Career News

ERC Starting Grant for Corinna Hoose

1,5 Millionen Euros for cloud physicist

21. 9. 2016 | With this grant, Prof. Corinna Hoose will continue to study the composition of clouds for the next five years at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Her research is relevant for weather as well as climate models.
Clouds are crucial to weather and climate: The height and the composition of clouds determine whether they shield the Earth from solar radiation and have a cooling effect, or whether they contribute to warming. Investigation of the thermodynamic cloud phase (Do clouds consist of liquid water, ice, or both?) is Prof. Hoose's research focus at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. By combining simulations of cloud formation with satellite observations, she's trying to enhance process understanding and cloud predictability.

Prof. Corinna Hoose
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Prof. Corinna Hoose
Cloud formation starts with aerosols, the smallest particles that act as condensation nuclei on which water droplets can form. Corinna Hoose is particularly interested in mixed-phase clouds. Here, liquid water and ice exist simultanously and next to each other, with aerosols acting as ice nuclei. Mixed-phase clouds are supposed to trigger most of the precipitation. "Ice formation in mixed-phase clouds depends on a large variety of microphysical factors and processes. In principle, it may occur between 0 and -37°C," says the scientist, who heads the Clouds Physics Group at KIT. Her project 'Closure of the Cloud Phase – C2Phase' is aimed at better understanding and predicting these processes.

Cloud development and cloud properties are influenced largely by whether the cloud consists of ice particles, liquid water droplets, or both. Ice formation may affect the albedo of the cloud and, hence, global warming. Clouds with liquid water droplets reflect solar irradiation more strongly. "As soon as the first ice has formed, ice formation proceeds rapidly, such that clouds are either predominantly liquid or predominantly consist of ice. This distribution of the cloud phase cannot yet be simulated adequately by weather and climate models," Hoose explains. In 'C2Phase' she therefore plans to combine new high-resolution models with satellite observations.

Her studies will focus on the spatial, temporal, and temperature-dependent distribution of the cloud phase. "We want to show that the process of ice formation is understood and described well by numerical models. On this basis, it is possible to predict the distribution of the cloud phase under different conditions that can be observed from space." Corinna Hoose and her team also plan to study how this improved forecast can be used in weather and climate models. Research will focus on Europe, as here high-quality data measured by the SEVIRI satellite instrument are available and various mixed-phase clouds occur over all seasons.

About Corinna Hoose: From 1999 to 2004, she studied physics at the Universität Karlsruhe (TH), today's KIT. Together with her diploma in physics, she also received the French degree 'Maîtrise de Physique', both with excellent grades. For her achievements in the exchange program between Karlsruhe and Grenoble, she was granted the German-French University Prize in 2003. Between 2005 and 2008, Hoose studied for her doctorate at ETH Zurich, the subject being 'Aerosol Processing and Its Effect on Mixed-phase Clouds in a Global Climate Model'. She was granted the medal of ETH Zurich for her doctoral thesis. Next, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Oslo. In 2010, Corinna Hoose returned to KIT and has been heading the Helmholtz Young Investigators Group 'Aerosol effects on cloud ice, precipitation, and climate' since. In 2013, the 36-year-old physicist was appointed Professor for Theoretical Meteorology at KIT.
  (© Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT, AcademiaNet)

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