Professor Aiko Voigt (University of Vienna)

‘Clouds, Climate and Weather’

Speaker: Professor Aiko Voigt

Title: ‘Clouds, Climate and Weather’

Abstract: Clouds are fundamental to climate and climate change, and a large body of research has studied the cloud impact on top-of-atmosphere radiative fluxes and hence climate sensitivity. But there is more to clouds than climate sensitivity. In this talk I will focus on how cloud-radiative heating of the atmosphere shapes the midlatitude jet streams and storm tracks and their response to surface warming. I will in particular highlight the role of high-level ice clouds in shifting the jet streams poleward and in supporting regional circulation changes such as the downstream extension of the wintertime North Atlantic jet. I will further argue that the impact of atmospheric cloud-radiative heating is not limited to climate time scales. To this end I will present ongoing work that indicates competing effects of low-level and high-level cloud-radiative heating on the dynamics of idealized midlatitude cyclones.

Bio: Aiko entered climate research in 2007 after having studied physics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and after the decision not to become a string physicist. During his PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, he studied the climate dynamics of a Snowball Earth. He then increasingly focused on how clouds couple to the planetary-scale circulation of the atmosphere, and the implications of this coupling for regional climates. After postdoctoral positions at LMD in Paris and Columbia University in New York, Aiko led an independent young investigator group at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, on clouds and storm tracks. In 2021 he joined the University of Vienna as a full professor for climate science.