Dr. Clay Blankenship

Dr. Clay Blankenship

Email:  CBlankenship at usra.edu


Dr. Clay Blankenship is a graduate of Auburn University (B.S., Physics) and Texas A&M University (M.S., Meteorology; Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences).  His interest in meteorology began during a USRA college summer internship, where he launched radisondes and flew on a research aircraft in northeastern Canada.  His graduate research focused on satellite retrievals of water vapor profiles from microwave observations, and on using those observations for climate studies. Dr. Blankenship then spent time as a postdoc and then a research scientist at the Marine Meteorology Division of the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, California, concentrating on satellite data assimilation.  He joined USRA in 2007 and has worked on a number of research projects for SPoRT and other groups at NASA-MSFC.  His research interests include satellite meteorology, data assimilation, numerical weather prediction, land surface modeling, and streamflow.  Dr. Blankenship is currently PI on a project to study the impact of soil moisture data from the NASA Soil Moisture Active-Passive (SMAP) radiometer on land surface modeling and on weather forecasts.



  • Nair, U. et al.  Influence of Land Cover and Soil Moisture based Brown Ocean Effect on an Extreme Rainfall Event from a Louisiana Gulf Coast Tropical System.  Scientific Reports (in press).
  • Blankenship, C. B., J. L. Case, W. L. Crosson, and B. T. Zavodsky, 2018: Correction of Forcing-Related Spatial Artifacts in a Land Surface Model by Satellite Soil Moisture Data Assimilation. IEEE Geosci. Remote Sens. Lett.,15(4), 498-502. doi: 10.1109/LGRS.2018.2805259
  • Blankenship, C. B., J. L. Case, B. T. Zavodsky, and W. L. Crosson, 2016: Assimilation of SMOS Retrievals in the Land Information System. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens, 54 (11), 6320-6332.
  • Zavodsky, B.T., J.L. Case, C.B. Blankenship, W.L. Crosson, and K.D. White, 2013:  Application of next-generation satellite data to a high-resolution, real-time land surface model.  Earthzine., 10 April 2013.  [http://www.earthzine.org/2013/04/10/application-of-next-generation-satellite-data-to-a-high-resolution-real-time-land-surface-model/]
  • Cecil, D.J. and C.B. Blankenship, 2012: Toward a Global Climatology of Severe Hailstorms as Estimated by Satellite Passive Microwave Imagers.J. Climate25, 687–703.
  • Baker, N.L. et al., 2006:  Assimilation of Polar-Orbiting Satellite Sounder Radiances for Improved Battlespace Characterization.  2005 NRL Review, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC.
  • Blankenship, C.B. and T. T. Wilheit, 2001:  Passive microwave observations of water vapor profiles during two ENSO events.  Journal of Geophysical Research—Atmospheres, 106,  5239-5254.
  • Blankenship, C.B., Al-Khalaf, A.K., and Wilheit, T.T., 2000.  Retrieval of water vapor profiles using SSM/T-2 and SSM/I data.  Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 57, 939-955.

In the News

December 22, 2021
USRA Scientists and Engineers Contribute to NASA's Xray Polarimetry Explorer

NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) launched successfully on December 9, 2021 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was a “picture perfect” launch, according to Principal Investigator Dr. Martin Weisskopf of the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket performing nominally and nature providing ideal weather conditions.

USRA Scientists and Engineers Contribute to NASA's Xray Polarimetry Explorer
August 17, 2021
Bringing Earth Data to Life

Ms. Tondapu's work featured in an article on the NASA Applied Sciences website.

Bringing Earth Data to Life
April 13, 2021
Pollution Studies during COVID-19 Lockdown

View the WIRED article discussing Dr. Gupta's year-long study for pollution in India during the COVID-19 lock down.

Pollution Studies during COVID-19 Lockdown
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