CAMP2Ex Team Mourns Passing of Senior Climate Researcher


Gemma Narisma boarding NASA’s P-3 research aircraft during the 2019 CAMP2Ex deployment in the Phillipines. Credit: NASA
Gemma Narisma with NASA’s P-3 research aircraft during the 2019 CAMP2Ex deployment in the Phillipines. Credit: NASA

By Katy Mersmann, NASA

We’re so saddened by the loss of our teammate Dr. Gemma Teresa Narisma. She was a passionate climate researcher and the Philippine lead for the Cloud, Aerosol, and Monsoon Processes Philippines Experiment (CAMP2Ex).

As the director of the Manila Observatory and a professor at Ateneo de Manila University, she not only helped plan the research, but she aggressively brought students into the CAMP2Ex project, helping lead the next generation of meteorologists and climate researchers in forecasting weather for flights and data collection.

“We witnessed brightness, peace, curiosity, joy, courage and determination,” Simone Tanelli of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, in Gemma’s remembrance. “And Gemma was right at the center of that, emanating them, and the whole Manila Observatory team shone with them.”

Gemma’s expertise was internationally recognized: She served as an author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report and received numerous awards honoring her work as a researcher. Gemma was one of the leading subject matter experts in the Philippines on climate resilience, severe weather and natural hazards.  She was consulted at every level of the Philippine government.

Gemma was a dedicated and enthusiastic teammate and mentor; a role model for younger scientists and a friend to all who met her. Her smile lit up a hangar, and it was a joy to watch her celebrate as her students took their first science flights with CAMP2Ex.

“The world has lost a valuable scientist, and the Philippines has lost an environmental spokeswoman, but we have lost a beloved friend” said Jeffrey Reid, U. S. Naval Research Laboratory.