Natalie M. Mahowald

Natalie M. Mahowald

Irving Porter Church Professor in Engineering
Atkinson Center Faculty Director of Environment


Professor Mahowald has undergraduate degrees in German and physics from Washington University, an M.S. in natural resource policy from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in meteorology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mahowald conducted her postdoctoral research at Stockholm University in Sweden prior to holding a faculty position at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1998-2002. She then spent five years as a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) before joining Cornell as a faculty member in 2007.

Research Interests

My research group is focused on understanding global and regional scale atmospheric transport of biogeochemically important species such as desert dust. We are interested in how humans are perturbing the natural environment, especially through biogeochemical feedback. We look at these issues through a combination of 3-dimensional global transport and climate models, as well as analysis of satellite and in situ data.

Teaching Interests

Climate change, atmospheric biogeochemistry, modeling

Selected Publications

  • Scanza, R A., Natalie M. Mahowald, S. Ghan, C S. Zender, J F. Kok, X. Liu, Y. Zhang, S Albani.  2015. "Modeling dust as component minerals in the Community Atmosphere Model: development of framework and impact on radiative forcing."  Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 15 (1): 537-561.
  • Albani, S., Natalie M. Mahowald, G. Winckler, R F. Anderson, L I. Bradtmiller, B. Delmonte, R. François, M. Goman, N G. Heavens, P P. Hesse, S A. Hovan, S G. Kang, K E. Kohfeld, H. Lu, V. Maggi, J A. Mason, P A. Mayewski, D. McGee, X. Miao, B L. Otto-Bliesner, A T. Perry, A. Pourmand, H M. Roberts, N. Rosenbloom, T. Stevens, J Sun.  2015. "Twelve thousand years of dust: the Holocene global dust cycle constrained by natural archives."  Climate of the Past 11 (6): 869-903.
  • Mahowald, Natalie M., S. Albani, J. F. Kok, S. Engelstaeder, R. Scanza, D. S. Ward, M. G. Flanner.  2014. "The size distribution of desert dust aerosols and its impact on the Earth system."  Aeolian Research 15: 53-71.
  • Mahowald, Natalie M.  2011. "Aerosol Indirect Effect on Biogeochemical Cycles and Climate."  Science 334 (6057): 794-796.
  • Mahowald, Natalie M., D S. Ward, S. Kloster, M G. Flanner, C L. Heald, N G. Heavens, P G. Hess, J - Lamarque, P Y Chuang.  2011."Aerosol Impacts on Climate and Biogeochemistry."  Annual Review of Environment and resources 36: 45-74.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Fellow (American Geophysical Union) 2013
  • Henry G. Houghton Award (American Meteorological Society) 2006
  • 2015 Thomson ISI Highly Cited Researcher (Thomson Reuters) 2015
  • Fellow (Guggenheim Foundation) 2013
  • City of Paris Research Fellowship 2013


  • BS (Engineering Physics and A. B. German), Washington University, 1988
  • MS (Natural Resource Policy), University of Michigan, 1993
  • Ph D (Atmospheric Science & Meteorology), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996


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