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

minghui.diao at

One Washington Square 
San Jose, CA 95192-0104

Minghui Diao
Assistant Professor


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

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

Research positions

  • Tenure-track Assistant Professor, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State University, 2015–Present

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

Fellowships and Awards

    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

James Johnson
Founder and Principal
Ryan Patnaude

Ryan has joined the group since the summer of 2018. His graduate work will focus on cirrus cloud formation and microphysical properties from in-situ observations and CAM6 model simulations. He will conduct a thorough survey on cirrus cloud macro- and microphysical properties by using a large number of NSF aircraft campaigns from 2008 - present. His work will help to improve the representations of cirrus clouds in the NCAR CAM6 model.

Kathryn Steinmann

Katie has been 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%.

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students

Abril Alberto
Ching An Yang

Abril is working on the analysis of NSF HIPAER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) Global campaign during 2009 - 2011 for her undergraduate thesis. One of her goals is 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.

Ching 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 impacts of sea spray on the formation of clouds over the Southern Ocean. 

Ching An Yang
Jackson Yip

Jackson is working on analyzing the Southern Ocean observations from the NSF GV aircraft. He will conduct further comparisons with WRF simulations to understand the cloud phase distributions at this remote location.


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.