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Dr Anja Schmidt

Environmental and climatic effects of volcanic gases and aerosols

I am an Interdisciplinary Lecturer in Climate Modelling jointly affiliated with the Departments of Chemistry and Geography. I combine expertise in atmospheric science, climate modelling, and volcanology to advance the current understanding of volcanic impacts and hazards. In particular, I investigate the impact of volcanism on atmospheric chemistry, climate, air quality, human health, ecosystems and aviation using a wide range of atmospheric models and volcanological datasets. I am particularly interested in continuously degassing volcanoes and effusive Icelandic volcanic eruptions and their effects on air quality and climate. I am convinced that these eruptions serve as a perfect natural lab and can help better understand and quantify aerosol-cloud interactions.


I have extensively studied the most recent Icelandic eruption at Holuhraun (Bárðarbunga volcano). Starting in August 2014, Holuhraun erupted effusively for 6 months and emitted up to nine times as much sulphur dioxide per day as all European industry combined, which led to a measureable episodic degradation of air quality across Northern Europe in September 2014 (see Schmidt et al., 2015). Combining satellite observations with numerical modelling, we were also able to demonstrate that the eruption had a discernable effect on the brightness of low-level clouds over the North Atlantic (Gettelman et al., 2015; Malavelle et al., 2017).

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