Dr Anja Schmidt

Dr Anja Schmidt, PhD (Leeds).

My research focuses on understanding the climate and environmental impacts of volcanic eruptions. Volcanic eruptions can cause cooling of climate and affect the environment via deposition of volcanic ash and acidic sulphur species. In my research group we combine state-of-the-art atmospheric modelling tools with volcanological datasets in order to quantify the climatic and environmental effects of gas and ash emissions from volcanic eruptions of different styles, magnitudes and durations. Current work includes the development of new methods and tools to forecast the dispersion and chemical evolution of volcanic plumes in near real-time, which helps to enhance national and international capabilities to quantify the impacts of volcanic plumes on aviation and air quality. We also have a strong interest in understanding and quantifying the chemical and physical processes that lead to the formation of volcanic aerosol. Volcanic aerosols are tiny airborne particles that are important for Earth's climate because they reflect sunlight and trap thermal infrared radiative energy. We have recently shown that volcanic eruptions of small to moderate size occur frequently and decrease the transparency of the stratosphere by as much as all non-volcanic sources of aerosol particles combined. These small sized volcanic eruptions therefore cause a small but noticeable surface cooling and so should be included in climate model simulations, which is rarely done.
My faculty position is Interdisciplinary Lecturer in Climate Modelling jointly affiliated with the Departments of Geography and Chemistry. I am head of a vibrant and friendly research group composed of undergraduate students, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. In Geography I lecture a second year climate change course, and I also lecture on several third year courses including Earth Observations and Climate Change, and Volcanology. I also co-lead the second year field-trip to Tenerife. In Chemistry I lecture on an interdisciplinary Part III course on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Change.
  • Bye-Fellow