APL logo apl logo


AIRS logo






  About Dr. Nystuen  
  Jeff is the son of John and Gwen Nystuen. He was born in Seattle, WA, but grew up in Ann Arbor, MI. He was strongly influenced by the shadows of the University of Michigan, his father is a professor of Geography/Urban Planning, and decided to pursue an academic career at an early age. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a double degree in Mathematics and Physics in 1979 (high honors). With this background, he decided to pursue an advanced degree in oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at La Jolla, CA.

While at Scripps, his Ph.D. advisor was Robert H. Stewart. Prof. Stewart remarked that satellite measurements of rainfall at sea were suspect because of the lack of any surface measurements. Walter Munk, his co-advisor, suggested that oceanic rainfall measurements could potentially be made by listening to the sound that rain makes underwater. This suggestion became the focus of Jeff's scientific career. His thesis, Ambient noise measurements of rainfall, was completed in 1985.

After graduation, Jeff spent one year with David Farmer at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, BC, and then accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. While at NPS, he studied the sound of individual raindrop splashes with Herman Medwin, a physics professor, and established several field projects measuring the sound of rain at sea.

In 1993, he took the opportunity to participate in a rainfall measurement experiment being conducted by the Ocean Acoustics Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Miami, FL. This experiment lasted 2 years, during which time every second of rainfall in a pond at the laboratory was recorded acoustically and with ancillary rain gauges. These data confirmed the ability to quantify rainfall acoustically.

In 1995, he moved on to the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. There he has established a field program to measure rainfall at sea using his acoustical technique. Measurements are currently being made in cooperation with NOAA and NASA near Cape Canaveral, FL and in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Jeff is single. He is an avid bird watcher and naturalist. He has traveled extensively and enjoys contra dancing.