As a college student in Iowa, I was attracted to science and research by James Van Allen's space science program in the physics and astronomy department. Since then, it only took me a decade or so to realize that the most exciting planetary research involves trying to understand the climate change on earth that will result from anthropogenic changes of the atmospheric composition.
One of my research interests is radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially interpreting remote sounding of the earth's atmosphere and surface from satellites. Such data, appropriately analyzed, may provide one of our most effective ways to monitor and study global change on the earth. The hardest part is trying to influence the nature of the measurements obtained, so that the key information can be obtained.
I am also interested in the development and application of global numerical models for the purpose of understanding current climate trends and projecting humans' potential impacts on climate. The scientific excitement in comparing theory with data, and developing some understanding of global changes that are occurring, is what makes all the other stuff worth it.