Mark Flanner

Assistant Professor

University of Michigan

College of Engineering Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences



Phone:  (734) 615-3605

Fax: (734) 763-0437

2527B Space Research Bldg.
2455 Hayward St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2143


Earth's climate system is characterized by complicated and fascinating interactions between physical, chemical, and biological processes. My current research ambitions lie in understanding processes that govern cryosphere–climate interaction and feedback. Such processes include the physics of snow melt, atmospheric transport and processing of aerosols, large-scale energy transport, snow–vegetation interaction, and radiative transfer in the atmosphere and cryosphere. We strive to study these interactions using a combination of numerical modeling, remote sensing observations, and experimental studies.

Students interested in researching these and related topics are welcome to contact me about potential graduate studies.

Group News

August, 2014 — Mark's paper on aerosol radiative forcing from the 2010 volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallaj√∂kul (Iceland) is published in JGR–Atmospheres. This study found that cooling from sulfate was largely offset by warming from ash, which darkened snow surfaces and absorbed infrared energy in the atmosphere.


July, 2014 — Mark lectures at the 2014 Connaught Summer Institute in Arctic Science, held in Alliston, Ontario and organized by the University of Toronto. The theme of this year's institute was: "Atmosphere, Cryosphere, and Climate".

March, 2014 — Graduate student Adam Schneider constructs a prototype of a new instrument to measure snow optical grain size, and introduces it at a snow workshop in Davos, Switzerland. The Near-infrared Emitting Reflectance Dome (NERD) uses LEDs and photodiodes to measure snow reflectance at wavelengths that are sensitive to grain size.

nerd1         nerd2

January, 2014 — Graduate student Chaoyi Jiao's paper, describing a multi-model assessment of black carbon deposition to Arctic snow and sea-ice, is accepted for publication in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.


January, 2014 — Graduate student Justin Perket's paper, describing a new model diagnostic of the cryosphere radiative effect and its 21st century evolution, is accepted for publication in JGR–Atmospheres.


November, 2013 — Graduate student Deepak Singh co-chairs the Engineering Graduate Symposium.

August, 2013 — Mark discusses interactions between fires and climate in this short MichEpedia MconneX video:

May, 2013 — Mark is awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation, Division of Polar Programs. The project, titled "Linking cryospheric processes across scales to model non-linear albedo feedback" is described on the NSF award page

May, 2013 — Former post-doc Alex Gardner publishes an article in Science concluding that melting glaciers accounted for 30% of the sea-level rise between 2003 and 2009. The work was featured on the NBC Nightly News.

January, 2013 — Mark is one of 31 co-authors of a 4-year international study bounding the role of black carbon in climate. The study, published in JGR, concludes that black carbon exerts a substantially stronger warming effect on climate than quantified in the IPCC (2007) report. Media coverage:

June, 2012 — Mark lectures on aerosol-cryosphere-climate interactions at the Alpine Summer School in Valsavarenche, Italy. Lecture slides are available through the website.

June, 2012 — Alex accepts a professorship in the Geography Department at Clark University, starting September 2012.

February 16, 2012 — On invitation from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mark visits the State Department to attend the announcement of a new U.S.-led Initiative on Climate Change and Clean Air, targeted at reducing short-lived pollutants that adversely affect both climate and health.
New York Times coverage of initiative

January, 2012 — Chaoyi and Justin visit Joe McConnell's Trace Chemistry Laboratory at the Desert Research Institute to assist with the analysis of an Arctic ice core

Fall 2011 — Mark is a lead author on two reports published about climate effects of black carbon:

  • Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone (2011), published by the United Nations Environmental Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. See the Summary for Decision Makers or the Full Report
  • The Impact of Black Carbon on Arctic Climate (2011), published by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). Full report
UNEP         AMAP

May, 2011 — Alex's Nature article on the mass balance of Canadian Arctic glaciers is featured on the cover of the May 19 issue:

Nature cover

March, 2011 — Mark's Nature Geoscience article on cryosphere radiative forcing and albedo feedback is featured on the cover of the March issue:

NGEO cover