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Paul Ginoux

My research involves the development and application of aerosols modeling to better understand their direct and indirect effects on climate.

Beyond implementing and evaluating aerosols into the GFDL Coupled Climate Models [Ginoux et al., 2006; Donner et al., 2011; Zhao et al., 2018a, 2018b], my research is focusing on understanding the physical processes affecting aerosol life cycle, the interactions of aerosol with the Earth’s system components, and possible feedbacks.

Comparisons of model results with ground- or satellite-based observations is at the core of my research. Discrepancies in the model results are often quite informative, and generate new directions in research [Ginoux et al., 2001; Weaver et al., 2002; Li et al., 2008; Magi et al., 2009; Ganguly et al., 2009a, 2009b]. Satellite observations are also crucial to provide information which are difficult to obtain from in-situ data. A typical example is dust sources, which are mostly located in arid or hyper arid regions with very spares data. Using satellite data, a 0.1×0.1 degree resolution inventory of dust sources has been developed using MODIS Deep Blue aerosol products [Ginoux et al., 2010; Draxler et al., 2010;Ginoux et al., 2012a], which provide better spatial resolution and more quantitative properties than the TOMS Aerosol Index used 10 years ago to develop global dust sources inventory [Ginoux et al., 2001], and their characterization [Prospero et al., 2002].

Among the different aerosol types, I am particularly interested in dust because it is the one with the most diverse impacts on the Earth’s system. Dust is also affecting health and visibility, but some impacts are helpful for air quality: heterogeneous reactions of acids on dust decrease the amount of fine mode pollutants [Paulot et al., 2016]; ozone photochemistry [Martin et al., 2002; Martin et al., 2003], ocean fertilization with iron by dust deposition dust [Gregg et al., 2003a, 2003bErickson et al., 2003], reduce the number and intensity of tropical cyclones[Strong et al., 2015 , 2018].

One of the most important impact of dust on climate is through its interactions with solar and terrestrial radiation [Ginoux et al., 2001Weaver et al., 2002, 2003Ginoux et al., 2004; Li et al., 2008, Ginoux, 2017]. Also dust is an important source of ice condensation, affecting cloud properties [Ming et al., 2007; Salzman et al., 2010].

Dust plumes can be transported over very long distances [Grousset et al., 2003; Kaufman et al., 2005]. During their transport, they cool down the surface by absorbing and scattering solar radiation, and heat the troposphere by absorbing solar and terrestrial longwave radiation. By modifying thermal profile, dust affects atmospheric dynamics and the hydrological cycle [Evans et al., 2016], which will weaken hurricane genesis [Strong et al., 2018]. Ice core data in Antartica and Greenland show a very large variability of dust with climate. During the Last Glacial Maximum (~20,000 BP) dust was 10 to 50 times more abundant. Understanding the reasons of such huge variability is the subject of intense research. After analyzing the origin of dust in Antarctica [Li et al., 2008], and the synoptic conditions controlling its variability [Li et al., 2010a], we tested the different hypotheses of dust increase during cold climate [Li et al., 2010b].

In term of new model development, dust emission in the dynamic land model as well as a fast aerosol scheme have been implemented in GFDL Coupled Models version 4 [Zhao et al., 2018a, 2018b] and Earth System Model version 4 (ESM4), which will be used for IPCC AR6.

The first global detection and attribution of anthropogenic dust sources using MODIS satellite data indicates that 25% of dust emission is from anthropogenic sources. Interestingly, these anthropogenic sources are often located in monsoon area nearby ephemeral lakes or rivers, which makes them sensitive to changes in the hydrological cycle (Ginoux et al., 2012a)

The collocation of MODIS dust burden and IASI NH3 shows remarkable similarity in their sources, which is indicative of their mixing. Indeed, we found that 22% of dust burden is collocated with NH3. These results imply that a significant amount of dust is already mixed with ammonium salts before its long range transport. This in turn will affect dust lifetime, and its interactions with radiation and cloud properties (Ginoux et al., 2012b)

Recent results

  • Quantifying the range of the dust direct radiative effect due to source mineralogy uncertainty [Li et al., 2021]
  • Increased risk of the 2019 Alaskan July fires due to anthropogenic activity [Yu et al., 2021]
  • Assessing the influence of COVID‐19 on the shortwave radiative fluxes over the east asian marginal seas [Ming et al., 2021]
  • AeroCom phase III multi-model evaluation of the aerosol life cycle and optical properties using ground- and space-based remote sensing as well as surface in situ observations [Gliß et al., 2021]
  • Evaluation of climate model aerosol trends with ground-based observations over the last 2 decades – an AeroCom and CMIP6 analysis [Mortier et al., 2020]
  • First satellite based global distribution of velocity threshold of dust emission [Pu, Ginoux et al., 2020]
  • Linear relation between shifting ITCZ and dust hemispheric asymmetry. [Evans et al., 2020]
  • Dust radiative effect on vegetation growth in the Sahel [Evans et al., 2020]

Research Activities


  • 2018: NOAA OAR Outstanding Paper Award: Zhao, M., et al. (2016). Uncertainty in model climate sensitivity traced to representations of cumulus precipitation microphysics. J. Climate, DOI:10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0191.
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Highly Cited Researcher (Clarivate Analytics)
  • 2014 AGU Editors’ citations for excellence in refereeing
  • 2013 AGU Atmospheric Sciences Ascent award for sustained pioneering work on aerosols.
  • 2012 US Department of Commerce Gold medal for Meritorious Federal Service
  • 2007 DOI and NASA William T. Pecora award: shared as a member of TOMS Science team.
  • 2005 US Department of Commerce Silver medal for Meritorious Federal Service
  • 2005 NASA GSFC Journal citation award for Ginoux et al., J. Geophys. Res. 2001
  • 2004 ESI Thompson citation for Fast Moving Front in Geosciences

Service to profession

  • Organization of the 8th International AeroCom workshop at GFDL, October 5-7, 2009
  • Review manuscripts submitted for publication in peer reviewed journals
  • Lab reviews: LISA (Paris, France, 2014), LOA (Lille, France,
  • Review proposals submitted for funding for DOE, NASA, NOAA, NSF, Bi-National (Israel-US) Science
    Foundation, National Research council of Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, and Taiwan.

Teaching Activities

  • Spring 2016: Guest lecturer for EESC G9910 Columbia University (LDEO, Palisades, NY)
  • Fall 2011 CEE593-AOS593: Aerosol Observations & Modeling. The course covers the different theoretical aspects of aerosol modeling and observations for a specific case study (Siberian fires of July 2006).
  • Spring 2009-2010 CEE 599B Special topics: Aerosol modeling and observation. The course is presenting aerosol properties (physical, chemical and optical) before describing in details the method of measurements (ground-based and satellite) and modeling (global and regional). Course details.
  • Spring 2007-2008 AOS 580 Special topics: Aerosol, Cloud and Climate Change . The course is articulate around our present understanding of the effects of aerosols on climate which is synthesized in IPCC-IV Chapter 2 . The prerequisite is essentially to be senior or higher and a willingness to learn science.
  • 2005-2007: Lectures on Aerosol Modeling and Observations within AOS-527 class on Atmospheric Radiative Transfer


  • List of publications with abstract and full text in pdf format: click here

Curriculum Vitae

Links to aerosol datasets

  • List of ground-based and satellite web sites providing chemical and optical properties of aerosol in different parts of the world: click here


Natural, anthropogenic and hydrologic dust sources

Dust sources detected from MODIS (Aqua) Deep Blue Level 2 aerosol products are attributed natural (yellow shading), anthropogenic (magenta shading) or hydrologic (blue shading) origin if at least 30% land use (anthropogenic) or 10% ephemeral water bodies (hydrologic) are present

Units % FoO Dust Optical Depth>0.2
Resolution 0.1×0.1 degree (~10km)
Format kmz (zip kml file, no need to unzip just open with Google Earth)
Files AustraliaNorth AfricaSouth AfricaMiddle East, Central-South Asia, East Asia, North America, South America
Reference Ginoux et al. (2010)Ginoux et al. (2012)

Dust source inventory

Fractional area of grid cell with erodible dust

Units none
Representation cartesian latitude-longitude grid
Resolution 1×1 or 0.25×0.25
Format netcdf
Reference Ginoux et al. (2001)

Velocity threshold of dust emission

Units m/s
Representation cartesian latitude-longitude grid
Spatial Resolution 0.5×0.5 degree
Temporal Resolution (DOD>0.2) Annual, Monthly
Temporal Resolution (DOD>0.5) Annual, Monthly
Format netcdf
Reference Pu et al., 2020