Analyzing Clouds and Climate Change

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues & Innovations
September 26, 2023 Belmont Media Center (Zoom)

Daniel Cziczo, Ph.D. , Professor and Department Head, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University

Clouds are an essential component of the climate. In normal circumstances, they stabilize Earth’s temperature, both by preserving the planet’s heat like a blanket and blocking excess solar radiation. But with prolonged accumulation of atmospheric CO2, the planet overheats, leading to dramatic effects, including massive wildfires –which release particles called “biomass aerosols.” Those particles seed clouds that affect the climate. In this program, Dr. Cziczo explains how these clouds form and why the excess of biomass particles concern climate scientists.

Daniel Cziczo is a leading expert on cloud formation and its relationship to climate. His focus is the interrelationship of particulate matter and cloud formation. His research utilizes laboratory and field studies to elucidate how small particles interact with water vapor droplets and ice crystals which are important players in the Earth’s climate system.

Dr. Cziczo's extensive field research includes working with NASA’s Dynamic and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) where his team collects data from the nose of the ER-2 aircraft during the North American monsoon season. He is also involved with atmospheric research with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA) for the Atmospheric Emissions and Reactions Observed from Megacities to Marine Areas (AEROMMA) mission which conducts research onboard a DC-8 plane dubbed the world’s largest flying chemistry laboratory.

Dan Cziczo has received numerous awards, and was named a 2023 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) International Excellence Fellow.
Cziczo named KIT International Excellence Fellow