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Overview

Clouds and aerosols are ubiquitous in planetary atmospheres, where they impact climate, atmospheric chemistry, remote sensing, and weather. Clouds are a vital link in the global and regional weather climate and hydrological cycle. Research conducted by ATOC builds on knowledge of the fundamental set of thermodynamic and physical principles by applying them to quantitatively describe the behavior of cloud development and precipitation enhancement, and develop quantitative and qualitative analysis of thermodynamic and microphysical processes relevant for cloud development for certain phenomena such as nimbostratus clouds, extra-tropical cyclones, cumulus dynamics, thunderstorms, mesoscale convective systems, hurricanes, and orographic clouds.

Dr. Friedrich’s research, for example, focuses on investigating kinematic and microphysical processes relevant for cloud formation. Dr. Toohey’s research addresses the role of trace gases and aerosols on Earth’s climate, atmospheric oxidation, and air quality. He develops instruments for fast-response in situ measurements from the ground, balloons, and aircraft. He has participated in numerous field campaigns to study topics such as stratospheric ozone depletion over the Arctic, the impact of rockets on stratospheric chemistry, long-range transport of pollutants, and the role of aerosols in modification of cloud properties. He has conducted work in Antarctica, Spitsbergen, New Zealand, Sweden, Nepal, the Virgin Islands, Alaska, Hawaii, and throughout the continental United States. Part of Dr. Kay's research focuses on the cloud response to sea ice loss and its impact on climate feedbacks, as well as precipitation-cloud-aerosol interactions in a warming Arctic. Please see below for a complete list of the ATOC faculty involved in research on clouds & aerosols, along with an array of specific topics and projects.

Core faculty

Other researchers

Specific topics and projects

Relevant courses

  • ATOC 3500. Air Chemistry and Pollution
  • ATOC 5600. Physics and Chemistry of Clouds and Aerosols
  • ATOC 6100. Modeling Weather and Climate

Other resources