Diana Karam Francis


Diana Karam Francis, Research Scientist

PhD 2008, Atmospheric Sciences, Université Pierre & Marie Curie, Sorbonne Universités, Paris, France
Email: diana.francis@nyu.edu

Diana is an atmospheric scientist with two master's degrees in Physics and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from Sorbonne Universités, Université Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France with a focus on atmospheric dynamics and meteorology at regional scale and their interactions with aerosols.

Her PhD research (completed in three years 2005-2008) focused on the interactions between atmospheric dynamics and dust aerosols and unveiled new and important aspects of dust emission and transport at regional scale. The combination of high-quality observations from space and aircraft with high-resolution model simulations including dust is a new and innovative field of research that was key for her discoveries. Her doctoral thesis represents a beautiful merging of observations and modelling work, exposing the roles of dry cyclones, low-level nocturnal jets, and cold outflows from moist convection, in moving dust off the Earth's surface and into the atmosphere.

Dust-dynamics Interactions Research

Diana's work on dust-dynamics interactions has made a considerable contribution to quantify aerosol processes and improve representation in climate models. Specifically she identified two previously unknown mechanisms of dust emission, which occur during the key summer dust season over West Africa. First, turbulence along the leading edge of the nocturnal monsoon front at the Inter-tropical discontinuity (ITD). Second, dry cyclogenesis associated with wind shear at the ITD/Harmattan boundary.

Using model simulations Diana diagnosed the dynamics of these phenomena and quantified the dust emission, transport processes and radiative impact. Diana also organised the first ever evaluation and inter-comparison of multiple climate-aerosol models over the Sahara. As a direct result of her research, we now have a clear perspective on the range and relative importance of the atmospheric phenomena leading to dust emission events. Her work has led to a clear understanding of the requirements of climate models for accurate simulation of meso-scale dust events. This has implications for prediction at timescales from weather forecasts to climate projections. The significance of these findings is reflected in her publication record.

Diana has a rich experience with meteorological modelling over a wide range of regimes and scales. More recently, she has been exploring global earth system models from the standpoint of European efforts in both the geoengineering area and in the monitoring of air pollution.

At the Center for Sea Level Change, she is actively involved in the development of a regional coupled Ocean-Atmosphere-Sea Ice-Ice Sheets model system exclusively for Polar Regions in which Diana is responsible for the atmospheric component and its coupling with the other components.

To consolidate this effort, she will engage in studies on atmospheric dynamics and meteorology in Polar Regions using the regional model Polar WRF together with available observations and analyses.