S. McKenzie Skiles portrait
  • Assistant Professor, Geography Department


  • Skiles, S. McKenzie & D. Mallia, A.G. Hallar, J.C. Lin, A. Lambert, R. Petersen, S. Clark (2018). Implications of a shrinking Great Salt Lake for dust on snow deposition in the Wasatch Mountains, UT, as informed by a source to sink case study from the April 13th, 2017 dust event. Environmental Research Letters. Published, 12/2018.
  • Skiles S., Flanner M., Cook J., Dumont M. & Painter T. (2018). Radiative forcing by light-absorbing particles in snow. (pp. 964-971). Vol. 8. Nature Climate Change. Published, 11/01/2018.
  • Skiles, S. McKenzie & J. Lund, T.H. Painter (2018). Ground validation of Airborne Snow Observatory spectral and broadband albedo during SnowEx ’17. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS). Published, 10/2018.
  • Skiles, S. McKenzie & Painter, Thomas H. (2018). Assessment of radiative forcing by light-absorbing particles in snow from in situ observations with radiative transfer modeling. Journal of Hydrometeorology. Vol. 19, 1397-1409. Published, 08/01/2018.
  • Dial RJ, Ganey GQ & Skiles SM (2018). What color should glacier algae be? An ecological role for red carbon in the cryosphere. FEMS microbiology ecology. Vol. 94. Published, 02/01/2018.
  • Painter T., Skiles S., Deems J., Brandt W. & Dozier J. (2018). Variation in Rising Limb of Colorado River Snowmelt Runoff Hydrograph Controlled by Dust Radiative Forcing in Snow. (pp. 797-808). Vol. 45, Geophysical Research Letters. Published, 01/28/2018.
  • Painter T., Skiles S., Green R., Seidel F. & Nolin A. (2017). Imaging spectroscopy to understand the controls on cryospheric melting in a changing world. International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS). Vol. 2017-July, 3070-3073. Published, 12/01/2017.
  • Casey, Kimberley, Kaspari, Susan, Skiles, S. McKenzie, Kruetz, K. & Handley, M.J. (2017). Light absorbing particulates on snow: the spectral and chemical measurements of pollutant impacts on snow near South Pole, Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 6592–6610. Published, 06/27/2017.
  • Skiles, S. McKenzie, Painter, Thomas & Okin, Greg (2017). A method to retrieve the spectral complex refractive index and single scattering optical properties of dust deposited in mountain snow. Journal of Glaciology. Vol. 63, 133-147. Accepted, 02/2017.
  • Skiles, S. McKenzie & Painter, Thomas (2017). Daily evolution in dust and black carbon content, snow grain size, and snow albedo during snowmelt, Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Journal of Glaciology. Vol. 63, 118-132. Published, 02/2017.
  • Painter T., Berisford D., Boardman J., Bormann K., Deems J., Gehrke F., Hedrick A., Joyce M., Laidlaw R., Marks D., Mattmann C., McGurk B., Ramirez P., Richardson M., Skiles S., Seidel F. & Winstral A. (2016). The Airborne Snow Observatory: Fusion of scanning lidar, imaging spectrometer, and physically-based modeling for mapping snow water equivalent and snow albedo. (pp. 139-152). Vol. 184, Remote Sensing of Environment. Published, 10/01/2016.
  • Seidel F., Rittger K., McKenzie Skiles S., Molotch N. & Painter T. (2016). Case study of spatial and temporal variability of snow cover, grain size, albedo and radiative forcing in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain snowpack derived from imaging spectroscopy. (pp. 1229-1244). Vol. 10, Cryosphere. Published, 06/15/2016.
  • Miller S., Wang F., Burgess A., McKenzie Skiles S., Rogers M. & Painter T. (2016). Satellite-based estimation of temporally resolved dust radiative forcing in snow cover. (pp. 1999-2011). Vol. 17, Journal of Hydrometeorology. Published, 01/01/2016.
  • Minder J., Letcher T. & Skiles S. (2016). An evaluation of high-resolution regional climate model simulations of snow cover and albedo over the rocky mountains, with implications for the simulated snow-albedo feedback. (pp. 9069-9088). Vol. 121, Journal of Geophysical Research. Published, 01/01/2016.
  • Skiles S., Painter T., Belnap J., Holland L., Reynolds R., Goldstein H. & Lin J. (2015). Regional variability in dust-on-snow processes and impacts in the Upper Colorado River Basin. (pp. 5397-5413). Vol. 29, Hydrological Processes. Published, 12/30/2015.
  • Oaida C., Xue Y., Flanner M., Skiles S., De Sales F. & Painter T. (2015). Improving snow albedo processes in WRF/SSiB regional climate model to assess impact of dust and black carbon in snow on surface energy balance and hydrology over western U.S.. (pp. 3228-3248). Vol. 120, Journal of Geophysical Research. Published, 01/01/2015.
  • Kaspari S., Skiles S., Delaney I., Dixon D. & Painter T. (2015). Accelerated glacier melt on Snow Dome, Mount Olympus, Washington, USA, due to deposition of black carbon and mineral dust from wildfire. (pp. 2793-2807). Vol. 120, Journal of Geophysical Research. Published, 01/01/2015.
  • Reynolds R., Goldstein H., Moskowitz B., Bryant A., Skiles S., Kokaly R., Flagg C., Yauk K., Berquó T., Breit G., Ketterer M., Fernandez D., Miller M. & Painter T. (2014). Composition of dust deposited to snow cover in the Wasatch Range (Utah, USA): Controls on radiative properties of snow cover and comparison to some dust-source sediments. (pp. 73-90). Vol. 15, Aeolian Research. Published, 12/01/2014.
  • Kaspari S., Painter T., Gysel M., Skiles S. & Schwikowski M. (2014). Seasonal and elevational variations of black carbon and dust in snow and ice in the Solu-Khumbu, Nepal and estimated radiative forcings. (pp. 8089-8103). Vol. 14, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Published, 08/13/2014.
  • Painter T., Seidel F., Bryant A., McKenzie Skiles S. & Rittger K. (2013). Imaging spectroscopy of albedo and radiative forcing by light-absorbing impurities in mountain snow. (pp. 9511-9523). Vol. 118, Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres. Published, 09/16/2013.
  • Li J., Okin G., McKenzie Skiles S. & Painter T. (2013). Relating variation of dust on snow to bare soil dynamics in the western United States. Vol. 8, Environmental Research Letters. Published, 01/01/2013.
  • Painter T., Bryant A. & McKenzie Skiles S. (2012). Radiative forcing by light absorbing impurities in snow from MODIS surface reflectance data. Vol. 39, Geophysical Research Letters. Published, 09/16/2012.
  • Skiles S., Painter T., Deems J., Bryant A. & Landry C. (2012). Dust radiative forcing in snow of the Upper Colorado River Basin: 2. Interannual variability in radiative forcing and snowmelt rates. Vol. 48, Water Resources Research. Published, 08/08/2012.
  • Painter T., Skiles S., Deems J., Bryant A. & Landry C. (2012). Dust radiative forcing in snow of the Upper Colorado River Basin: 1. A 6 year record of energy balance, radiation, and dust concentrations. Vol. 48, Water Resources Research. Published, 08/08/2012.


  • Remote sensing of mountain snow water resources: Recent advances in high spatial and spectral resolution imagery. Center for Water, Earth Science, and Technology- CU Boulder, Boulder, CO. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/2018.
  • Painter, T.H. & S.M. Skiles (presenter). Advances and Opportunities in Alpine Measurements including Remote Sensing. 3rd Annual Workshop for the International Network for Alpine Research and Catchment Hydrology, Zugspitze, Germany. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/2018.
  • S.M. Skiles, J. Lund, T.H. Painter, Ground validation of Airborne Snow Observatory spectral and broadband albedo during SnowEx ’17. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (IGARSS), 2018. Invited Talk/Keynote, Submitted, 01/08/2018.
  • Remote sensing of the mountain snowpack: Monitoring snow water resources at multiple scales with drones, planes, and satellites. Department of Geology, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 01/2018.
  • From drone to ASO: Using structure from motion photogrammetry to map snow depth at multiple scales. American Geophysical Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana. Presentation, Presented, 12/2017.
  • Recent advances in measurements and modeling of snow hydrology in the Western US. Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, Boise, ID. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/10/2017.
  • ASO Imaging Spectroscopy: Snow albedo, grain size, and radiative forcing. 2nd Annual Airborne Snow Observatory Workshop, Mammoth Lakes, CA. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/12/2017.
  • Applying Structure-from-Motion to Airborne Snow Observatory imagery from SnowEx Year 1 to build high resolution surface models. NASA SnowEx Annual Workshop. Longmont, CO. Presentation, Presented, 07/2017.
  • Constraining Physical Controls on Snow Hydrology along the Wasatch Front, UT. Western Snow Conference. Boise, ID. Presentation, Presented, 04/2017.
  • Recent advances in measurements and physically based modeling of snow hydrology in the Western US. Spring Runoff Conference, Logan, UT. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/28/2017.
  • Skiles, S.M., T.H. Painter. Constraining regional energy and hydrologic modeling of the cryosphere with quantitative retrievals from imaging spectroscopy (Global Environmental Change Session). American Geophysical Union Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 12/2016.
  • Using a Flying Thing in the Sky to See How Much Water is in the Cover of Tiny Ice Pieces in the High Places (Public Affairs Session; The Up-Goer Five Challenge: A fun and radical way to distill your science). American Geophysical Union Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 12/2016.
  • From Ski Bum to Snow Scientist- Translating your passion into a STEM career, Empowering your Tomorrow STEM conference, Utah Valley University, Orem, UT. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 11/12/2016.
  • Skiles, S.M., & T.H. Painter. A 9-yr record of dust-on-snow in the Colorado River Basin, Proceedings of the 12th Biennial Conference of Science and Management on the Colorado Plateau, doi: 10.3133/sir20155180. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 05/20/2016.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Southern Asia
    Interested in High Mountain Asia and snow water resources south of the Hindu-Kush Himalaya.