar in South Africa and it is currently operational. Further development work is ongoing and his Ph.D student is leading it. Since, January 2009, he was appointed as Extra-Ordinary professor at University of Pretoria, Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meterology.In January 2011, he was also appointed as Honorary Professor. Added to it, he has been invited to Reunion University on different occasions (Nov-Dec 2008, Sep-Oct 2009, Apr-May 2010, Apr-May 2011, Sep-Oct 2011) as a visiting professor/researcher to provide lectures for master degree students besides carried research collaborative activities. He was also a visiting researcher at CSIR-National Laser Centre (January 2013 to December 2015).

At present, he has been employed at University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, since December 2011 at School of Chemistry and Physics (Discipline of Physics).  He also acts as a Programme Director / Academic Leader for National AstroPhysics and Space Science programme (NASSP) – node at UKZN. He is actively involved in various levels of teaching (first year to fourth year – Honours) and post-graduate supervisions (Honours, Master, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral). He is currently supervising 3 Post-Doctoral (externally funded), 7 Ph.D and 3 Master degree students and 5 Post-Doctoral, 12 Ph.D and 18 Master degree students have already been awarded.

Since 2000 (after registering for his Ph.D programme during August 1999), he has published about 211 research articles (94 Journal and 110 peer reviewed conference proceedings) and 5 book chapter, 1 book and being a first author of more than 15 journal and 27 conference proceedings (average 8 publication/per year). His research work includes (1) studies on middle atmospheric thermal structure and wave dynamics; (2) mesospheric temperature inversion; (3) studies on gravity waves, planetary waves, equatorial waves and etc., (4) stratospheric warming and planetary waves, (5) Aerosols and clouds, (6) general characteristics of the tropopause and its relation to the ozone concentration and the stratosphere-troposphere exchange, (7) remote sensing techniques and (8) various kinds of pollution measurements.

He has been recognized as an atmospheric researcher/scientist, internationally, and presently, he scores an h-index of 15 while Google scholar index of 17.  He has also been acting as a principal investigator/project leader for different projects funded by UKZN, NRF, CSIR-ALC, NLC/DST, CNRS and other national/international bodies. The involvement in project work includes management, leadership, partnership and also co-ordination of various atmosphere research projects.

He has been honoured to play a role as a panel member of different National Research Foundation (NRF) programme, CSIR-Scientific-Thematic calls, NLC-Science and Education and Technology panel, Technical committee member of CSIR Bi-annual conference, 2008, Vice President and Council Member of South Africa Society for Atmosphere Science (SASAS), 2007-2016, President of SASAS, 2017-2018, National Executive Chair of NASSP (Since 2018), Steering Committee member of South Africa Space research, 2010-2015, – Steering Committee member of South Africa Solar Terrestrial Physics, 2010-2015, Session convener – Remote Sensing of the atmosphere in Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS)-2008, 2010, 2012 and 2016, more than 12 different international/national Journal reviewer, Editor of the peer reviewed conference proceeding of SASAS (2010-2014) and co-editor of National Association of Clean Air (NACA) journal. He also acts as a reviewer/assessor for various committee member of National Research Foundation, Swiss meteorological society, Global Ozone assessment, Global Carbon assessment and locally at UKZN, etc.