Fan Receives the 2015 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Jiwen Fan will receive the 2015 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”


Jiwen’s research covers a broad scope ranging from tropospheric chemistry to aerosol-cloud interactions. Among her most impressive contributions is her dedicated effort in providing better understanding of aerosol effects on deep convective clouds. Over the last 10 years, she conducted a series of seminal studies in which she used advanced methodologies and computationally intensive modeling tools to demonstrate how aerosols can impact convection, clouds, weather, and climate through various mechanisms. Of these studies, her findings that vertical wind shear is one of the key environmental factors determining whether aerosols invigorate or suppress convection and that aerosol microphysical invigoration is a dominant mechanism explaining the ubiquitously observed increase of cloud cover and cloud top height by aerosols are widely recognized. Additionally, Jiwen has also been at the forefront of addressing the challenge of improving cloud microphysics parameterizations, particularly on ice nucleation for models.

Her accomplishments and contributions are succinctly summarized in a statement in one of her supporting letters: “I consider that the combination of the breadth, productivity, and impact of her research most uniquely distinguishes her from most of her peers.” Another stated that “she is the most creative, productive, and diligent young scientist I have ever known and worked with.”

We are extremely pleased to present a 2015 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award to Dr. Jiwen Fan.

—William K. M. Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD



Thank you, Bill, for the generous citation. I am honored to be selected as one of the recipients of the Ascent Award. I am grateful to the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section and the selection committee for this recognition. I humbly accept on behalf of the many people who helped make this possible. Deepest thanks to Zhanqing Li for the nomination and to Daniel Rosenfeld, Bob Houze, and Gerald North, who wrote supporting letters.

I am extremely grateful to my Ph.D. dissertation adviser, Renyi Zhang, for introducing me to the atmospheric field, mentoring me in my efforts to become a scientist, and guiding my career development over the years. I extend many thanks to my postdoc mentors Jennifer Comstock and Mikhail Ovchinnikov for bringing me to PNNL and to the field of atmospheric observation.

I consider myself very fortunate to be able to sustain long-term collaborative relationships with several people through working on challenging problems in the field of aerosol-cloud-climate interactions. I would like to mention especially Zhanqing Li, Danny Rosenfeld, Ruby Leung, Alex Khain, Wei-Kuo Tao, and, more recently, Guang Zhang, Kuan-Man Xu, and Steve Ghan. Whatever success I have had in research is due in large part to them, as well as to my past and current postdocs, visiting scientists, and graduate students. I hope that we are able to keep working together in the future as well.

In my very early career, I learned a lot from colleagues in Renyi’s group, Wei-Kuo Tao’s group, and Zhanqing’s group, and I appreciate their help and collaboration. I wish to thank my PNNL colleagues and managers for their help and support of my professional growth.

I also want to thank Department of Energy program managers Ashley Williamson, Sally McFarlane, Renu Joseph, and Dorothy Koch and PNNL project managers Ruby Leung, Steve Ghan, and Jerome Fast for their funding support of my research.

Finally, I want to thank my family, my parents, sisters, and brother and my husband and our two sons, for their love and support.

—Jiwen Fan, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington