Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Gijs de Boer

Gijs de Boer

Research Interests

  • Clouds
  • Arctic Science
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Atmospheric Research
  • Aerosol-Cloud Interactions
  • Autonomous Observing Systems
  • Atmospheric Remote Sensing
  • Climate

Current Research

Current efforts focus on understanding processes controlling the formation, lifecycle, and climatic influence of Arctic clouds. Clouds play important roles in the climate system, including the modulation of atmospheric radiation and the distribution of precipitation. Specific topics currently being investigated include:

Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Atmospheric Observation: Together with collaborators at the University of Colorado, we are exploring the potential for UAS to obtain critical measurments of the atmosphere, including vertical profiles of key quantities, information on spatial variability of surface and atmospheric quantities and their co-variability, and for sampling difficult-to-reach environments. These measurements have been made across a variety of locations, with Arctic deployments at the Oliktok Point, Alaska facility operated by the Department of Energy.

Aerosol-Cloud Interactions in Arctic Clouds: Cloud radiative forcing and precipitation characteristics are influenced by the particles upon which cloud hydrometeors form. Changes to precipitation rates, cloud lifetime, and cloud thickness can all result from changes to aerosol properties. Using a variety of observational and modeling tools, we are improving our understanding of the physical processes responsible for these interactions, as well as the resulting impact on the influence of clouds on the climate system.

The Role of Various Processes in Arctic Cloud Formation and Lifecycle: Arctic clouds form as a result of a complex web of interacting physical processes, including those related to synoptic scale transport of water and heat, surface fluxes of these quantities, cloud-driven radiation, cloud microphysics, and aerosol properties. Our research involves establishing which of these processes are most important while simultaneously improving our understanding of individual components. This knowledge is crucial for improvement of weather and climate model simulations at high latitudes.

Currently Funded Projects

  • "Development and deployment of Air-Deployable Micro Buoys (ADMBs)" (NOAA, de Boer/Fairall PI)
  • "Advancing understanding of the Arctic atmosphere through process-level analysis and product development using Oliktok Point measurements " (DOE ASR, de Boer PI)
  • "Understanding the Sources and Impacts of Pacific Arctic Aerosol Particles " (NOAA CPO, Creamean PI)

Previous Projects

  • "Development and Evaluation of Low Cost, Unmanned Aircraft-Based Turbulent Flux Measurement Techniques" (CIRES, de Boer PI)
  • "Evaluating Aerosol Indirect Effects in Mixed-Phase Clouds" (DOE ASR, de Boer PI)
  • "Evaluation of Routine Atmospheric Sounding Measurements using Unmanned Systems" (DOE ARM, de Boer PI)
  • "Evaluation of Routine Atmospheric Sounding Measurements using Unmanned Systems" (DOE ASR, de Boer PI)
  • "A Multi-Faceted Evaluation of Aerosol Impacts on Arctic Clouds" (NSF, de Boer PI)


  • National Academies of Sciences US Delegate: International Arctic Science Committe (IASC)
  • Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) Atmosphere Collaboration Team co-lead
  • US Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Systems Research (ASR) High Latitude Processes Working Group lead
  • International Arctic Systems for Observing the Atmosphere (IASOA) steering committee


Outreach allows researchers to share their work with a broader audience than reached by scientific journals alone. As scientists, we are passionate and excited about the topics we study, but seldom have opportunities to discuss our ideas and research with the general public. In particular, as Arctic scientists it is often challenging to interact with the people living in the environment we study.

Thanks to past funding from the National Science Foundation, several researchers have traveled to Barrow, Alaska to share their research, discuss ideas with the local population, and gain firsthand experiences in the environment which they study everyday. Activities have included discussions with Barrow residents, presentations in local schools, seminars in the "Saturday Schoolyard" seminar series, helping to run summer camps, and more. These trips are meant to both share our knowledge with residents as well as enlighten and motivate researchers.

Some examples of recently supported outreach efforts include (photos):

Dr. Gijs de Boer Presentation at Ipalook Elementary School (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Gijs de Boer Presentations at Barrow High School (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Gijs de Boer Seminar at the Saturday Schoolyard Seminar Series (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Amy Solomon Presentation at and Assistance with STEM camp at NOAA/DOE facilities (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Amy Solomon Seminar at the Saturday Schoolyard Seminar Series (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Christopher Cox Seminar at the Saturday Schoolyard Seminar (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Christopher Cox Presentations at Barrow High School (Barrow, AK) -- Cancelled due to inclement weather
Dr. Kara Sulia Presentation and Assistance with STEM camp at NOAA/DOE facilities (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Ola Persson Radio Interview regarding the science behind the Oden cruise (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Jessie Creamean Presentation at Barrow High School (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Jessie Creamean Presentation at Hopson Middle School (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Jessie Creamean Public Presentation (Barrow, AK)
Dr. Gijs de Boer Presentation at St. Helena Primary School (St. Helena, CA)
Dr. Gijs de Boer Volunteer at the ARCUS AGU Exploration Station

Honors and Awards

  • Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE)

View Publications