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Staff information


William Gustafson

Earth Systems Analysis & Modeling
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K9-30
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Gustafson’s research focuses on development and application of climate models with emphasis on cloud parameterization, aerosol-cloud interactions, regional downscaling of climate, and issues of scale within atmospheric models. In 2010 he was awarded a U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Early Career award to study scale adaptability of atmospheric model parameterizations, which is the primary focus of his current research. He has experience with the Mesoscale Model Version 5 (MM5), the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, and the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). Recently, he has contributed substantially to the development of the chemistry version of the WRF model in order to advance the understanding of aerosol feedbacks to climate. He has also contributed substantially to developing the Aerosol Modeling Testbed, which is a software program for validating atmospheric models against observations. In addition to aerosol and cloud parameterization work, Dr. Gustafson has studied Tropical dynamics where he has focused on the Madden-Julian Oscillation.

Education and Credentials

  • 2003 Ph.D. Atmospheric Science University of California, Davis
  • 1993 A.B. Physics Occidental College, Los Angeles

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Member American Geophysical Union
  • Member American Meteorological Society
  • Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honor Society

Awards and Recognitions

  • Recipient of 2010 DOE Early Career Research Program grant

PNNL Publications


  • Li Z, X Cheng, WI Gustafson, Jr, and AM Vogelmann. 2016. "Spectral characteristics of background error covariance and multiscale data assimilation." International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids 82(12):1035-1048.  doi:10.1002/fld.4253
  • Oue M, P Kollias, K North, A Tatarevic, S Endo , AM Vogelmann, and WI Gustafson, Jr. 2016. "Estimation of cloud fraction profile in shallow convection using a scanning cloud radar." Geophysical Research Letters 43(20):10,998-11,006.  doi:10.1002/2016GL070776


  • Gustafson WI, Jr, PL Ma, and B Singh. 2015. "Precipitation characteristics of CAM5 physics at mesoscale resolution during MC3E and the impact of convective timescale choice." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 6(4):1271-1287.  doi:10.1002/2014ms000334
  • Xiao H, S Endo, MW Wong, W Skamarock, JB Klemp, JD Fast, WI Gustafson, Jr, AM Vogelmann, H Wang, Y Liu, and W Lin. 2015. "Modifications to WRF’s dynamical core to improve the treatment of moisture for large--eddy simulations." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 7(4):1627-1642.  doi:10.1002/2015MS000532
  • Chen Q, J Fan, SM Hagos, WI Gustafson, Jr, and LK Berg. 2015. "Roles of Wind Shear at Different Vertical Levels: Cloud System Organization and Properties." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 120(13):6551-6574.  doi:10.1002/2015JD023253
  • Ma PL, PJ Rasch, M Wang, H Wang, SJ Ghan, RC Easter, Jr, WI Gustafson, Jr, X Liu, Y Zhang, and HY Ma. 2015. "How Does Increasing Horizontal Resolution in a Global Climate Model Improve the Simulation of Aerosol-Cloud Interactions?" Geophysical Research Letters 42(12):5058-5065.  doi:10.1002/2015GL064183
  • Martini M, WI Gustafson, Jr, TA O'Brien, and PL Ma. 2015. "Evaluation of Tropical Channel Refinement using MPAS-A Aquaplanet Simulations." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 7(3):1351-1367.  doi:10.1002/2015MS000470
  • Wyant MC, CS Bretherton, R Wood, G Carmichael, AD Clarke, JD Fast, R George, WI Gustafson, Jr, C Hannay, A Lauer, Y Lin, JJ Morcrette, J Mulcahay, P Saide, SN Spak, and Q Yang. 2015. "Global and regional modeling of clouds and aerosols in the marine boundary layer during VOCALS: The VOCA Intercomparison ." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 15(1):153-172.  doi:10.5194/acp-15-153-2015
  • Xiao H, WI Gustafson, Jr, SM Hagos, CM Wu, and H Wan. 2015. "Resolution-dependent behavior of subgrid-scale vertical transport in the Zhang-McFarlane convection parameterization." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 7(2):537-550.  doi:10.1002/2014MS000356


  • Xiao H, WI Gustafson, Jr, and H Wang. 2014. "Impact of subgrid-scale radiative heating variability on the stratocumulus-to-trade cumulus transition in climate models." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 119(7):41924203.  doi:10.1002/2013JD020999
  • Hagos SM, LYR Leung, WI Gustafson, Jr, and B Singh. 2014. "Eddy Fluxes and Sensitivity of the Water Cycle to Spatial Resolution in Idealized Regional Aquaplanet Model Simulations." Climate Dynamics 42(3-4):931-940.  doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1857-y
  • Ma PL, PJ Rasch, JD Fast, RC Easter, Jr, WI Gustafson, Jr, X Liu, SJ Ghan, and B Singh. 2014. "Assessing the CAM5 Physics Suite in the WRF-Chem Model: Implementation, Resolution Sensitivity, and a First Evaluation for a Regional Case Study." Geoscientific Model Development 7(3):755-778.  doi:10.5194/gmd-7-755-2014
  • Martini M, WI Gustafson, Jr, Q Yang, and H Xiao. 2014. "Impact of Resolution on Simulation of Closed Mesoscale Cellular Convection Identified by Dynamically Guided Watershed Segmentation." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 119(22):12,67412,688.  doi:10.1002/2014JD021962


  • Ovchinnikov M, RC Easter, Jr, and WI Gustafson, Jr. 2013. "Untangling Dynamical and Microphysical Controls for the Structure of Stratocumulus." Geophysical Research Letters 40(16):44324436.  doi:10.1002/grl.50810
  • Berg LK, WI Gustafson, Jr, EI Kassianov, and L Deng. 2013. "Evaluation of a Modified Scheme for Shallow Convection: Implementation of CuP and Case Studies." Monthly Weather Review 141(1):134-147.  doi:10.1175/MWR-D-12-00136.1
  • Gustafson WI, Jr, PL Ma, H Xiao, B Singh, PJ Rasch, and JD Fast. 2013. "The Separate Physics and Dynamics Experiment (SPADE) framework for determining resolution awareness: A case study of microphysics." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 118(16):9258-9276.  doi:10.1002/jgrd.50711
  • Sego LH, A Marquez, A Rawson, T Cader, KM Fox, WI Gustafson, Jr, and CJ Mundy. 2013. "Implementing the Data Center Energy Productivity Metric in a High Performance Computing Data Center." Chapter 4 in Design Technologies for Green and Sustainable Computing Systems, ed. PP Pande, A Ganguly and K Chakrabarty, pp. 93-116.  Springer, New York, NY. 
  • Shrivastava MKB, LK Berg, JD Fast, RC Easter, Jr, A Laskin, EG Chapman, WI Gustafson, Jr, Y Liu, and CM Berkowitz. 2013. "Modeling aerosols and their interactions with shallow cumuli during the 2007 CHAPS field study." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 118(3):1343-1360. 


  • Gustafson WI, Jr, and S Yu. 2012. "Generalized approach for using unbiased symmetric metrics with negative values: normalized mean bias factor and normalized mean absolute error factor." Atmospheric Science Letters 13(4):262-267.  doi:10.1002/asl.393
  • Fast JD, WI Gustafson, Jr, LK Berg, WJ Shaw, MS Pekour, MKB Shrivastava, JC Barnard, R Ferrare, CA Hostetler, J Hair, MH Erickson, T Jobson, B Flowers, MK Dubey, PhD, SR Springston, BR Pirce, L Dolislager, JR Pederson, and RA Zaveri. 2012. "Transport and Mixing Patterns over Central California during the Carbonaceous Aerosol and Radiative Effects Study (CARES)." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 12(4):1759-1783.  doi:10.5194/acp-12-1759-2012
  • Sego LH, A Marquez, A Rawson, T Cader, KM Fox, WI Gustafson, Jr, and CJ Mundy. 2012. "Implementing the Data Center Energy Productivity Metric." ACM Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems 8(4):Article No. 30.  doi:10.1145/2367736.2367741
  • Yang Q, WI Gustafson, Jr, JD Fast, H Wang, RC Easter, Jr, M Wang, SJ Ghan, LK Berg, LYR Leung, and H Morrison. 2012. "Impact of natural and anthropogenic aerosols on stratocumulus and precipitation in the Southeast Pacific: A regional modeling study using WRF-Chem." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 12(18):8777-8796.  doi:10.5194/acp-12-8777-2012
  • Zaveri RA, WJ Shaw, DJ Cziczo, B Schmid, R Ferrare, ML Alexander, M Alexandrov, RJ Alvarez, WP Arnott, D Atkinson, S Baidar, RM Banta, JC Barnard, J Beranek, LK Berg, FJ Brechtel, WA Brewer, JF Cahill, B Cairns, CD Cappa, D Chand, S China, JM Comstock, MK Dubey, RC Easter, Jr, MH Erickson, JD Fast, C Floerchinger, BA Flowers, E Fortner, JS Gaffney, MK Gilles, K Gorkowski, WI Gustafson, Jr, MS Gyawali, J Hair, M Hardesty, JW Harworth, SC Herndon, N Hiranuma, CA Hostetler, JM Hubbe, JT Jayne, H Jeong, BT Jobson, EI Kassianov, LI Kleinman, CD Kluzek, B Knighton, KR Kolesar, C Kuang, A Kubatova, AO Langford, A Laskin, NS Laulainen, RD Marchbanks, C Mazzoleni, F Mei, RC Moffet, DA Nelson, M Obland, H Oetjen, TB Onasch, I Ortega, M Ottaviani, MS Pekour, KA Prather, JG Radney, R Rogers, SP Sandberg, A Sedlacek, C Senff, G Senum, A Setyan, JE Shilling, MKB Shrivastava, C Song, SR Springston, R Subramanian, K Suski, JM Tomlinson, RM Volkamer, HA Wallace, J Wang, AM Weickmann, DR Worsnop, XY Yu, A Zelenyuk, and Q Zhang. 2012. "Overview of the 2010 Carbonaceous Aerosols and Radiative Effects Study (CARES)." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 12(16):7647-7687.  doi:10.5194/acp-12-7647-2012
  • Zhong SS, X Li, X Bian, WE Heilman, LYR Leung, and WI Gustafson, Jr. 2012. "Evaluation of Regional Climate Simulations over the Great Lakes Region Driven by Three Global Data Sets." Journal of Great Lakes Research 38(2):212-225.  doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2012.03.012


  • Fast JD, WI Gustafson, Jr, EG Chapman, RC Easter, Jr, JP Rishel, RA Zaveri, G Grell, and M Barth. 2011. "The Aerosol Modeling Testbed: A community tool to objectively evaluate aerosol process modules." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 92(3):343-360.  doi:10.1175/2010BAMS2868.1
  • Gustafson WI, Jr, Y Qian, and JD Fast. 2011. "Downscaling Aerosols and the Impact of Neglected Subgrid Processes on Direct Aerosol Radiative Forcing for a Representative Global Climate Model Grid Spacing." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 116:Article No. D13303.  doi:10.1029/2010JD015480
  • Shrivastava MKB, JD Fast, RC Easter, Jr, WI Gustafson, Jr, RA Zaveri, JL Jimenez, P Saide, and A Hodzic. 2011. "Modeling Organic Aerosols in a Megacity: Comparison of Simple and Complex Representations of the Volatility Basis Set Approach." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 11(13):6639-6662.  doi:10.5194/acp-11-6639-2011
  • Wang M, SJ Ghan, RC Easter, Jr, M Ovchinnikov, X Liu, EI Kassianov, Y Qian, WI Gustafson, Jr, VE Larson, D Schanen, M Khairoutdinov, and H Morrison. 2011. "The multi-scale aerosol-climate model PNNL-MMF: model description and evaluation." Geoscientific Model Development 4(1):137-168.  doi:10.5194/gmd-4-137-2011
  • Yang Q, WI Gustafson, Jr, JD Fast, H Wang, RC Easter, Jr, H Morrison, YN Lee, EG Chapman, SN Spak, and MA Mena-Carrasco. 2011. "Assessing regional scale predictions of aerosols, marine stratocumulus, and their interactions during VOCALS-REx using WRF-Chem." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 11(23):11951-11975.  doi:10.5194/acp-11-11951-2011
  • Yang Q, Y Wang, C Zhao, Z Liu, WI Gustafson, Jr, and M Shao. 2011. "NOx Emission Reduction and its Effects on Ozone during the 2008 Olympic Games." Environmental Science & Technology 45(15):6404-6410.  doi:10.1021/es200675v


  • Qian Y, WI Gustafson, Jr, and JD Fast. 2010. "An investigation of the sub-grid variability of trace gases and aerosols for global climate modeling." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 10:6917-6946.  doi:10.5194/acp-10-6917-2010
  • Grell G, JD Fast, WI Gustafson, Jr, SE Peckham, SA McKeen, M Salzmann, and S Freitas. 2010. "On-line Chemistry within WRF: Description and Evaluation of a State-of-the-Art Multiscale Air Quality and Weather Prediction Model." Chapter 3 in Integrated Systems of Meso-Meteorological and Chemical Transport Models, ed. A Baklanov, A Mahura and R Sokhi, pp. 41-54.  Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany. 
  • Monier E, BC Weare, and WI Gustafson, Jr. 2010. "The Madden-Julian Oscillation Wind-Convection Coupling and the Role of Moisture Processes in the MM5 Model." Climate Dynamics 35(2-3):435-447.  doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0626-4
  • Zhao C, X Liu, LYR Leung, B Johnson, SA McFarlane, WI Gustafson, Jr, JD Fast, and RC Easter, Jr. 2010. "The spatial distribution of mineral dust and its shortwave radiative forcing over North Africa: Modeling sensitivities to dust emissions and aerosol size treatments ." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 10(18):8821-8838.  doi:10.5194/acp-10-8821-2010


  • Qian Y, WI Gustafson, Jr, LYR Leung, and SJ Ghan. 2009. "Effects of soot-induced snow albedo change on snowpack and hydrological cycle in western United States based on Weather Research and Forecasting chemistry and regional climate simulations." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 114:D03108.  doi:10.1029/2008JD011039
  • Chapman EG, WI Gustafson, Jr, RC Easter, Jr, JC Barnard, SJ Ghan, MS Pekour, and JD Fast. 2009. "Coupling Aerosol-Cloud-Radiative Processes in the WRF-Chem Model: Investigating the Radiative Impact of Elevated Point Sources." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 9(3):945-964. 
  • Ntelekos AA, JS Smith, LJ Donner, JD Fast, WI Gustafson, Jr, EG Chapman, and WF Krajewski. 2009. "The Effects of Aerosols on Intense Convective Precipitation in the Northeastern U.S." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 135(643):1367-1391.  doi:10.1002/qj.476
  • Weaver CP, XZ Liang, J Zhu, PJ Adams, P Amar, J Avise, M Caughey, J Chen, RC Cohen, E Cooter, JP Dawson, R Gilliam, A Gilliland, AH Goldstein, A Grambsch, D Grano, A Guenther, WI Gustafson, Jr, RA Harley, S He, B Hemming, C Hogrefe, HC Huang, SW Hunt, D Jacob, PL Kinney, K Kunkel, JF Lamarque, BK Lamb, N Larkin, LYR Leung, KJ Liao, J Lin, BH Lynn, K Manomaiphiboon, CS Mass, D KcKenzie, LJ Mickley, S O'Neil, C Nolte, SN Pandis, PN Racherla, C Rosenzweig, AG Russell, E Salathe, AL Steiner, E Tagaris, Z Tao, S Tonse, C Wiedinmyer, A Williams, DA Winner, JH Woo, S Wu, and DJ Wuebbles. 2009. "A Preliminary Synthesis of Modeled Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Regional Ozone Concentrations." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 90(12):18431863 .  doi:10.1175/2009BAMS2568.1


  • Gustafson WI, Jr, LK Berg, RC Easter, Jr, and SJ Ghan. 2008. "The Explicit-Cloud Parameterized-Pollutant Hybrid Approach for Aerosol-Cloud Interactions in Multiscale Modelling Framework Models: Tracer Transport Results." Environmental Research Letters 3(2):Art. No. 025005.  doi:10.1088/1748-9326/3/2/025005
  • Zhang Y, XM Hu, LR Leung, and WI Gustafson, Jr. 2008. "Impacts of Regional Climate Change on Biogenic Emissions and Air Quality." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 113:D18310.  doi:10.1029/2008JD009965


  • Gustafson WI, Jr, and LR Leung. 2007. "Regional Downscaling for Air Quality Assessment: A Reasonable Proposition?" Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 88(8):1215-1227. 
  • Gustafson WI, Jr, EG Chapman, SJ Ghan, RC Easter, Jr, and JD Fast. 2007. "Impact on Modeled Cloud Characteristics Due to Simplified Treatment of Uniform Cloud Condensation Nuclei During NEAQS 2004." Geophysical Research Letters 34(19):L19809.  doi:10.1029/2007GL030021


  • Berg LK, EI Kassianov, CN Long, and WI Gustafson, Jr. 2006. "A Climatology of Fair-Weather Cloud Statistics at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program Southern Great Plains Site: Temporal and Spatial Variability." In Proceedings of the Sixteenth Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Science Team Meeting, March 27-31, 2006, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  US Department of Energy, Washington, DC. 
  • Fast JD, WI Gustafson, Jr, RC Easter, Jr, RA Zaveri, JC Barnard, EG Chapman, G Grell, and SE Peckham. 2006. "Evolution of Ozone, Particulates, and Aerosol Direct Radiative Forcing in the Vicinity of Houston Using a Fully Coupled Meteorology-Chemistry-Aerosol Model." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 111(D21):D21305.  doi:10.1029/2005JD006721


  • Gustafson WI, Jr, EG Chapman, and JD Fast. 2005. "Effect of Clouds on Sulfate Production and Aerosol Optical Depths in Western Pennsylvania During August 2004." In American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2005, San Francisco, California.  American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC. 
  • Gustafson WI, Jr, JD Fast, RC Easter, Jr, and SJ Ghan. 2005. "Triumphs and Tribulations of WRF-Chem Development and Use." In 2005 Joint WRF/MM5 User's Workshop, June 27-30, 2005, Boulder, Colorado, p. Paper No. 8.4.  National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO. 
  • Leung LR, and WI Gustafson, Jr. 2005. "Potential Regional Climate Change and Implications to U.S. Air Quality." Geophysical Research Letters 32(16):L16711.  doi:10.1029/2005GL022911
  • Zhang Y, XM Hu, G Howell, ED Sills, JD Fast, WI Gustafson, Jr, RA Zaveri, GA Grell, SE Peckham, and SA McKeen. 2005. "Modeling Atmospheric Aerosols in WRF/Chem." In 2005 Joint WRF/MM5 User's Workshop, June 27-30, 2005, Boulder, Colorado.  National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO. 


  • Gustafson WI, Jr, and BC Weare. 2004. "MM5 Modeling of the Madden-Julian Oscillation in the Indian and West Pacific Oceans: Implications of 30-70-Day Boundary Effects on MJO Development." Journal of Climate 17(6):1338-1351. 
  • Gustafson WI, Jr, and BC Weare. 2004. "MM5 Modeling of the Madden-Julian Oscillation in the Indian and West Pacific Oceans: Model Description and Control Run Results." Journal of Climate 17(6):1320-1337. 

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