Glassmeier Franziska 2880 X 880

Franziska Glassmeier

As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Franziska Glassmeier will study clouds from the perspective of complex systems theory. She will systematically explore emergent behavior in cloud systems and its potential for developing new strategies to improve the representation of clouds in climate models. Better representing clouds is key to improving current climate projections.



Academic Career

  • Postdoctoral Researcher/Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University (Netherlands), 2018-2020
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder (USA), 2016-2018
  • PhD in Atmospheric Physics, ETH Zurich (Switzerland), 2016
  • Diploma (equivalent MSc) in Physics, University of Goettingen and Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization Goettingen (Germany), 2010

Major Awards

  • Research Associateship award of the National Academies of Sciences (USA), 2016-2018
  • PhD Award of the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Commission of the Swiss Academy of Sciences, 2017
  • CIRES Innovative Research Program (USA), 2015
  • Dr. Berliner-Dr. Ungewitter-Prize for outstanding diploma (Germany), 2011

In the News


Branco Weiss Fellow Since

Research Category
Atmospheric Sciences

Research Location
Department Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands

Clouds in the sky exhibit a variety of forms and patterns. Their complexity not only puzzles the casual observer but also poses a significant scientific challenge. Clouds, especially those over the subtropical oceans, can be considered the largest uncertainty of current climate projections. The problem behind the cloud-related uncertainty lies in limited computational resources: The adequate numerical modeling of subtropical clouds currently requires resolutions as fine as tens of meters. Even the fastest supercomputers, however, do not allow us to perform climate projections that resolve horizontal scales finer than about 100 km. Despite rapid technological advances, this mismatch between the scales of cloud and climate modeling will not be resolved by increasing computing power within the next decades. New ways[nbsp]– at the same time adequate and efficient – of representing clouds in climate models are therefore required to timely provide policy makers with better climate projections.
Details of Research
In her research, Dr. Franziska Glassmeier approaches the problem of representing clouds in climate simulations from a new perspective. Instead of focusing on the detailed processes that affect individual clouds and that cannot be represented due to computational limitations, she will explore the collective behavior of clouds fields on scales that can be captured in climate models. The essential idea behind this change of perspective lies in the observation that the complexity of small-scale process detail often assembles into an effective, or emergent, behavior on the system-wide scale. Applying a range of concepts and methods from complex-systems theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics to observations and detailed simulations, Dr. Franziska Glassmeier systematically studies the emergent behavior of climatically relevant cloud types. She especially focuses on the emergence of specific spatial arrangements and patterns in cloud fields. Dr. Glassmeier's goal is to explore the potential of emergent behavior in cloud systems as a new strategy for improving the representation of clouds in climate models.