Steven Platnick's research includes theoretical/experimental studies of satellite, aircraft, and ground-based cloud remote sensing. He has been involved extensively with remote sensing field studies, including use of the MODIS Airborne Simulator instrument flown on the NASA ER-2 along with flight scientist roles in a number of field campaigns. He is a member of the MODIS and S-NPP Atmosphere Science Team working on operational cloud optical and microphysical products, as well as the MODIS Atmosphere Team Lead.
Platnick became a civil servant in the Climate and Radiation Branch in the Laboratory for Atmospheres in 2002 and then moved to the Earth Science Division in 2009. He has served as the head EOS Project Science Office since 2008, and as Deputy Director for Atmospheres in the Earth Science Division since January 2015. Prior to becoming a civil servant, Platnick was a research associate professor in the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County - an affiliation begun in 1996. During this time he led the development of a comprehensive set of graduate-level atmospheric physics courses within the Department of Physics of which he taught several. He previously held a National Research Council Research Associate position at the NASA Ames Research Center as well as a research and development position at the Hewlett-Packard Co. for six years. His work with Hewlett-Packard included two years as a visiting faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University.
He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Duke University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively, and a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Arizona. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and a recipient of the Verner E. Suomi Award.