Lesley L. Smith

Image of Lesley L. Smith


Senior Research Associate


Data, Instrumentation, and Field Campaigns




(307) 206-4208



Dr. Lesley L. Smith is a physicist in the University of Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Her research interests include climate diagnostics and variability on seasonal to centennial time scales, ENSO impacts, attribution of weather and climate-related extremes, chemistry climate interactions and climate modeling.

Dr. Smith is committed to increasing diversity in the scientific community and is a longtime mentor in NSF's Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program. She has also participated in programs of organizations such as PROmoting Geoscience Research, Education & SuccesS (PROGRESS), Blacks in Government (BIG), and The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

Dr. Smith's research page at the University of Colorado, CIRES here.

Presentation: Climate Change and Critical Thinking, NOAA Student Seminar, July 11, 2018 pdf


  • M.S., Computer Information Systems, Denver University, June 2001.
  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Kansas, Dec. 1994.
  • M.S., Physics, University of Kansas, May 1990.
  • B.A., Physics, University of Colorado, May 1987.

Research Interests


Professional Memberships

  • American Physical Society
  • American Geophysical Union


Select Publications

  • Stovern, D.R., T.M. Hamill, L.L. Smith (2023): Improving National Blend of Models probabilistic precipitation forecasts using long time series of reforecasts and precipitation reanalyses. Part 2: Results. Mon. Wea. Rev., doi:https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-22-0310.1.
  • Hamill, T.M., D.R. Stovern, L.L. Smith (2023): Improving National Blend of Models probabilistic precipitation forecasts using long time series of reforecasts and precipitation reanalyses. Part 1: methods. Mon. Wea. Rev.,doi:https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-22-0308.1.
  • Hoerling, M., L. Smith, X.-W. Quan, J. Eischeid, J. Barsugli, H.F. Diaz (2021): Explaining the Spatial Pattern of U.S. Extreme Daily Precipitation Change. J. Clim., 34, 2759-2775, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-20-0666.1.
  • Hegglin, M.I., et al. (2021): Overview and update of the SPARC Data Initiative: comparison of stratospheric composition measurements from satellite limb sounders. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 13, 1855-1903, doi:10.5194/essd-13-1855-2021.
  • Sun, L., D. Allured, M. Hoerling, L. Smith, J. Perlwitz, D. Murray, and J. Eischeid (2018): Drivers of 2016 record Arctic warmth assessed using climate simulations subjected to factual and counterfactual forcing. Wea. Clim. Extremes, 19, 1-9, doi:10.1016/j.wace.2017.11.001.
  • Cheng, LY, M Hoerling, L Smith and J Eischeid (2018), Diagnosing Human-Induced Dynamic and Thermodynamic Drivers of Extreme Rainfall. J. Clim. Version: 1 31 (3) 1029-1051, issn: 0894-8755, ids: FW2WR, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0919.1.
  • Quan, XW, M Hoerling, L Smith, J Perlwitz, T Zhang, A Hoell, K Wolter and J Eischeid (2018), EXTREME CALIFORNIA RAINS DURING WINTER 2015/16: A CHANGE IN EL NINO TELECONNECTION?. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 99 (1) S49-S53, issn: 0003-0007, ids: GB8IG, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0118.1.
  • Dole, R.M., J.R. Spackman, M. Newman, G.P. Compo, C. Smith, L.M. Hartten, M. Hoerling, R. Cifelli, K. Wolter, C. Barnet, J. Barsugli, M. Gehne, R. Gelaro, G. Kiladis, R.S. Webb, S. Abbott, J. Albers, M. Alexander, J. Brown, C.J. Cox, L. Darby, G. de Boer, J. Dias, J. Dunion, J. Eischeid, C. Fairall, A. Gambacorta, A. Hoell, J. Intrieri, D. Jackson, P.E. Johnston, E.A. Konopleva-Akish, R. Lataitis, K. Mahoney, K. McCaffrey, H.A. McColl, M. Mueller, D. Murray, P. Neiman, W. Otto, O. Persson, R. Pincus, X.-W. Quan, I. Rangwala, A. Ray, D. Reynolds, E. Riley, K. Rosenlof, N. Sakaeda, P. Sardeshmukh, L.C. Slivinski, A. Solomon, L. Smith, S. Tulich, A. White, G. Wick, M.G. Winterkorn, D.E. Wolfe, R. Zamora (2017), Advancing Science and Services during the 2015-16 El Niño: The NOAA El Niño Rapid Response Field Campaign. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 Early Online Release , doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0219.1.
  • Hegglin, M.I., et al., (2017): The SPARC Data Initiative: Assessment of stratospheric trace gas and aerosol climatologies from satellite limb sounders. SPARC Report No. 8, WCRP-05/2017.
  • Tegtmeier, S., et al., (2016): The SPARC Data Initiative: comparisons of CFC-11, FCF-12, HF and SF6 climatologies from international satellite limb sounders. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 8, 1-18. doi: 10.5194/essd-8-1-2016.
  • Smith, L.L., J.C. Gille, (2014): Validation of the Aura High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder geopotential heights. Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 8, 2775-2785. doi: 10.5194/amt-7-2775-2014.
  • Tegtmeier, S., et al, (2013): SPARC Data Initiative: A comparison of ozone climatologies from international satellite limb sounders. J. Geo. Res. Atmos., 118, 21, 12229-12247. doi:10.1002/2013JD019877.
  • Toohey, M., et al., (2013): Characterizing sampling biases in the trace gas climatologies of the SPARC Data Initiative, J. Geo. Res. Atmos., 118, 20, 11847-11862. doi:10.1002/jgrd.50874.
  • Gille, J., et al., (2012): Final correction algorithms for HIRDLS version 7 data, Proceedings of SPIE, 8511, 85110K. doi: 10.1117/12.930175.
  • Trenberth, K. E., and L. Smith, (2009): Variations in the three dimensional structure of the atmospheric circulation with different flavors of El Niño. J. Clim., 12, No. 11, 2978-2991. doi: 10.1175/2008JCLI2691.1.
  • Trenberth, K. E., and L. Smith, (2009): The three dimensional structure of the atmospheric energy budget: methodology and evaluation. Clim. Dyn., 32, 1065-1079. doi:10.1007/s00382-008-0389-3.
  • Trenberth, K. E., and L. Smith, (2008): Atmospheric energy budgets in the Japanese Reanalysis: Evaluation and variability. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 86, 579-592. doi: 10.2151/jmsj.86.579
  • Trenberth, K.E., L. Smith, T. Qian, A. Dai, J. Fasullo, (2007): Estimates of the global water budget and its annual cycle using observational and model data. J. Hydrometeor., 8, 758-769. doi: 10.1175/JHM600.1
  • Trenberth, K.E., and L. Smith, (2006): The vertical structure of temperature in the tropics: Different flavors of El Nino. J. Clim., 19 4956-4973. doi: 10.1175/JCLI3891.1
  • Trenberth, K.E., J. Fasullo, L. Smith, (2005): Trends and variability in column-integrated atmospheric water vapor, Clim. Dyn., 24, 741-758. doi: 10.1007/s00382-005-0017-4
  • Trenberth, K.E., D.P. Stepaniak, L. Smith, (2005): Interannual Variability of patterms pf atmospheric mass distribution, J. Clim., 18, 2812-2825. doi: 10.1175/JCLI3333.1
  • Trenberth, K.E., and L.Smith, (2005): The Mass of the Atmosphere: a Constraint on Global Analyses, J. Clim., 18, 864-875. doi: 10.1175/JCLI-3299.1
  • Klonecki, A., P. Hess, L. Emmons, L. Smith, J. Orlando, D. Blake, (2003): Seasonal Changes in the Transport of Pollutants into the Arctic Troposphere - A Model Study, J. Geophys. Res., 108 (D4), 8367. doi:10.1029/2002JD002199.