Dr. M. Patrick McCormick



23 Tyler Street

« APS Faculty & Staff

Dr. M. Patrick McCormick

Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Co-Director

Dr. McCormick earned his Ph.D. and M.A. Physics at the College of William & Mary in 1967 and 1964; respectively a B.A. Physics at Washington and Jefferson College in 1962. Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist Award Winner in 2007 and American Meteorological Society (AMS) Winner in 2000 for Remote Sensing Lecturer Award. Founder and Member of International Radiation Commission (IRC) (1983-present).

For the past 44 years, McCormick has performed research on the development and application of sensors for measurement in the Earth’s atmosphere, focusing primarily on lidar and satellite limb extinction techniques for the global characterization of aerosols, clouds, ozone and other atmospheric species.

He is principal investigator for NASA’s SAM II, SAGE I, II and III satellite experiments. These experiments produced global data that McCormick uses to study aerosols, gaseous species, and chemical and dynamical processes in the middle atmosphere.

Thanks to this research, and airborne lidar field campaigns, McCormick has named and characterized Polar Stratospheric Clouds critical to understanding the “ozone hole.” The satellite data are among the longest global data recorded and are being used to study long-term global change. He is also co-principal investigator for the satellite experiment CALIPSO. CALIPSO, Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation, was developed in part by Hampton University and launched by NASA in 2006. It will eventually help improve scientists' understanding of the global climate, hurricanes and temperature changes.

Dr. McCormick has published over 430 papers, journal articles, NASA publications and books, including 270 refereed journal publications.

Teaching Experience

Professor of Physics at Hampton University from 1996 - Present.

Research Interests

Dr. McCormick’s research has been focused on ground-based, airborne and satellite lidar and limb extinction (occultation) techniques for global characterization of aerosols, clouds, ozone and other atmospheric species.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF File)


  • McCormick, M. Patrick, L. W. Thomason & C. R. Trepte, Atmospheric effects of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, Nature, Vol. 373, 399-404, 1995.
  • Kovacs, T. A., and M. Patrick McCormick, Observations of Typhoon Melissa During the Lidar In-space Technology Experiment (LITE), Journal of Applied Meteorology, 42, 1003-1013, 2003.
  • McCormick, M. Patrick, Space Lidar for Earth and Planetary Missions, ESA SP-561, 2004.
  • McCormick, M. Patrick, Airborne and Spaceborne Lidar. Chapter 13 in Lidar: Range-Resolved Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, Claus Weitkamp, editor, Springer, ISBN 0-387-40075-3, 2005.
  • Tao, Zongming, M. Patrick McCormick, Dong Wu, and Mark Vaughan, Measurements of Cirrus Cloud Backscatter Color Ratio with a Two-wavelength Lidar, Appl. Opt., 1478-1485, 2008