Riley Duren

Riley Duren is a Principal Engineer and Chief Systems Engineer for the Earth Science Directorate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology. For 25 years he has worked at the intersection of engineering and science to deliver complex systems including seven space missions spanning earth science and astrophysics. He was Chief Engineer for the Kepler mission that conducted a major survey of earth-size planets around other stars and is recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals. He is a Visiting Researcher at UCLA’s Joint Institute For Regional Earth System Science and Engineering. Since 2008 he has applied the discipline of systems engineering to supporting societal decision-making about climate change and energy.


B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Auburn University, 1991

Research Interests: 

Duren’s research focuses on carbon monitoring and he serves as Principal Investigator for the following projects: the Megacities Carbon Project that applies surface and satellite observations, high resolution CO2 and methane emissions data sets, and tracer transport modeling to monitor carbon fluxes in Los Angeles, with partnerships in Paris and other major cities, the Understanding User Needs project for NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) program,  and as well as several projects involving airborne surveys of  methane point sources across California.  He also serves as Deputy Program Applications Lead for NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2 and -3) missions.

Professional Experience: 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • Chief Systems Engineer, Earth Science & Technology Directorate (2008 – Present)
  • Chief Engineer, Kepler Mission (2006 –2009)
  • Project Systems Engineer, Kepler Mission (2002-2006)
  • Instrument Systems Engineer, StarLight project (2000 –2002)
  • Metrology System Engineer, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (1996 –2000)

NASA Kennedy Space Center

  • Integration & Test Engineer, 5 space shuttle missions (1988-1995)

Selected Awards: 
  • National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Lecture (2013)
  • Engineer’s Council Distinguished Engineering Achievement Award (2012)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals (2001 & 2010)
  • NASA Systems Engineering Excellence Award (2010)
  • Charles Witham Environmental Stewardship Award (2008)
  • NASA Group Achievement Awards (6 total, 1991-2010)

Selected Publications: 
  1. Thompson, D.R., A. K. Thorpe, C. Frankenberg, R. O. Green, R. Duren, L. Guanter, A. Hollstein, E. Middleton, L. Ong, S. Ungar, Space-based Remote Imaging Spectroscopy of the Aliso Canyon CH4 Super-emitter, Geophys. Res. Let. (2016), doi: 10.1002/2016GL069079.
  2. Hulley,G.C., R.  Duren, S.J. Hook, F. Hopkins, N. Vance, et al., High spatial resolution imaging of methane and other trace gas sources with the airborne Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer,Atmos. Meas. Tech.(2016)doi:10.5194/amt-2016-8.
  3. Bloom, A. A., Lauvaux, T., Yadav, V., Duren, R., Sander, S., Worden, J., and Schimel, D.: What are the greenhouse gas observing system requirements for reducing fundamental biogeochemical process uncertainty? Amazon wetland CH4 emissions as a case study, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-325, 2016.
  4. Wong, K. W., Pongetti, T. J., Oda, T., Rao, P., Gurney, Kevin. R., Newman, S., Duren, R. M., Miller, C. E., Yung, Y. L., and Sander, S. P.: Monthly trends of methane emissions in Los Angeles from 2011 to 2015 inferred by CLARS-FTS observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. (2016), doi:10.5194/acp-2016-232.
  5. Kuai, L., G. Hulley, J. Worden, F. M. Hopkins, King-Fai Li, C. E. Miller, S. Hook, R. Duren, A. Aubrey (2016)Characterization of anthropogenic methane plumes with the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HyTES): a retrieval method and error analysis, Atmos. Meas. Tech.., doi:10.5194/amt-2015-40.
  6. Feng, S., T. Lauvaux, S. Newman, P. Rao, R. Ahmadov, A. Deng, L.I. Diaz-Isaac, R.Duren et al. (2016) LA Megacity: a High-Resolution Land-Atmosphere Modelling System for Urban CO2 Emissions, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi: 10.5194/acp-2016-143.
  7. K.R. Gurney, Paty Romero-Lankao, Karen C. Seto, Lucy R. Hutyra, Riley Duren, Christopher Kennedy, Nancy B. Grimm, Jim R. Ehleringer, Peter Marcotullio, Sara Hughes, Stephanie Pincetl, Mikhail V. Chester, Daniel M. Runfola, Johannes J. Feddema, Joshua Sperling, “Track Urban Emissions on a Human Scale”, Nature  (2015).
  8. Keith, David W., Riley Duren, and Douglas G. MacMartin (2014), “Field experiments on Solar Geoengineering: An exploration of a representative research portfolio”, Phil Trans Royal Soc A, DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2014.0175.
  9. Hutyra, Lucy R., Riley Duren, Kevin R. Gurney, Nancy Grimm, Eric Kort, Elisabeth Larson, Gyami Shrestha, “Urbanization and the carbon cycle: Current capabilities and research outlook from the natural sciences perspective”, Earth’s Future (2014), doi:10.1002/2014EF000255.
  10. R. Duren and C. Miller, “Measuring the Carbon Emissions of Megacities”, Nature Climate Change 2, 560–562 (2012). doi:10.1038/nclimate1629.
  11. Farr, T.G., E. Caro, R. Crippen, R. Duren, S. Hensley, M. Kobrick, M. Paller, E. Rodriguez, P. Rosen, L. Roth, D. Seal, S. Shaffer, J. Shimada, J. Umland, M. Werner, “The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission”, AGU Reviews of Geophysics (2006).
  12. Duren, R. “Verification and Validation of Deep-Space Missions”, AIAA J. Spacecraft and Rockets,  Vol. 41, No. 4 (2004).
Riley Duren
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: 818.354.5753