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KU Scientist to Lead Climate Data and Modeling Cluster of Newly Established UAE Climate Change Research Network

August 17, 2021

Climate change and its impact have been a growing concern worldwide. To continue and further enhance the UAE’s efforts in addressing the issue of climate change, the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment (MOCCAE) has established the UAE Climate Change Research Network (CCRN). The Network brings together a group of committed climate change scientists and researchers from universities, the government, and other research entities to promote collaborations among scientists in the region working on the different challenges imposed by climate change. 


The Network is organized into 4 clusters spanning different topics of concern with the members identified based on their expertise. Khalifa University’s very own Dr. Diana Francis, Senior Research Scientist and Head of the ENGEOS Lab, has been appointed Lead of the Climate Data and Modeling Cluster in which there are more than 30 scientists spread over the different universities and institutions in the UAE. This cluster focuses on the local and regional climatic conditions, trends, and projections. These include temperature, precipitation, sea level, and extreme weather events such as heatwaves, flooding, storms, etc. 


“My role will be to foster the collaborations on these topics among all scientists in the UAE to come up with new ideas, new collaborative work and science-based solutions to the challenges related to climate change, all under the umbrella of the ministry and the CCRN,” Dr. Diana explained. 


As cluster lead, Dr. Diana will be responsible for coordinating agenda-setting, project design, and research activities within the cluster, as well as organizing cluster discussions, engaging other cluster members, and ensuring the delivery projects.


Dr. Diana heads the ENGEOS Lab at Khalifa University where research activities focus on studying natural processes and addressing environmental challenges at local and regional scales to propose sustainable solutions and support science-based strategies for stakeholders and governmental entities. 


“At ENGEOS lab, we work on several projects that are of particular relevance to the Climate and Modeling Cluster of the UAE CCRN. For instance, we work on the regional climate of the Arabian Peninsula and the UAE to characterize its main patterns and detect trends and variabilities. We also work on the link between the different components of the regional climate system, especially the link between the atmospheric circulation and air quality, meteorological phenomena (such as fog, dust storms, etc.). In addition to working on the climate of our region, we investigate the climate of Polar Regions such as Antarctica and the Arctic, where the footprint of climate change is clearly visible and changes there can impact our region via changes in the global atmospheric and oceanic circulation and changes in sea level due to ice melt. At ENGEOS, we perform these research activities by combining observational data and modeling techniques including machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Dr. Diana said. 


“I’m extremely proud and honored by this appointment, at the same time I’m well aware of the big responsibility that comes with it and will spare no effort to serve this community and this role as best as I can. I take this opportunity to extend my deepest respect and appreciation to all the CCRN members, the CCRN support team at the Ministry, and all my colleagues, partners and collaborators for their trust, confidence, and generous encouragement. I greatly look forward to support and work with the KU community toward a successful contribution from all of us at KU into this national effort.”


Ara Maj Cruz
Creative Writer
17 August 2021