Adrian Borsa is a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  His work aims to describe how the shape of Earth’s surface is changing at timescales of seconds to decades, and to link observed change to geophysical processes associated with phenomena ranging from earthquakes to climate change.


Dr. Borsa’s expertise includes the collection and analysis of geodetic data from many sources, including permanent and mobile GPS sensors, airborne lidar, and satellite altimeters.  He is also actively involved in the calibration and validation of elevation measurements from several generations of satellite altimeters, and has made the remote salar de Uyuni in Bolivia his field home for the past decade in support of this work.


Dr. Borsa took an atypical route to science, beginning with a B.A. in Government, an M.A. in International Relations, and an early career in international business focused on Japan and the United States.  He received his PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2005, was posted at the US Geological Survey during his post-doc, and moved to Boulder, CO in 2008 to take a management position within NSF’s EarthScope program.  He returned to Scripps and to full-time scientific research in 2012.


  • B.A. Government, Harvard University
  • M.P.I.A. International Relations, U.C.S.D. (School of International Relations and Pacific Studies)
  • Ph.D Earth Sciences, U.C.S.D. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)


Research Interests

  • Near-field coseismic slip and constraints on topography building
  • Transient deformation due to fault creep and crustal loading
  • Dry lake geomorphology
  • GPS multipath and other noise sources
  • Geodetic monument stability
  • Altimeter calibration and validation (ICESat-1, ICESat-2, ALSM)


Tools and Techniques

  • Airborne and spaceborne lidar altimetry and imaging
  • Differential lidar algorithm development and application
  • Kinematic GPS for positioning and topographic mapping