Diana Francis

Research Scientist Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: PhD Sorbonne Universités

Diana is an atmospheric scientist with two master's degrees in Physics and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from Sorbonne Universités – Paris, France, with a focus on atmospheric dynamics and meteorology at a 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 the 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 modeling 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.

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 organized the first ever evaluation and inter-comparison of multiple climate-aerosol models over the Sahara. Her work has led to a clear understanding of the requirements of climate models for accurate simulation of mesoscale dust events.

Diana has a rich experience with meteorological modeling 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.

The significance of these findings is reflected in her publication record.

At NYU Abu Dhabi, she investigates atmospheric dynamics and meteorology in Polar areas and their role in the changes of ice conditions at both Poles. To this end, she uses regional models together with available observations and reanalyses.