GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Paul Ginoux

Paul Ginoux

Physical Scientist

Atmospheric Physics, Chemistry  and Climate Group

Phone: (609) 987-5071

Fax: (609) 987-5065






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

After spending a few years, implementing and evaluating aerosols into the GFDL GCM [Ginoux et al., 2006; Donner et al., 2011], I am particularly interested in comparing the model results with observations [Li et al., 2008; Magi et al., 2009; Ganguly et al., 2009a, 2009b]. Generally, discrepancies between them are quite informative and generate new ideas [Ganguly et al., 2009b]. Among the different aerosol types, dust is of particular interest because of its properties. Due the chemical, physical and optical properties, dust particles interact with solar and terrestrial radiation [Ginoux et al., 2001; Weaver et al., 2002, 2003; Ginoux et al., 2004; Li et al., 2008], clouds [Ming et al., 2007; Salzman et al., 2010], ocean biogeochemistry [Gregg et al., 2003a, 2003b; Erickson et al., 2003] , ozone photochemistry [Martin et al., 2002; Martin et al., 2003], and vegetation (provides nutrients). Dust plumes can be transported over very long distances [Grousset et al., 2003; Kaufman et al., 2005], and models are the best tools to study them. 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].  I have also been working on dust during past climates, in particular during the Last Glacial Maximum [Li et al., 2010b], after analyzing the origin of dust in ice cores [Li et al., 2008, 2010a]. In term of 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 (CM4), 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

  • We examine the climate response in West Africa and the tropical Atlantic to an idealized aerosol radiative forcing from Saharan-born mineral dust, comparable to the observed changes between the 1960s and 1990s, using simulations with the fully coupled GFDL Climate Model 2.1 (CM2.1) for two optical property regimes: more absorbing (ABS) and more scattering (SCT) dust. Our results show that Saharan dust causes strong decreases in North Atlantic hurricane activity as well as significant changes in the far-field (Strong et al., 2015)
  • We update and evaluate the treatment of nitrate aerosols in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) atmospheric model (AM3). Globally, uncertainties in these processes can impact the simulated nitrate optical depth by up to 25 %, much more than the impact of uncertainties in the seasonality of ammonia emissions (6 %) or in the uptake of nitric acid on dust (13 %). Our best estimate for present-day fine nitrate optical depth at 550 nm is 0.006 (0.005?0.008). We only find a modest increase of nitrate optical depth (< 30 %) in response to the projected changes in the emissions of SO2 (-40 %) and ammonia (+38 %) from 2010 to 2050. Nitrate burden is projected to increase in the tropics and in the free troposphere, but to decrease at the surface in the midlatitudes because of lower nitric acid concentrations. Our results suggest that better constraints on the heterogeneous chemistry of nitric acid on dust, on tropical ammonia emissions, and on the transport of ammonia to the free troposphere are needed to improve projections of aerosol optical depth. (Paulot et al., 2015)

Research Activities

  • Study the aerosols direct and indirect effects on climate using GFDL climate model and observations.
  • Model development at GFDL: implementation of on-line aerosols in the GFDL Atmospheric Model (AM3), and its evaluation by comparing aerosol properties with ground-based and satellite data.
  • Inventory of Dust sources: development of global inventory of dust sources using satellite data. Participation to GEIA-ACCENT .
  • Intercomparison of Aerosol Models: Participation to AEROCOM


  • 2014 Highly Cited Researcher (Thomson Reuters)
  • 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

  • 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