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Anja Schmidt

Anja Schmidt

Interdisciplinary Lecturer

I am an Interdisciplinary Lecturer in Climate Modelling jointly affiliated with the Departments of Chemistry and Geography at the University of Cambridge. I combine expertise in atmospheric modelling and volcanology to advance the current understanding of volcanic impacts and hazards. My research, teaching and group are highly inter-disciplinary and our main objective is to quantify the impacts of volcanism on climate, atmospheric chemistry, and aviation in close collaboration with industry partners and policy-makers such as Met Office and Rolls-Royce in the UK.


Career and qualifications

  • Apprenticeship as IT Systems Engineer, 1999-2002 (Siemens AG, Germany).
  • IT Systems Engineer, 2002 (Siemens AG, Leipzig, Germany).
  • Diplom (MSc equivalent) in Geology & Palaeontology, 2002-07, 1st class, (Univ. of Leipzig).
  • Erasmus exchange student, 2005-06 (University of Leeds).
  • Ph.D, Oct 2007 to Mar 2011 (University of Leeds, "Modelling tropospheric volcanic aerosol: from aerosol microphysical processes to Earth system impacts").
  • Post-doctoral Researcher, 2011-13 (University of Leeds).
  • Academic Research Fellow, 2013-2017 (University of Leeds, 5-year tenure-track fellowship "Volcanic impacts: from vent to policy").
  • Interdisciplinary Lecturer, since Sep 2017 (University of Cambridge).
  • Maternity Leave, Apr-Oct 2018.

Awards and prizes

  • 2019: UCAR Outstanding Publication Award (UCAR)
  • 2018: Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists (EGU)
  • 2016: William Smith Fund (Geological Society London, UK)
  • 2016: Women of Achievement (University of Leeds)
  • 2016: Teaching Star Award (School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds)
  • 2015: IAVCEI George Walker Award for Volcanology
  • 2012: Springer Outstanding Thesis Prize (Springer Theses, ISBN 978-3-642-34839-6)
  • 2011: Research Student Publication Prize (University of Leeds)
  • 2010: 3rd place Postgraduate Researcher of the Year (University of Leeds)


Google Scholar Profile

I combine expertise in atmospheric science 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 also apply my atmospheric chemistry and aerosol modelling skills to non-volcanic topics in atmospheric and climate sciences.

Research interests

My research interests are:

  • Tropospheric and stratospheric volcanic aerosol
  • Icelandic volcanic eruptions
  • Sulfur emissions from continuously degassing volcanoes
  • Aerosol microphysical processes and radiative forcing of climate
  • Palaeo-volcanism and mass extinctions
  • Palaeo-climate: aerosol-chemistry-biosphere interactions

Current research group

  1. Lauren Marshall (Post-doc on Vol-Clim project)
  2. Hans de Leeuw (Post-doc on V-PLUS project)
  3. Thomas Aubry (Research Fellow/Post-doc working on climate-volcano interactions)
  4. Elena Maters (Research Fellow/Post-doc working on volcanic ash interactions with sulfur species)
  5. Lauren Davies (Research Fellow/Post-doc working on volcanic ash dispersion modelling and cryptotephra deposits)
  6. Vichawan "Print" Sakulsupich (PhD student, main supervisor), Aviation hazards from volcanic and anthropogenic sulfur species, (Jan 2020-)
  7. John Staunton Sykes (PhD student, co-supervisor), Climate effects of volcanic halogen emissions, (Oct 2018-)
  8. Rachel Whitty (PhD student, co-supervisor), Tracking and measuring volcanic plumes using drones, NERC DTP Leeds CASE, (Oct 2017-)
  9. Sarah Shallcross (PhD student, co-supervisor), Combining composition-climate models with space-borne, ground-based and in situ measurements to estimate the climate forcing from major historical volcanic eruptions, ECMWF - CAMS43 funded, (Apr 2016-)
  10. Claire Cooper (PhD student, co-supervisor, cross-departmental with Geography), Volcano-climate interactions in the Holocene, URL Leeds, (Oct 2016-)
  11. Regular supervision of several UG and MRes students since 2017

Past and current research projects

  • Co-I (Leeds PI) Effusive Icelandic Eruptions project (01/11/2013 - 01/05/2014, Cabinet Office, Department for Transport)
  • Co-I (Leeds PI) The source and longevity of sulphur in an Icelandic flood basalt eruption plume, (01/12/2014 - 30/11/2015; NE/M021130/1, NERC Urgency Grant)
  • PI NCAR visiting researcher grants (since 2014)
  • Co-I (Cambridge PI) SMURPHS, Securing Multidisciplinary Understanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge Events (01/12/2015 - 30/11/2019, NERC)
  • PI Characterising volcanic emissions from Kilauea volcano, Hawaii (2017-2018, Royal Society Research Grant)
  • Co-I (Cambridge PI) A-Cure, The Aerosol-Climate Uncertainty Reduction Project (01/10/2017 - 01/10/2020, NERC standard grant)
  • PI Vol-Clim, Reconciling Volcanic Forcing and Climate Records throughout the Last Millennium (2018-2021, NERC standard grant, £750k in total)
  • PI V-PLUS, Volcanic plume understanding and forecasting: Integrating remote-sensing, in-situ observations and models (2019-2023, NERC Highlight Topic Grant, £1.85M in total)


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