Zhibo Zhang receives $710K grant from NASA

Zhibo Zhang, an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department, and his collaborators received a three-year grant of $710K from NASA’s Sciences of Terra and Aqua program to study the Marine Boundary Layer (MBL) clouds.

The MBL clouds cover about 20% of Earth’s surface. They play a pivotal in Earth’s radiative energy budget. Prof. Zhang’s research will help us understand the horizontal and microphysical structure of MBL clouds and provides guidance for the development of future NASA satellite missions.

As PI, Zhang will lead a group of researchers from UMBC, NASA GISS, and the Univ. of Illinois.

Zhang was also recently selected to receive the NASA New (Early Career) Investigator Program (NIP) awards in Earth Science. The NIP is a highly competitive and prestigious award established by NASA in 1996 to encourage integrated environments for research and education for scientists and engineers at the early stage of their professional careers. This year more than 130 scientists nationwide applied for this program and only 21 were selected.

The NIP will fund Zhang and his graduate student for three years to investigate the climatic effects of above-cloud aerosols (e.g. soot and dust) using data from NASA satellites. When elevated above clouds, aerosols can generate strong warming effect on the climate due to enhanced absorption. Dr. Zhang’s research is aimed to understand the size of this effect and its potential implications to global warming.