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CIRA

Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere

Miller, Steve

Steven Miller

CIRA Fellow

Job Title:

CIRA Director, Professor, Atmospheric Science

CIRA Teams:


Email Address:

Phone Number:


970-491-8037

Fax Number:


970-491-8241

Mailing Addresss:


Steven D. Miller, Ph.D.
Director, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA)
Professor, Atmospheric Science
Colorado State University
1375 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1375

Office Location:


CIRA Room 119

About Me:


Steven Miller received his BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from U.C. San Diego (1995), and MS (1997) and PhD (2000) in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University. His areas of interest include satellite-based remote sensing of the Earth/atmosphere system from a wide assortment of sensor technologies including active/passive systems spanning the optical to microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. From 2000 to 2007, he worked at the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, CA in the Satellite Meteorological Applications Section, where he developed numerous value-added satellite imagery tools for operational users (including mineral dust, snow cover, cloud optical properties, low cloud/fog, fire, thin cirrus, deep convection, natural color, contrail, volcanic ash, and nighttime low-light applications). His mineral dust detection algorithms for MODIS and SeaWiFS were among the first to exploit blue-band absorption properties. In 2005, Dr. Miller published the first satellite detection of a widespread bioluminescence phenomenon (the ‘Milky Sea’) using the DSMP Operational Linescan System.  This was followed in 2021 by new detections by the next-generation Day/Night Band low-light sensor. Dr. Miller joined CIRA in 2007 as a Research Scientist and Deputy Director. In 2021 he joined the Faculty of CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, where he serves as Professor and Director of CIRA.  He continues work in developing satellite techniques geared toward operational end-users.

Past Work

Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) Research

Monday, October 11 2021

The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite, precursor to the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) constellation, includes a special low-light sensor (the Day/Night Band) as part of the Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).  The DNB is capable of detecting extremely low levels of visible light. For the first time, we are able to use calibrated measurements of moonlight in a way that is analogous to daytime visible channels, providing a paradigm shift to nighttime remote sensing applications (heretofore relegated to limited infrared-based techniques). To realize the full potential of moonlight observations by the Day/Night Band, one must know the highly variable incoming lunar irradiance. Unlike sunlight, moonlight is highly variable over the ~28 day lunar cycle. Recent work toward characterizing this signal, involving detailed Sun/Earth/Moon geometry prediction, spectrally resolved lunar albedo, non-linear phase function, and underpinning radiative transfer theory will provide the tools needed for developers to exploit the Day/Night Band quantitatively for numerous atmospheric and surface applications.