School of Earth and Environment

Anja Schmidt Dr Anja Schmidt

Visiting Researcher

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 36429
Email address:
Room: 10.109

Affiliation: Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics, Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science

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Twitter: @volcanofile

I have been an independent Academic Research Fellow (5-year tenure-track fellowship “Volcanic impacts: from vent to policy”) in the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science since February 2013. I combine expertise in atmospheric science and volcanology to advance the current understanding of volcanic impacts and hazards. In particular, I investigate the impact of volcanism on atmospheric chemistry, climate, air quality, human health, ecosystems and aviation using a wide range of atmospheric models and volcanological datasets. I also apply my atmospheric chemistry and aerosol modelling skills to non-volcanic topics in atmospheric and climate sciences. You can learn more about my research here.

Research interests

Volcanic impacts and hazards

  • aerosol-chemistry-climate interactions, aerosol microphysical processes, plume-rise modelling, Icelandic volcanic eruptions, continuously degassing volcanoes, mass extinctions, ecosystem impacts/soil acidification modelling, air quality and human health impacts.

Health and climate effects of emission controls/geoengineering

  • shipping emissions, human health and climate trade-offs from emissions controls/manipulations.

Palaeo-aerosol-climate interactions

  • aerosol-chemistry-biosphere effects on deep time climates, volcanism and mass extinctions.

My PhD (2007-2011) work addressed the impact of tropospheric volcanic aerosol - whether derived from sporadically erupting or continuously degassing volcanoes, or large-scale Icelandic flood lava events - on global aerosol and the radiative forcing of climate. This was achieved by means of a global aerosol microphysics model (GLOMAP-mode). The work highlighted that explicitly simulating microphysical processes is important for determining the size, the number concentration and the lifetime of climate-relevant particles.

Awards and Prizes

2016 William Smith Fund (Geological Society of London, UK)

2016 Women of Achievement Award, University of Leeds

2015 IAVCEI George Walker Award for Volcanology

2012/13 Springer Thesis Publication Prize

2010 3rd prize University of Leeds Postgraduate Researcher of the year competition

2008 1st prize Faculty of Environment Conference Poster Competition


  • Co-I (Leeds PI) Effusive Icelandic Eruptions project (01/11/2013 – 01/05/2014, Cabinet Office, DfT)
  • Co-I (Leeds PI) The source and longevity of sulphur in an Icelandic flood basalt eruption plume, (01/12/2014 – 30/11/2015; NE/M021130/1, NERC Urgency Grant)
  • PI NCAR visiting researcher grants (since 2014)
  • Co-I SMURPHS, Securing Multidisciplinary Understanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge Events (01/12/2015–30/11/2019, NERC)
  • PI Characterising volcanic emissions from Kilauea volcano, Hawaii (2017-2018, Royal Society Research Grant)
  • Co-I A-Cure, The Aerosol-Climate Uncertainty Reduction Project (01/10/2017-01/10/2020, NERC standard grant)

Current Research Group

  • Lauren Marshall (primary), Eruption source parameter controls on the climatic impact of volcanic eruptions, NERC DTP Leeds, (Oct 2014-)
  • Sarah Shallcross (co-supervisor), Combining composition-climate models with space-borne, ground-based and in situ measurements to estimate the climate forcing from major historical volcanic eruptions, ECMWF - CAMS43 funded, (Apr 2016-)
  • Claire Cooper (co-supervisor, cross-departmental with Geography), Volcano-climate interactions in the Holocene, URL Leeds, (Oct 2016-)
  • Rachel Whitty (co-supervisor), Tracking and measuring volcanic plumes using drones, NERC DTP Leeds CASE, (Oct 2017-)


  • SOEE1280 The Atmosphere of Planet Earth (module leader)
  • SOEE3171/SOEE5630M Volcanic Processes (contributor)
  • SOEE3170 Frontiers in Environmental Sciences (contributor)
  • SOEE3030 Environmental Research Project
  • SOEE1442 Environmental Science / Meteorology and Climate Science Tutorials

Leadership and other activities

  • Topical editor for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) (Oct 2016-)
  • Elected Early Career Researcher (ECR) representative on the School’s Research Committee and on Faculty Research and Innovation Committee (Apr 2016 - Apr 2017)
  • Member of the steering committee of the Centre of Excellence for Modelling Atmosphere and Climate (CEMAC) (Dec 2015 - Apr 2017)
  • Member of the scientific steering committee for VolMIP (Model Intercomparison Project on the climatic response to Volcanic forcing) (2014-)


  • Apprenticeship as IT Systems Engineer, 1999-2002 (Siemens AG, Germany).
  • IT Systems Engineer, 2002 (Siemens AG, Leipzig, Germany).
  • Diplom (MSc equivalent) in Geology and Palaeontology, 2002-2007, 1st class, (University of Leipzig).
  • Erasmus exchange student, 2005-06 (University of Leeds).
  • Ph.D, Oct 2007 to Mar 2011 (University of Leeds, “Modelling tropospheric volcanic aerosol: from aerosol microphysical processes to Earth system impacts”).
  • Post-doctoral Researcher, 2011-13 (University of Leeds, “High resolution modelling of the formation of acidic aerosols in the dispersed volcanic plume of Eyjafjallajokull”).
  • Academic Research Fellow, since 2013 (University of Leeds, 5-year tenure-track fellowship “Volcanic impacts: from vent to policy”).



Submitted / under review:

  • Schmidt, A., Mills, M.J., Ghan, S., Gregory, J.M., Allan, R.P., Andrews, T., Conley, A., Forster, P.M., Gettelman, A., Solomon, S., and Toon, O.B., Current and near-future volcanic forcing of global climate change. (submitted)
  • Swindles, G.T, Watson, E..J., Savov, I.P., Lawson, I.T., Schmidt, A., Hooper, A., Cooper, C.L, Connor, C.B., Gloor, M., and Carrivick, J.L., Climatic control on Icelandic volcanic activity during the Holocene. (under review)
  • Ilyinskaya, E., Schmidt, A. , Mather, T.A., Pope, F.D., Witham, C., Baxter, P.J., Johansson, T., Barsotti, S., Pfeffer, M., Singh, A., Sanderson, P., Bergsson, B., McCormick Kilbride, B., Donovan, A., Peters, N.J., Oppenheimer, C., and Edmonds, M., Understanding the environmental impacts of large fissure eruptions: Aerosol and gas emissions from the 2014-2015 Holuhraun eruption (Iceland). (under review)
  • Cooper, C.L., Swindles, G.T., Savov, I.P., Schmidt, A. , and Bacon, K.L., Evaluating the relationship between climate change and volcanism. (submitted)
  • Stone, K., Solomon, S., Kinnison, D., Pitts, M.C., Poole, L.R., Mills, M.J., Schmidt, A., Neely III, R.R., Ivy, D., Schwartz, M.J., Johnson, B.J., Tully, M.B., Klekociuk, A.R., Sasaki, T., and König-Langlo, G., Observing the impact of Calbuco volcanic aerosols on South Polar ozone depletion in 2015. (under review)
  • Mills et al. (including Schmidt, A.), Radiative and chemical response to interactive stratospheric sulfate aerosols in fully coupled CESM1(WACCM). (submitted)