Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Ronald Lindsay Miller

(Deputy Chief)

Ronald Lindsay Miller's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 212.678.5577
Org Code: 611
Mail Code 611
New York, NY 10025

Brief Bio

 I have been a physical scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City since 1999, but I arrived at GISS nine years earlier after receiving my doctorate in meteorology (under Professor Richard S. Lindzen) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1990.

Research Interests

Cimate and Aerosols

Earth Science: Atmospheric Dynamics

 I study the effects of aerosols, especially wind-blown soil dust, upon the climate, including aerosol perturbations to temperature and precipitation.  The climate perturbation by aerosols is often calculated using complicated Earth System Models.  Because different models can simulate different climate perturbations, a challenge is to identify the robust features of the response that are likely to be observed.  I attempt to identify this response using a hierarchy of relatively simple models where the relation between the aerosol radiative forcing and the climate perturbation is apparent. 

Current Projects

Contribution to Radiative Forcing and Climate By Anthropogenic Sources of Soil Dust Aerosol


 Here, we are trying to identify the climate perturbation by soil dust particles suspended in the atmosphere as a result of anthropogenic activities. 


Physical Scientist

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Sciences - New York City

June 1999 - Present


Teaching Experience

I teach two graduate classes at Columbia University: Dynamics of Climate (EESC G6920) and Atmospheric Dynamics (EESC G6921), in the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.  I have also taught Tropical Meteorology (EESC G6928) in collaboration with Professor Adam Sobel.


Ph.D. in Meteorology, 1990: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. Thesis title: Topics in Shear Instability: Viscous Destabilization of Stratified Flow & Organization of Rainfall by an Unstable Jet Aloft.

B.S. with Honor in Geophysics, 1982: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

Professional Service

Reviewer of the zero-order draft of Chapter 11 (‘Regional Climate Change’), and first-order draft of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report.

Lead Author for Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.1 (‘Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations’) of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.

Consultant and member of Review Committee for aerosol component of NOAA Air Quality Forecasting model.

Associate Editor, Aeolian Research

Reviewer for J. Climate, J. Atmos. Sci., Mon. Wea. Rev., J. Geophys. Res., Geophys. Res. Lett.,

Int. J. Climatol., Q. J. R. Met. Soc., Atmos-Ocean., Sci., Nat. Geosci., Amos. Chem. Phys.

Reviewer for proposals to the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, International Science and Technology Center (U.S. Dept. of State), Israeli Science Foundation, Natural Environment Research Council (UK), and Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Panel Reviewer for NASA, NOAA and the Dept. of Energy.

Organizing Committee Member: 12th Conference on Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Mechanics (1999), American Meteorological Society. Session Convener (‘Constraining the Global Mass Distribution of Mineral Dust’): Spring 2004 Meeting, American Geophysical Union. Session co-organizer: Kaufman Memorial Symposium (May 2007). Session co-organizer: Third International Dust Workshop (’Impacts of dust aerosol on clouds and atmospheric dynamics’).

Drove Jim Hansen's car to Princeton, NJ without incident (July 1995).



2024. "Mineral dust optical properties for remote sensing and global modeling: A review." Remote Sensing of Environment 303 113982 [10.1016/j.rse.2023.113982] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Atmospheric Response to a Collapse of the North Atlantic Circulation under a Mid-Range Future Climate Scenario: A Regime Shift in Northern Hemisphere Dynamics." Journal of Climate 36 (19): 6669-6693 [10.1175/jcli-d-22-0841.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Stochastic Bifurcation of the North Atlantic Circulation under a Midrange Future Climate Scenario with the NASA-GISS ModelE." Journal of Climate 36 (18): 6141-6161 [10.1175/jcli-d-22-0536.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Modeling dust mineralogical composition: sensitivity to soil mineralogy atlases and their expected climate impacts." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 23 (15): 8623-8657 [10.5194/acp-23-8623-2023] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Performance and Early Results from the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) Imaging Spectroscopy Mission." 2023 IEEE Aerospace Conference [10.1109/aero55745.2023.10115851] [Proceedings]

2022. "Understanding Model‐Observation Discrepancies in Satellite Retrievals of Atmospheric Temperature Using GISS ModelE." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 128 (1): [10.1029/2022jd037523] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "The Turning Point of the Aerosol Era." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 14 (12): [10.1029/2022ms003070] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Future Climate Change under SSP Emission Scenarios with GISS‐E2.1." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems [10.1029/2021ms002871] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Mineral dust cycle in the Multiscale Online Nonhydrostatic AtmospheRe CHemistry model (MONARCH) Version 2.0." Geoscientific Model Development 14 (10): 6403-6444 [10.5194/gmd-14-6403-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Contribution of the world's main dust source regions to the global cycle of desert dust." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 21 (10): 8169-8193 [10.5194/acp-21-8169-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Improved representation of the global dust cycle using observational constraints on dust properties and abundance." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 21 (10): 8127-8167 [10.5194/acp-21-8127-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Quantifying the range of the dust direct radiative effect due to source mineralogy uncertainty." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 21 (5): 3973-4005 [10.5194/acp-21-3973-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "CMIP6 Historical Simulations (1850‐2014) with GISS‐E2.1." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 13 e2019MS002034 [10.1029/2019ms002034] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation: An Earth Science Imaging Spectroscopy Mission." 2020 IEEE Aerospace Conference 1-15 [10.1109/aero47225.2020.9172731] [Proceedings]

2020. "Effective radiative forcing and adjustments in CMIP6 models." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 20 (16): 9591-9618 [10.5194/acp-20-9591-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "GISS‐E2.1: Configurations and Climatology." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 12 (8): [10.1029/2019ms002025] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Historical (1850–2014) Aerosol Evolution and Role on Climate Forcing Using the GISS ModelE2.1 Contribution to CMIP6." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 12 (8): [10.1029/2019ms001978] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Quantifying uncertainty for remote spectroscopy of surface composition." Remote Sensing of Environment 247 111898 [10.1016/j.rse.2020.111898] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Multicentury Instability of the Atlantic Meridional Circulation in Rapid Warming Simulations With GISS ModelE2." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123 (12): 6331--6355 [10.1029/2017jd027149] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Assessing the impact of large volcanic eruptions of the last millennium (850–1850 CE) on Australian rainfall regimes." Climate of the Past 14 (6): 811-824 [10.5194/cp-14-811-2018] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Internal Variability and Disequilibrium Confound Estimates of Climate Sensitivity From Observations." Geophysical Research Letters 45 (3): 1595-1601 [10.1002/2017gl076468] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Revisiting the observed correlation between weekly averaged Indian monsoon precipitation and Arabian Sea aerosol optical depth." Geophysical Research Letters 44 [10.1002/2017gl074373] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Smaller desert dust cooling effect estimated from analysis of dust size and abundance." Nature Geoscience 10 (4): 274-278 [10.1038/ngeo2912] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Predicting the mineral composition of dust aerosols: Insights from elemental composition measured at the Izaña Observatory." Geophysical Research Letters [10.1002/2016gl069873] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Significant atmospheric aerosol pollution caused by world food cultivation." Geophysical Research Letters 43 (10): 5394-5400 [10.1002/2016gl068354] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Implications for climate sensitivity from the response to individual forcings." Nature Climate Change 6 (4): 386–389 [10.1038/nclimate2888] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Predicting the mineral composition of dust aerosols -- Part 2: Model evaluation and identification of key processes with observations." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15 11629-11652 [doi:10.5194/acp-15-11629-2015] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Predicting the mineral composition of dust aerosols -- Part 1: Representing key processes." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15 11593-11627 [doi:10.5194/acp-15-11593-2015] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Future climate change under RCP emission scenarios with GISS ModelE2." J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst. 7 (1): 244-267 [doi:10.1002/2014MS000403] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Impact of Dust Radiative Forcing upon Climate." Mineral Dust 327-357 [10.1007/978-94-017-8978-3_13] [Article in Book]

2014. "CMIP5 historical simulations (1850-2012) with GISS ModelE2." J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst. 6 (2): 441-477 [10.1002/2013MS000266] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Soil Dust Aerosols and Wind as Predictors of Seasonal Meningitis Incidence in Niger." Environ. Health Perspect. 122 (7): 679-686 [10.1289/ehp.1306640] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Meningitis and Climate: From Science to Practice." Earth Perspectives 1 (1): 14 [10.1186/2194-6434-1-14] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Configuration and assessment of the GISS ModelE2 contributions to the CMIP5 archive." J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst. 6 (1): 141-184 [10.1002/2013MS000265] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Intensification of North American Megadroughts through Surface and Dust Aerosol Forcing." J. Climate 26 (13): 4414-4430 [10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00022.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Adjustment to Radiative Forcing in a Simple Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Model." J Climate 25 (22): 7802-7821 [10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00119.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Atmospheric dust modeling from meso to global scales with the online NMMB/BSC-Dust model – Part 2: Experimental campaigns in Northern Africa." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 12 (6): 2933-2958 [10.5194/acp-12-2933-2012] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Atmospheric dust modeling from meso to global scales with the online NMMB/BSC-Dust model – Part 1: Model description, annual simulations and evaluation." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 11 (24): 13001-13027 [10.5194/acp-11-13001-2011] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Forced and unforced variability of twentieth century North American droughts and pluvials." Clim Dyn 37 (5-6): 1097-1110 [10.1007/s00382-010-0897-9] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Coupled Aerosol-Chemistry–Climate Twentieth-Century Transient Model Investigation: Trends in Short-Lived Species and Climate Responses." J Climate 24 (11): 2693-2714 [10.1175/2011JCLI3582.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "On the Causes and Dynamics of the Early Twentieth-Century North American Pluvial." Journal of Climate 24 (19): 5043-5060 [10.1175/2011JCLI4201.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Atmospheric circulation anomalies during two persistent North American droughts: 1932-1939 and 1948-1957." Clim Dyn 36 (11-12): 2339-2355 [10.1007/s00382-010-0807-1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "The impact of devegetated dune fields on North American climate during the late Medieval Climate Anomaly." Geophysical Research Letters 38 (14): L14704 [10.1029/2011GL047566] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Global dust model intercomparison in AeroCom phase I." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 11 (15): 7781-7816 [10.5194/acp-11-7781-2011] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Interactions between Mineral Dust, Climate, and Ocean Ecosystems." Elements 6 (4): 247-252 [Full Text] [10.2113/gselements.6.4.247] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Cloud cover increase with increasing aerosol absorptivity: A counterexample to the conventional semidirect aerosol effect." J. Geophys. Res. 115 (D8): D08203 [10.1029/2009JD012637] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Attribution of the present-day total greenhouse effect." J Geophys Res 115 (D20): D20106 [10.1029/2010JD014287] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Amplification of the North American "Dust Bowl" drought through human-induced land degradation." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (13): 4997-5001 [10.1073/pnas.0810200106] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Evaluation of black carbon estimations in global aerosol models." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 9 (22): 9001-9026 [10.5194/acp-9-9001-2009] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Seasonal contrast in the surface energy balance of the Sahel." J. Geophys. Res. 114 D00E05 [10.1029/2008JD010521] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "Dust and sea surface temperature forcing of the 1930s “Dust Bowl” drought." Geophysical Research Letters 35 (8): L08710 [10.1029/2008GL033486] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "Abrupt Seasonal Migration of the ITCZ into the Summer Hemisphere." J Atmos Sci 65 (6): 1878-1895 [10.1175/2007JAS2367.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Climate response to projected changes in short-lived species under the A1B scenario from 2000-2050 in the GISS climate model." J. Geophys. Res. 112 (D20): D20103 [10.1029/2007JD008753] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Dangerous human-made interference with climate: a GISS modelE study." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 7 (9): 2287-2312 [10.5194/acp-7-2287-2007] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Climate simulations for 1880–2003 with GISS modelE." Clim Dyn 29 (7-8): 661-696 [10.1007/s00382-007-0255-8] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Simulations of preindustrial, present-day, and 2100 conditions in the NASA GISS composition and climate model G-PUCCINI." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 6 (12): 4427-4459 [10.5194/acp-6-4427-2006] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Present-Day Atmospheric Simulations Using GISS ModelE: Comparison to In Situ, Satellite, and Reanalysis Data." J. Climate 19 (2): 153-192 [10.1175/JCLI3612.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Mineral dust aerosols in the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Sciences ModelE atmospheric general circulation model." J. Geophys. Res. 111 (D6): D06208 [10.1029/2005JD005796] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Consistent simulations of multiple proxy responses to an abrupt climate change event." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 (4): 837-842 [10.1073/pnas.0510095103] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Constraining the magnitude of the global dust cycle by minimizing the difference between a model and observations." J. Geophys. Res. 111 (D6): D06207 [10.1029/2005JD005791] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Solar and anthropogenic forcing of tropical hydrology." Geophys Res Lett 33 (24): L24706 [10.1029/2006GL027468] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Forced annular variations in the 20th century Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report models." J. Geophys. Res. 111 (D18): D18101 [10.1029/2005JD006323] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "Efficacy of climate forcings." J. Geophys. Res. 110 (D18): D18104 [10.1029/2005JD005776] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Quantifying mineral dust mass budgets: Terminology, constraints, and current estimates." Eos Trans Amer Geophys Union 85 (48): 509 [512] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "General circulation modelling of Holocene climate variability." Quaternary Science Reviews 23 (20-22): 2167-2181 [10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.08.005] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Surface radiative forcing by soil dust aerosols and the hydrologic cycle." J Geophys Res 109 (D4): D04203 [10.1029/2003JD004085] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Feedback upon dust emission by dust radiative forcing through the planetary boundary layer." J. Geophys. Res. 109 (D24): D24209 [10.1029/2004JD004912] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Modeling Arabian dust mobilization during the Asian summer monsoon: The effect of prescribed versus calculated SST." Geophys Res Lett 31 (22): L22214 [10.1029/2004GL020669] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Latitude-dependent vertical mixing and the tropical thermocline in a global OGCM." Geophys Res Lett 31 (16): L16305 [10.1029/2004GL019891] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Incorporating the effect of small-scale circulations upon dust emission in an atmospheric general circulation model." J Geophys Res 109 (D7): D07201 [10.1029/2003JD004067] [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Volcanic and solar forcing of climate change during the preindustrial era." J Climate 16 4094-4107. [Journal Article/Letter]

2002. "Exploring the structure of regional climate scenarios by combining synoptic and dynamic guidance and GCM output." J Climate 15 1036-1050. [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "Interactive soil dust aerosol model in the GISS GCM: 1. Sensitivity of the soil dust cycle to radiative properties of soil dust aerosols." J. Geophys. Res. 106 (D16): 18167-18192 [10.1029/2000JD900668] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "Northern hemisphere winter climate response to greenhouse gas, ozone, solar, and volcanic forcing." J. Geophys. Res. 106 (D7): 7193-7210 [10.1029/2000JD900547] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "A comparison of seasonal and interannual variability of soil dust aerosols over the Atlantic Ocean as inferred by the TOMS AI and AVHRR AOT retrievals." J. Geophys. Res. 106 (D16): 18287-18303 [10.1029/2000JD900525] [Journal Article/Letter]

2000. "The seasonal cycle in coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models." Climate Dynamics 16 (10-11): 775-787 [10.1007/s003820000081] [Journal Article/Letter]

1999. "Simulation of recent northern winter climate trends by greenhouse-gas forcing." Nature 399 (6735): 452-455 [10.1038/20905] [Journal Article/Letter]

1999. "Radiative forcing of a tropical direct circulation by soil dust aerosols." J Atmos Sci 56 2403-2433 [Journal Article/Letter]

1998. "Climate response to soil dust aerosols." J Climate 11 (12): 3247-3267 [10.1175/1520-0442(1998)011<3247:CRTSDA>2.0.CO;2] [Journal Article/Letter]

1998. "A general circulation model study on the interannual variability of soil dust aerosol." J Geophys Res 103 (D20): 25,975-25,995 [10.1029/98JD02345] [Journal Article/Letter]

1997. "Tropical thermostats and low cloud cover." J Climate 10 409-440 [Journal Article/Letter]

1997. "Forcings and chaos in interannual to decadal climate change." J. Geophys. Res. 102 (D22): 25679-25720 [10.1029/97JD01495] [Journal Article/Letter]

1996. "Surface energy fluxes and couple variability in the tropics of a coupled general circulation model." J Climate 9 1599-1620 [Journal Article/Letter]

1994. "Tropical cloud feedbacks and natural variability of climate." J Climate 7 1388-1402 [Journal Article/Letter]

1992. "Organization of rainfall by an unstable jet with an application to African waves." J Atmos Sci 49 1523-1540 [Journal Article/Letter]

Selected Public Outreach

Invited speaker on climate and aerosols to popular audiences.

2014 - Present

Audiences include the New York City public schools, the New York Academy of Sciences and 92nd Street Y (New York City). Consultant to the American Museum of Natural History on exhibits related to climate.