Sciences and Exploration Directorate

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).



Garfinkel, C. I., V. Aquila, D. W. Waugh, and L. D. Oman. 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]

Garfinkel, C. I., S.-W. Son, K. Song, V. Aquila, and L. D. Oman. 2017. Stratospheric variability contributed to and sustained the recent hiatus in Eurasian winter warming Geophysical Research Letters 44 (1): 374-382 [10.1002/2016gl072035]

Jones, A. C., J. M. Haywood, A. Jones, and V. Aquila. 2016. Sensitivity of volcanic aerosol dispersion to meteorological conditions: a Pinatubo case study J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 121 (12): 6892–6908 [10.1002/2016jd025001]

Aquila, V., W. H. Swartz, D. W. Waugh, et al. P. R. Colarco, S. Pawson, L. M. Polvani, and R. S. Stolarski. 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]

Zhu, X., J.-H. Yee, M. Cai, et al. W. H. Swartz, L. Coy, V. Aquila, R. Garcia, and E. R. Talaat. 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]

Kaiser, J. C., J. Hendricks, M. Righi, et al. N. Riemer, R. A. Zavery, S. Metzger, and V. Aquila. 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]

Aquila, V., C. I. Garfinkel, P. Newman, L. D. Oman, and D. W. Waugh. 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]

Pitari, G., V. Aquila, B. Kravitz, et al. A. Robock, S. Watanabe, I. Cionni, N. De Luca, G. Di Genova, E. Mancini, and S. Tilmes. 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]

Aquila, V., L. D. Oman, R. S. Stolarski, P. R. Colarco, and P. A. Newman. 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]

Aquila, V., L. D. Oman, R. S. Stolarski, A. R. Douglass, and P. Newman. 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]

Aquila, V., J. Hendricks, and M. Righi. 2012. Global atmospheric aerosol modeling Chapter in Atmospheric Physics. Background - Methods – Trends, ed. U. Schumann, Springer

Hendricks, J., M. Righi, and V. Aquila. 2012. Global atmospheric aerosol modeling Chapter in Atmospheric Physics. Background - Methods – Trends, Ed. U. Schuman

Aquila, V., L. D. Oman, R. S. Stolarski, P. R. Colarco, and P. Newman. 2012. Dispersion of the volcanic sulfate cloud from a Mount Pinatubo-like eruption J. Geophys. Res. 117 (D6): D06216 [10.1029/2011JD016968]

Aquila, V., J. Hendricks, A. Lauer, et al. N. Riemer, H. Vogel, D. Baumgardner, A. Minikin, A. Petzold, J. Schwarz, J. Spackman, B. Weinzierl, M. Righi, and M. Dall'Amico. 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]