Climate feedbacks at the Antarctica and Southern Ocean hold some of the key pieces for predicting future climate. In the past, very few airborne and ground-based observations have been made at these remote regions. From 2018 – 2022, PI Diao and her students will be using several recent NSF and DOE flight campaigns, to investigate cloud formation and their radiative forcing over the Antarctica and Southern Ocean. We aim to improve the understanding of cloud macro- and microphysical properties, as well as improving climate model simulations. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Program grant (OPP) 1744965.

We are part of the science team of two NSF field campaigns that targeted on sampling over the Southern Ocean. One is the NSF Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES) campaign from January 15, 2018 to February 26, 2018 at Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The other campaign is the NSF The O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean (ORCAS) Study from January 15, 2016 to February 28, 2016 at Punta Arenas, Chile.

As a member of the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, we use satellite observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) to derive high-resolution PM2.5 fields in California. Our project, entitled: "Satellite-Derived PM2.5 Grids with Dispersion Model Downscaling: PM2.5 Data to Support Community-Scale Air Quality Health Research and Policy Development" is currently funded by NASA grant NNX16AQ91G.

Cirrus clouds have a unique net warming effect on Earth's system, while most of the clouds have net cooling effects. In this project, we study the determinant factors behind cirrus cloud formation and evolution based on in-situ observations at various geographical locations. These observations will further guide us to quantify the global radiative forcing of cirrus clouds using a global climate model - the NCAR CAM5 model. A total of eight field campaigns will be analyzed. This project is funded under the NSF grant AGS-1642291.

Laboratory calibrations of a laser hygrometer

Dr Diao was funded by the NCAR Advanced Study Program (ASP) Faculty Fellowship to conduct laboratory calibrations of the Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) hygrometer onboard the NSF Gulfstream-V research aircraft in the summer of 2016, for a duration of three months. In the summer of 2018, we will be back at NCAR Earth Observing Laboratory to conduct more laboratory experiments. The QA/QC process will help to provide more accurate observation data sets that can be used for improving model simulations.

Field campaigns

Jan – Feb 2018: NSF Southern Ocean Clouds Radiation Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES) campaign; Hobart, Australia


Jan – Mar 2017: NSF Airborne Research Instrumentation Testing Opportunity (ARISTO) campaign; Broomfield, CO

Jan – Feb 2016: NSF O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean (ORCAS) campaign; Punta Arenas, Chile


2008 - 2011: NSF HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) global campaign deployment #1-5; USA, New Zealand and Australia; Four-year field work with five HIPPO deployments at multiple sites

April 2013: AQUAVIT-2 campaign at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany

May 2012: NSF Deep Convective Clouds & Chemistry Experiment (DC3) campaign, Kansas, US

Jan/Feb 2012: NSF Tropical Ocean Troposphere Exchange of reactive halogen species and oxygenated VOC (TORERO) campaign, Costa Rica and Chile

Sept 2010: NSF Pre-Depression Investigation of Cloud-systems in the Tropics (PREDICT) campaign, US Virgin Islands

QA/QC of water vapor data; data analyses of ice crystal and ice supersaturation,


Apr - Jun 2008: NSF Stratosphere-Troposphere Analyses of Regional Transport (START08) campaign, Colorado, US

QA/QC of VCSEL data; data analyses of GFS model meteorological background