Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Valentina Aquila


Valentina Aquila's Contact Card & Information.
Org Code: 614
Mail Code 614
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Aquila has been working since February 2013 at GESTAR/Johns Hopkins University, where she investigates the climate effect of stratospheric aerosol. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory for Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics at NASA GSFC.
Dr. Aquila received a M.S. in Physics at the University of Genoa, Italy in 2004, and a Ph.D. in Meteorology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Germanym in December 2009. She conducted her doctoral research at the Institute for Physics of the Atmosphere of the DLR – German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. During her Ph.D. she developed and implemented the aerosol microphysics module MADE-in within the Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy). Currently, MADE-in is used for studies of potential ice nuclei composition in the upper troposphere – lowermost stratosphere.

Research Interests

Climate Impact of Volcanic Aerosol

Earth Science: Aerosols

Aerosol microphysics

Earth Science: Aerosols


Associate Research Scientist

GESTAR/Johns Hopkins University - 314 Olin Hall, 3400 N Charles Street, Baltimore, MD

February 2013 - Present

NASA Postdoctoral Fellow

Oak Ridge Associated Universities - Oak Ridge, Tennessee

February 2010 - February 2013

Doctoral Research Scientist

German Aerospace Center (DLR) - Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

May 2006 - December 2009

Teaching Experience

  • Fall 2014: Teacher for the course "Freshmen Seminar: Introduction to Climate Change" at Johns Hopkins University.
  • April 2014: Lecture on climate change at George Mason University for 40 Environmental Engineering students.
  • March 2014: Lecture on Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies (Pacala and Socolow, Science, 305, 2014) at Johns Hopkins University for 40 undergraduate students.
  • March 2013: Lecture at the Mount View Middle School (Marriottsville, MD) on volcanoes and climate for 7th graders.
  • 2005: Teaching assistant for the Advanced Quantum Mechanics course for master students in Physics, Ludwig-Maximilian University.
  • 2000: Teaching assistant for the Physics laboratory for master students in biology.


  • Dec. 2009 Ph.D in Physics (Meteorology), Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, Germany. Research Advisor: Prof. Dr. R. Sausen (Ludwig Maximilian University – LMU, and German Aerospace Center – DLR) and Dr. J. Hendricks (DLR). Dissertation title: "Global model studies on the distribution and composition of potential atmospheric ice nuclei". Ph.D. Defense: 11 December 2009
  • Sep. 2004 M.S. in Physics, University of Genoa, Italy. Research Advisor: Dr. G. Ridolfi. Master Thesis: Semileptonic B meson decays. Thesis Defense: 22 September 2004

Professional Societies

American Geophysical Union

2010 - Present

Earth Science Women Network

2010 - Present

American Meteorological Society

2015 - Present

Professional Service

  • Since 2014 Committee member of the AeroCenter, and interdisciplinary union of researchers in aerosol science
  • May 2013 Service work for NASA proposal review panel
  • Sep. 2012 Participation in Worldwide Views on Biodiversity, a project to engage ordinary citizens in the process of policymaking and awareness raising on biodiversity.
  • Since 2012 Reviewers for proposals for NASA and Swiss National Science Foundation
  • Since 2011 Volunteer judge for the Outstanding Student Paper Award at the 2011 and 2012 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
  • Since 2011 Peer-reviewer for Aerosol Science and Technology, Geoscientific Model Development, Journal of Geophysical Research, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.


  • 2013 NASA Earth Science Division Atmospheres Contractor Award for outstanding performance in science.
  • 2013 Travel support to SSiRC (Stratospheric Sulfur and its Role in Climate) Workshop, Atlanta, GA

Other Professional Information

Additional Training
  • 2014 Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences, NAGT workshop, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2014 Summer Teaching Institute, Johns Hopkins University
  • 2014 University Teaching 101, Johns Hopkins University online course
  • 2013 6.00x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, MITx online course
  • 2011 Technical Writing Workshop, NASA GSFC
  • 2011 Proposal Writing Workshop, NASA GSFC
  • 2008 School on Science Communication to Non-Scientists, JRC, Ispra, Italy
  • 2007 European Research School on Atmosphere, Grenoble, France
  • Native Language Italian. Fluent in English, Spanish and German.
Computer Skills
  • OS: Linux/Unix, MacOsX, Microsoft Windows.
  • Programming: FORTRAN, Python, LaTeX, csh, bash.
  • Software: Microsoft Office, Adobe Illustrator, Keynote, iWeb, IDL and CDO (data processing and plotting), GMT and GrADS (plotting of geographical data).



2017. "Time-varying changes in the simulated structure of the Brewer–Dobson Circulation." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17 (2): 1313-1327 [10.5194/acp-17-1313-2017] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Stratospheric variability contributed to and sustained the recent hiatus in Eurasian winter warming." Geophysical Research Letters 44 (1): 374-382 [10.1002/2016gl072035] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Sensitivity of volcanic aerosol dispersion to meteorological conditions: a Pinatubo case study." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 121 (12): 6892–6908 [10.1002/2016jd025001] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Isolating the roles of different forcing agents in global stratospheric temperature changes using model integrations with incrementally added single forcings." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. [10.1002/2015jd023841] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Diagnosis of Middle-Atmosphere Climate Sensitivity by the Climate Feedback–Response Analysis Method." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 73 (1): 3–23 [10.1175/jas-d-15-0013.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "The MESSy aerosol submodel MADE3 (v2.0b): description and a box model test." Geosci. Model Dev. 7 (3): 1137-1157 [10.5194/gmd-7-1137-2014] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Modifications of the quasi-biennial oscillation by a geoengineering perturbation of the stratospheric aerosol layer." Geophys. Res. Lett. 41 (5): 1738–1744 [10.1002/2013GL058818] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Stratospheric ozone response to sulfate geoengineering: Results from the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP)." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 119 (5): 2629-2653 [10.1002/2013JD020566] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Correction to ‘Dispersion of the volcanic sulfate cloud from a Mount Pinatubo-like eruption’." J. Geophys. Res. 118 (14): 7849 [10.1002/jgrd.50616] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "The Response of Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide to the Eruption of Mt. Pinatubo at Southern and Northern Midlatitudes." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 70 (3): 894-900 [10.1175/JAS-D-12-0143.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Global atmospheric aerosol modeling." Chapter in Atmospheric Physics. Background - Methods – Trends, ed. U. Schumann, Springer [Article in Book]

2012. "Global atmospheric aerosol modeling." Chapter in Atmospheric Physics. Background - Methods – Trends, Ed. U. Schuman [Article in Book]

2012. "Dispersion of the volcanic sulfate cloud from a Mount Pinatubo-like eruption." J. Geophys. Res. 117 (D6): D06216 [10.1029/2011JD016968] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "MADE-in: a new aerosol microphysics submodel for global simulation of insoluble particles and their mixing state." Geosci. Model Dev. 4 (2): 325-355 [10.5194/gmd-4-325-2011] [Journal Article/Letter]