ICTP Postdoc Receives Prestigious Indian Award
27/05/2011 - Trieste
Vijayakumar Nair, a postdoctoral fellow in ICTP's Earth System Physics (ESP) section, has been awarded the Indian National Science Academy's Young Scientist Award for 2011. The award is given to an Indian scientist below the age of 35 for notable contributions to any branch of science or technology, recognized by the Academy, on the basis of work carried out in India.
Nair's research work has focussed on gaining a better understanding of how aerosols interact with solar radiation and affect the climate. The award recognizes Nair's contribution to the ICARB (Integrated Campaign for Aerosols, gases and Radiation Budget) project, which provided a three-dimensional heating structure of atmospheric aerosols over the oceans around the Indian peninsula.
"Aerosols are extremely heterogeneous in nature and at the same time they have very short life-spans. The assessment of perturbation due to aerosols on the radiation balance of the Earth-Atmosphere system is highly challenging and uncertain," explains Nair. "So, their presence in the atmosphere results in great uncertainty when it comes to making accurate climate projections," he says.
As part of the ICARB project, Nair worked on the design, implementation and data analysis; this work formed the basis of his doctoral thesis "Radiative Forcing due to Atmospheric Aerosols over the Oceanic Regions around the Indian Subcontinent".
He joined ICTP in October 2010 and has been working with ESP scientists Filippo Giorgi and Fabien Solmon on the "PAPRIKA" project (CryosPheric responses to Anthropogenic PRessures in the HIndu Kush-Himalaya regions). The project uses ESP's RegCM (a climate model) and investigates how the deposition of black carbon and dust aerosols affect the Himalayan snow cover, the climate and the hydrological cycle.