skip to primary navigation skip to content

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 science, climate modelling, and volcanology to advance the current understanding of volcanic impacts and hazards.


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).

Awards and prizes

  • Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists, 2018, European Geophysical Union
  • William Smith Fund, 2016, Geological Society London, UK
  • Women of Achievement, 2016, Univ. of Leeds
  • George Walker Award for Volcanology, 2015, International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior
  • Springer Outstanding Theses Prize, 2012/2013, Springer Theses (ISBN 978-3-642-34839-6)
  • Research Student Publication Prize, 2011, Univ. of Leeds
  • 3rd place Postgraduate Researcher of the Year, 2010, Univ. 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

  • Lauren Marshall (PhD student, primary supervisor), Eruption source parameter controls on the climatic impact of volcanic eruptions, NERC DTP Leeds, (Oct 2014-)
  • 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-)
  • Claire Cooper (PhD student, co-supervisor, cross-departmental with Geography), Volcano-climate interactions in the Holocene, URL Leeds, (Oct 2016-)
  • Rachel Whitty (PhD student, co-supervisor), Tracking and measuring volcanic plumes using drones, NERC DTP Leeds CASE, (Oct 2017-)

Past and current research projects

  • Co-I (Leeds PI) Effusive Icelandic Eruptions project (01/11/2013 - 01/05/2014, Cabinet Office, DfT)
  • 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)


* denotes PhD student under my supervision or co-supervision

Under review

  • *Marshall, L., Schmidt, A. et al., Multi-model comparison of the volcanic sulfate deposition from the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., (under review)
  • Lurton et al. (including Schmidt, A.), Model simulations of the chemical and aerosol microphysical evolution of the Sarychev Peak 2009 eruption cloud compared to in-situ and satellite observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., (under review)
  • McCoy, D.,Field, P.R., Schmidt, A. et al., The aerosol-cyclone indirect effect in observations and high-resolution simulations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., (under review)

In press

  • Swindles, G.T, Watson, E..J., Savov, I.P., Lawson, I.T., Schmidt, A., Hooper, A., Cooper, C.L, Connor, C.B., Gloor, M., and Carrivick, J.L., Climatic control on Icelandic volcanic activity during the Holocene. (in press in Geology)
  • *Cooper, C.L., Swindles, G.T., Savov, I.P., Schmidt, A. , and Bacon, K.L., Evaluating the relationship between climate change and volcanism. (in press)


  • Mills et al. (including Schmidt, A.), Radiative and chemical response to interactive stratospheric sulfate aerosols in fully coupled CESM1(WACCM). Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 122,
  • Stone, K., Solomon, S., Kinnison, D., Pitts, M.C., Poole, L.R., Mills, M.J., Schmidt, A., Neely III, R.R., Ivy, D., Schwartz, M.J., Johnson, B.J., Tully, M.B., Klekociuk, A.R., Sasaki, T., and Koenig-Langlo, G., Observing the impact of Calbuco volcanic aerosols on South Polar ozone depletion in 2015. Journal Geophysical Research Atmospheres, 122, 862-879,
  • Malavelle, F. et al. (including Schmidt, A.), Strong constraints on aerosol-cloud interactions from volcanic eruptions, Nature, 546, pp.485-491. doi:10.1038/nature22974.
  • Ilyinskaya, E., Schmidt, A., Mather, T.A., Pope, F.D., Witham, C., Baxter, P.J., Johansson, T., Barsotti, S., Pfeffer, M., Singh, A., Sanderson, P., Bergsson, B., McCormick Kilbride, B., Donovan, A., Peters, N.J., Oppenheimer, C., and Edmonds, M. (2017): Understanding the environmental impacts of large fissure eruptions: Aerosol and gas emissions from the 2014-2015 Holuhraun eruption (Iceland), Earth and Planetary Science Letters,
  • Ivy, D., Solomon, S., Kinnison, D., Mills, M.J., Schmidt, A., and Neely, R.R., The influence of the Calbuco eruption on the 2015 Antarctic ozone hole in a fully coupled chemistry-climate model. Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 2556-2561, doi:10.1002/2016GL071925.
  • Glaze, L. S., Self, S., Schmidt, A., and Hunter, S.J. (2017): Assessing eruption column height in ancient flood basalt eruptions. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. (download)


  • Solomon, S., Kinnison, D., Garcia, R.R., Bandoro, J., Mills, M.J., Wilka, C., Neely, R.R., Schmidt, A., Barnes, J., Vernier, J.-P., and Höpfner, M. (2016): Monsoon circulations and tropical heterogeneous chlorine chemistry in the stratosphere, Geophysical Research Letters, 43, pp.12624-12633, doi:10.1002/2016GL071778.
  • Pope, R.J., Butt, E.W., Chipperfield, M.P., Doherty, R.M., Fenech, S., Schmidt, A., Arnold, S.R., and Savage, N.H. (2016): The impact of synoptic weather on UK surface ozone and implications for premature mortality, Environ. Res. Lett., 11, 124004,
  • Vignelles, D., T.J. Roberts, E. Carboni, E. Ilyinskaya, M. Pfeffer, P. Dagsson-Waldhauserova, A. Schmidt, et al. (2016): Balloon-borne measurement of the aerosol size distribution from an Icelandic flood basalt eruption. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 453, pp.252-259. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.08.027
  • Solomon, S., D.I. Ivy, D. Kinnison, M.J. Mills, R.R. Neely, and A. Schmidt (2016): Emergence of Healing in the Antarctic Ozone Layer, Science, DOI:10.1126/science.aae0061.
  • Zanchettin, D., M. Khodri, C. Timmreck, M. Toohey, A. Schmidt, E. P. Gerber, G. Hegerl, A. Robock, F. S. Pausata, W. T. Ball, S. E. Bauer, S. Bekki, S. S. Dhomse, A. N. LeGrande, G. W. Mann, L. Marshall, M. Mills, M. Marchand, U. Niemeier, V. Paulain, A. Rubino, A. Stenke, K. Tsigaridis and F. Tummon (2016). The Model Intercomparison Project on the climatic response to Volcanic forcing (VolMIP): Experimental design and forcing input data, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., 1-33. (download)
  • M.J. Mills, A. Schmidt, R. Easter, S. Solomon, D.E. Kinnison, S.J. Ghan, R.R. Neely III, D.R. Marsh, A. Conley, C.G. Bardeen, and A. Gettelman (2016): Global volcanic aerosol properties derived from emissions, 1990-2014, using CESM1(WACCM), J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 121, doi:10.1002/2015JD024290. (download)
  • Zanchettin, D., Timmreck, C., Khodri, M., Robock, A., Rubino, A., Schmidt, A., and Toohey, M., A coordinated modeling assessment of the climate response to volcanic forcing, PAGES. (not peer-reviewed)
  • G. Mann, S. Dhomse, T. Deshler, C. Timmreck, A. Schmidt, R. Neely, L. Thomason, Global particle size evolution key to improved volcanic forcings, PAGES. (not peer-reviewed)
  • Butt, E. W., Rap, A., Schmidt, A., Scott, C. E., Pringle, K. J., Reddington, C. L., Richards, N. A. D., Woodhouse, M. T., Ramirez-Villegas, J., Yang, H., Vakkari, V., Stone, E. A., Rupakheti, M., S. Praveen, P., G. van Zyl, P., P. Beukes, J., Josipovic, M., Mitchell, E. J. S., Sallu, S. M., Forster, P. M., and Spracklen, D. V.: The impact of residential combustion emissions on atmospheric aerosol, human health, and climate, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 873-905, doi:10.5194/acp-16-873-2016, 2016. (download)
  • Schmidt, A., Skeffington, R., Thordarson, T., Self, S., Forster, P. M., Rap, A., Ridgwell, A., Fowler, D., Wilson, M., Mann, G. W., Wignall, P. B., and K. S. Carslaw (2016), Selective environmental stress from sulphur emitted by continental flood basalt eruptions. Nature Geoscience , doi:10.1038/ngeo2588


  • Schmidt, A., et al. (2015), Satellite detection, long-range transport, and air quality impacts of volcanic sulfur dioxide from the 2014â€"2015 flood lava eruption at Bárðarbunga (Iceland). J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 120, doi:10.1002/2015JD023638. (download, open access)
  • Gettelman, A., Schmidt, A., and Kristjánsson, J. E. (2015): Icelandic volcanic emissions and climate. Nature Geoscience, (download)
  • Schmidt, A. (2015): Volcanic gas and aerosol hazards from a future Laki-type eruption in Iceland. In: Elsevier Volume #2 of the Hazards, Disaster & Risks Series: Volcanoes. (download)
  • Schmidt, A., Fristad, K., and Elkins-Tanton, L.T. (Eds): Volcanism and Global Environmental Change, Cambridge University Press (2015).
  • Self, S., Glaze, L., Schmidt, A., Mather, T. A. (2015), Gas release from flood basalt eruptions: understanding the potential environmental effects. In: Schmidt A; Fristad K; Elkins-Tanton LT (Ed) Volcanism and Global Environmental Change, Cambridge University Press, ISBN-13 978-1107058378.
  • Schmidt, A. and Robock, A. (2015), Volcanism, the atmosphere, and climate through time. In: Schmidt A; Fristad K; Elkins-Tanton LT (Ed) Volcanism and Global Environmental Change, Cambridge University Press, ISBN-13 978-1107058378. (download chapter)


  • Schmidt, A., Witham, C.S., Theys, N., Richards, N.A.D., Thordarson, T., Szpek, K., Feng, W., Hort, M.C., Woolley, A.M., Jones, A.R., Redington, A.L., Johnson, B.T., Hayward, C.L., and Carslaw, K.S., Assessing hazards to aviation from sulfur dioxide emitted by explosive Icelandic eruptions (2014): J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 119, doi:10.1002/2014JD022070. (download, open access)
  • Ridley, D., S. Solomon, J. E. Barnes, V.D. Burlakov, T. Deshler, S.I. Dolgii, A.B. Herber, T. Nagai, R. R. Neely III, A.V. Nevzorov, C. Ritter, T. Sakai, B. D. Santer, M. Sato, A. Schmidt, O.Uchino, J. P. Vernier, Uncertainties in recent volcanic aerosol optical depths and implications for global climate change (2014): Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, doi:10.1002/2014GL061541.
  • Self, S., Schmidt, A., and Mather, T.A. (2014): Emplacement characteristics, timescales, and gas release rates of continental flood basalt eruptions on Earth. In Keller, G., and Kerr, A.C., eds., Volcanism, Impacts, and Mass Extinctions: Causes and Effects: Geological Society of America Special Paper 505, p. 319-337, doi:10.1130/2014.2505(16) (download, open access).
  • Schmidt, A., Thordarson, T., Oman, L.D., Robock, A., Self, S. (2014): Reply to comment by Cole-Dai et al. on 'Climatic impact of the long-lasting Laki eruption: Inapplicability of mass-independent sulfur isotope composition measurements', J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., pp.2013JD021440. doi:10.1002/2013JD021440


  • Partanen, A., Laakso, A., Schmidt, A., Kokkola, H., Kuokkanen, T., Pietikäinen, J., Kerminen, V., Lehtinen, K., Laakso, L., and Korhonen, H. (2013): Climate and air quality trade-offs in altering ship fuel sulfur content., Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 12059-12071, doi:10.5194/acp-13-12059-2013 (download, open access)
  • Loughlin, S. C., Aspinall, W. P. A., Vye?Brown, C., Baxter, P. J., Braban, C., Hort, M., Schmidt, A., Thordarson, T., Witham, C. (2013): Large?magnitude fissure eruptions in Iceland: source characterisation. BGS Open File Report, OR/12/098. (not peer-reviewed)
  • Browse, J., Carslaw, K.S., Schmidt, A., Corbett, J.J. (2013): Impact of future Arctic shipping on high-latitude black carbon deposition, Geophysical Research Letters, 40(13), doi:10.1002/grl.50876.
  • Rap, A., Scott, C.E., Spracklen, D.V., Bellouin, N., Forster, P.M., Carslaw, K.S., Schmidt, A., and Mann, G.W. (2013): Natural aerosol direct and indirect radiative effects, Geophysical Research Letters, 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50441.
  • Schmidt, A. (2013): Modelling tropospheric volcanic aerosol: from aerosol microphysical processes to Earth system impacts, Springer Theses, XV, 1 45 p., ISBN 978-3-642-34839-6.


  • Schmidt, A., Thordarson, T., Oman, L.D., Robock, A., Self, S. (2012): Climatic impact of the long-lasting 1783 Laki eruption: Inapplicability of mass-independent sulfur isotopic composition measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 117, D23116, doi:10.1029/2012JD018414 (download a copy).
  • Schmidt, A., Carslaw, K. S., Mann, G. W., Rap, A., Pringle, K. J., Spracklen, D. V., Wilson, M., and Forster, P. M. (2012): Importance of tropospheric volcanic aerosol for indirect radiative forcing of climate, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 12, 7321-7339, doi:10.5194/acp-12-7321-2012 (download, open access).
  • Mann, G.W., Carslaw, K.S., Ridley, D.A., Spracklen, D.V., Pringle, K.J., Merikanto, J., Korhonen, H., Schwarz, J. P., Lee, L. A., Manktelow, P.T., Woodhouse, M.T., Schmidt, A., Breider, T.J., Emmerson, K.M., Chipperfield, M.P., and Pickering, S.J. (2012): Intercomparison of modal and sectional aerosol microphysics representations within the same 3D global chemical transport model. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 4449-44766, doi:10.5194/acp-12-4449-2012 (download, open access).


  • Schmidt, A., Ostro, B., Carslaw, K.S., Wilson, M., Thordarson, T., Mann, G.W. and Simmons, A. (2011): Excess mortality in Europe following a future Laki-style Icelandic eruption, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 38, 15710-15715. (download a copy, open access)


  • Schmidt, A., Carslaw, K.S., Mann, G.W., Wilson, M., Breider, T.J., Pickering, S.J., and Thordarson, T. (2010): The impact of the 1783-1784 AD Laki eruption on global aerosol formation processes and cloud condensation nuclei, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 6025-6041, doi:10.5194/acp-10-6025-2010 (download, open access).
  • Chiodini, G., Caliro, S., Cardellini, C., Avino, R., Granieri, D., and Schmidt, A. (2008): Carbon isotopic composition of soil CO2 efflux, a powerful method to discriminate different sources feeding soil CO2 degassing in volcanic-hydrothermal areas. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 274, Issues 3-4, Pages 372-379.