Erin Raif

Erin Raif


About me

I am a third-year PhD student in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosol and Ice Nucleation groups in the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science. I am jointly funded by the NERC Panorama DTP and the Met Office, who are the CASE partners for my PhD project.

Before studying at Leeds, I did an undergraduate Master’s degree in physics at the University of Manchester, where I became interested in clouds and climate change. My Master’s project was performed with Prof. Paul Connolly, investigating the phase composition of mixed-phase clouds when using different model microphysics. I previously performed a research project with him and Prof. David Schultz studying Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds, which sparked my interest in atmospheric physics.

Conference Appearances

  • EGU 2024. Talk (materials online)Ice-nucleating particles in springtime cold-air outbreaks associated with Arctic haze
  • CFMIP/GASS Joint Meeting, 2023. Poster: Structurally incomplete climate models? Observational evidence of the need to represent ice nucleation
  • Clouds containing Ice Workshop, 2023. Poster: Ice-nucleating particles in spring-time cold-air outbreaks associated with Arctic Haze
  • Student Conference of the Royal Meteorological Society, 2021. Poster (online)Investigating the phase composition of mixed-phase clouds.


  • 2022-2024: SOEE2210 – Atmosphere and Cloud Dynamics. Demonstrating by leading example classes. Module Leader: Prof. Douglas Parker.
  • 2022-2024: SOEE1302 – Advanced Mathematics 1. Demonstrating by leading example classes. Module Leader: Dr. Alex Rap


Research interests

My PhD project focuses on the role that ice nucleating particles (INPs) play in the impact of clouds on the global climate. INPs are small aerosols that allow the formation of ice in clouds at temperatures warmer than -38°C. INPs come from many sources, including desert dust, sea spray and even biological particles, but their sources and global distribution are not yet fully represented in global climate models. Their presence in increased or decreased quantities alters the ability of clouds to reflect and absorb radiation, which in turn alters the strength and even the sign of cloud-climate feedbacks. These cloud feedbacks are one of the largest uncertainties in projections of warming in a future climate. I am particularly interested in the role INPs play in the development of cold-air outbreak systems. These systems are highly susceptible to the influence of INPs and are likely to be an important contributor to cloud feedbacks. I studied these systems on board the FAAM research aircraft in the 2022 Arctic Cold-Air Outbreak field campaign, and use the Met Office’s Unified Model to study their influence on cold-air outbreaks.


  • MPhys (Hons.) Physics - University of Manchester

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosols