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Erin Hoffmann Lay

Erin Lay

Phone (505) 665-6312


  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Lightning physics
  • Upper atmosphere
  • Ionosphere
  • Theory and simulation of plasma systems
  • Remote sensing
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Transient signal recognition
  • Ionospheric physics
  • Science of Signatures - Remote and Standoff Sensing
  • Ground-based sensing and sensors
  • Space-based sensing and sensors
  • Remote sensing
  • Ionospheric physics
  • Space Situational Awareness
  • Clouds
  • Space-based EMP detection


Troposphere-to-Ionosphere coupling

  • Electrical & neutral effects from thunderstorms on ionosphere
  • High-resolution VLF/LF remote sensing for the lower ionosphere
  • F-region gravity and acoustic waves associated with thunderstorms


  • HF trans-ionospheric RF signal propagation
  • EMP modeling

Data analysis of remote sensing measurements

  • Ground-based lightning
  • Ionospheric total electron content
  • On-orbit EMP signals


Ph.D., Physics, University of Washington, 2008

M.S., Physics, University of Washington, 2003

B.A., Physics, Grinnell College, 2002



LANL Positions

Scientist 3 in Space and Remote Sensing Group (ISR-2): 2014-present

Scientist 2 in ISR-2: 2010-2014

Post-doc in ISR-2: 2008-2010


Professional Societies




      Los Alamos National Laboratory SPOT Award for supporting the laboratory mission, 2013.

Grinnell College Alumni Scholar, 2008

Honorable Mention, Poster Competition, AGU Fall Meeting, 2006

Honorable Mention, Poster Competition, CEDAR workshop, 2005

Karrer Prize, Dept. of Physics, University of Washington, 2004

Barry Goldwater Scholarship, 2001

Trustee Honor Scholarship, Grinnell College, 1998-2002



[Smith, DM * Hazelton, BJ * Grefenstette, BW * Dwyer, JR * Holzworth, RH * Lay, EH], "Terrestrial gamma ray flashes correlated to storm phase and tropopause height", JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SPACE PHYSICS, Vol.115, A00E49, AUG 4 2010.

[Lay, EH * Rodger, CJ * Holzworth, RH * Cho, MG * Thomas, JN], "Temporal-spatial modeling of electron density enhancement due to successive lightning strokes", JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SPACE PHYSICS, Vol.115, A00E59, NOV 25 2010.

[Lay, EH * Close, S * Colestock, P * Bust, G], "Development and error analysis of nonlinear ionospheric removal algorithm for ionospheric electron density determination using broadband RF data", JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SPACE PHYSICS, Vol.116, A02316, FEB 19 2011.

[Lay, EH * Shao, XM], "High temporal and spatial-resolution detection of D-layer fluctuations by using time-domain lightning waveforms", JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SPACE PHYSICS, Vol.116, A01317, JAN 28 2011.

[Lay, EH * Shao, XM], "Multi-station probing of thunderstorm-generated D-layer fluctuations by using time-domain lightning waveforms", GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, Vol.38, L23806, DEC 13 2011.

[Shao, XM * Lay, E * Jacobson, AR], "On the behavior of return stroke current and the remotely detected electric field change waveform", JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, Vol.117, D07105, APR 10 2012.

[Jacobson, AR * Shao, XM * Lay, E], "Time domain waveform and azimuth variation of ionospherically reflected VLF/LF radio emissions from lightning", RADIO SCIENCE, Vol.47, RS4001, JUL 6 2012.

[Shao, Xuan-Min * Lay, Erin H. * Jacobson, Abram R.], "Reduction of electron density in the night-time lower ionosphere in response to a thunderstorm", NATURE GEOSCIENCE, Vol.6, iss.1, p.29-33, JAN 2013.

[Lay, Erin H. * Shao, Xuan-Min * Carrano, Charles S.], "Variation in total electron content above large thunderstorms", Geophysical Research Letters, Vol.40, iss.10, p.1945-1949, 2013.

[Lay, Erin H. * Shao, Xuan-Min * Jacobson, Abram R.], "D region electron profiles observed with substantial spatial and temporal change near thunderstorms", JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SPACE PHYSICS, Vol.119, iss.6, p.4916-4928, JUN 2014.


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