top of page


Phone: (408) 924-7371
Fax: (408) 924-5191

minghui.diao at

One Washington Square 
San Jose, CA 95192-0104

Minghui Diao
Associate Professor
Minghui Diao


  • Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, 2013

  • B.S., Environmental Sciences, Peking University, China, 2008

Research positions

  • Associate Professor, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State University, 2020–Present

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State University, 2015–2020

  • Advanced Study Program Postdoctoral Fellow, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 2013–2015

Fellowships and Awards

    2021 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory mini-Faculty Sabbatical Fellowship

    2019 San Jose State University Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award

    2019 - 2021 San Jose State University Faculty RSCA Assigned Time Program Award

    2018 San Jose State University College of Science RSCA Assigned Time Award

    2018 NCAR Advanced Study Program Faculty fellowship

    2016 NCAR Advanced Study Program Faculty fellowship

    2013 - 2015 NCAR Advanced Study Program (ASP) postdoctoral fellowship

    2012 Walbridge Fund Graduate Award, Princeton University

    2012 Princeton Environment and Climate Scholars (PECS) Award

    2010 American Geophysical Union 2010 Fall Meeting, Outstanding Student Paper Award, San Francisco, USA

    2009 American Geophysical Union 2009 Spring Assembly, Outstanding Student Paper Award, Toronto, Canada

    2009 NSF Graduate Student Travel Award to Water Vapor and Climate System (WAVACS) workshop, France

    2009 - 2012 NASA Earth and Space Science (NESSF) Fellowship

    2008 - 2012 Francis Robbins Upton Graduate Fellowship at Princeton University (one of the two highest graduate

      fellowships given by the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University)

    2008 Honored Bachelor Thesis and Honored Bachelor at Peking University

    2007 Jun-Tsung Fellowship (awarded by Nobel Laureate Tsung-Dao Lee to 16 undergraduate students in China)

    2007 Baogang Fellowship, Peking University
    2006 Lin Chao Geoscience Fellowship, Peking University
    2003 Chinese Chemistry Olympiad National First Prize


Research interests

    Aircraft-based and remote sensing observations of water vapor, ice crystals and aerosols

    Remote sensing of aerosol optical depth and downscaling of PM2.5 fields

    Numerical simulations of cloud dynamics, cloud macro- and microphysical properties

    Multi-scale dynamical influences on ice supersaturation and ice crystal formation

    Aerosol indirect effects on cirrus cloud’s formation and evolution from natural and anthropogenic sources


    METR 112 Global Climate Change

    METR 125 Physical Meteorology

    METR 215 Advanced Physical Meteorology

Graduate students

Screenshot 2023-07-07 053502Jaysihgn.png
Jay Singh

Jay is a MS student in the Physics Department. His MS thesis focuses on the interactions between clouds and radiation over the Arctic using DOE MOSAIC campaign. He analyzes cloud types, cloud cover, and the associated shortwave and longwave radiation in different seasons. His work will help to quantify different cloud radiative effects due to different cloud phases and cloud types, which ultimately affect the sea ice coverage in that region.

Derek Ngo

Derek joined our group at SJSU in Fall 2021. His research goal is to advance the understanding of aerosol indirect effects on cirrus clouds by using a suite of aircraft in-situ observations from multiple NSF and NASA field campaigns and global climate model simulations of NCAR CESM and NASA GEO. His work will help to improve the representation of cirrus clouds in climate models, and increase the accuracy for simulating cloud microphysical properties and cloud radiative effects.

Dao Wang

Dao started his MS work in Fall 2021. His research work aims at examining cloud thermodynamic phases (i.e., ice, liquid and mixed phase) over the high latitudinal region based on various types of observations, including in-situ aircraft observations and satellite remote sensing observations. He will select collocated satellite retrievals with aircraft flight data for further comparisons. His work will help to answer the question of whether using different types of observations would lead to different results of cloud phase frequency distribution.

Ching An Yang

Ching started her research as an undergraduate student research assistant. She became a M.S. candidate in 2019. She is interested in analyzing the sea-atmosphere exchange over the Southern Ocean. Currently, she is working on analysis of aircraft-based observations, and her analysis will further be used to quantify the distributions of ice particles and supercooled liquid water in ice and mixed-phase clouds over the Southern Ocean. Ultimately, a statistical distribution of cloud phases in various geographical locations will be provided to facilitate evaluation of satellite observations and climate simulations.

Undergraduate Alumni

Abril Alberto

Abril is working as an Air Quality Inspector for South Coast Air Quality Management District. She worked on the analysis of NSF HIPAER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) Global campaign during 2009 - 2011 for her undergraduate thesis. One of her goals was to understand the differences in cloud microphysical properties for ice and mixed-phase clouds between the Arctic and the Southern Ocean. The Northern and Southern Hemispheres have significant contrast in aerosol number concentrations, yet it is still not well-known how such aerosol concentration contrast would lead to different cloud microphysical properties between the higher latitudes.

Research Associates

Dr. Neel Desai

Dr. Neel Desai joined the group in spring 2021. Neel graduated from Michigan Tech University (working on the MTU Pi cloud chamber with Professor Raymond Shaw). After his PhD thesis work, he continued working on various field projects about aerosol-cloud interaction as a postdoctoral researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Neel will be working on a DOE ASR funded project in our group, focusing on ice and mixed-phase cloud processes and aerosol indirect effects using DOE observations and E3SM climate model simulations.


Ryan Patnaude

Ryan joined the group since the summer of 2018 and received his M.S. degree in May 2020. His graduate work focused on cirrus cloud formation and microphysical properties from in-situ observations and CAM6 model simulations. He conducted a thorough survey on cirrus cloud macro- and microphysical properties by using a large number of NSF aircraft campaigns from 2008 - present. His work helped to improve the representations of cirrus clouds in the NCAR CAM6 model. Ryan is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Colorado State University.

John D'Alessandro

During John's graduate work at SJSU, he has been working on two different projects. One is to compare the in-situ observations with the WRF simulations of deep convective clouds; the other is to use in-situ observations over the Southern Ocean from the NSF ORCAS campaign to evaluate global climate model simulations of mixed-phase clouds. John finished his Master thesis defense in spring of 2018, and will start his PhD study at University of Oklahoma. 

Flor Vanessa Maciel

Vanessa (Flor) started her M.S. study at SJSU in Fall 2020. Her research project is to improve the understanding of cirrus cloud microphysical properties and the aerosol indirect effects on cirrus clouds based on in-situ observations and climate simulations. She will be comparing simulated cirrus properties in NCAR CAM6 model with a synthesized aircraft dataset from 87N to 67S. 

Vanessa is currently a PhD student at UCLA.

Jackson Yip

Jackson was an undergraduate student working on analyzing the Southern Ocean observations from the NSF GV aircraft. He conducted comparisons between observations and a CAM6 model simulation at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica to advance the understanding of cloud characteristics at this remote location. Jackson is currently pursing his M.S. degree in University of Utah.

Tyler Barone

Tyler started his MS work since June 2020. His research work aims at advancing the understanding of ice and mixed-phase cloud formation and evolution in the higher latitudes (e.g., Arctic, Antarctica and Southern Ocean). He will be using multiple NSF and DOE field campaigns to understand cloud microphysical properties and the key factors controlling these properties.

Tyler will continue his PhD study at Texas A&M University.

Kathryn Steinmann

Katie was working on the NSF CONvective TRansport of Active Species in the Tropics (CONTRAST) campaign, which took place in January to February in 2014, based at Guam. Her research foci include understanding the chemical tracer correlations among ozone, water vapor, carbon monoxide, HCN, CH3CN, etc. Her results will shed more light on the reason that a higher ozone concentrations were observed at mid-troposphere over Guam, coupled with very dry air at RH < 20%. Katie is currently enrolled in the PhD program at University of Wyoming.

bottom of page