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Atmospheric Science & Global Change

Staff information

Mikhail Ovchinnikov

Mikhail Ovchinnikov

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


Mikhail Ovchinnikov's current research interests include a wide range of topics in cloud physics, as well as cloud-related aspects of remote sensing, radiation, and atmospheric dynamics. Dr. Ovchinnikov relies on a combination of numerical modeling, in situ, and remote observations in nearly all of his studies, which have three major thrusts: 1) studying individual aerosol and cloud processes, 2) retrieving cloud properties using remote sensors, and 3) developing, testing, and improving modules and parameterizations for atmospheric models from cloud to global scales. Finding new ways to evaluate these models and validate simulation results is always the top priority of these studies.

A unifying theme of several of his projects funded by the Deparment of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the use of an "instrument simulator" concept, in which the model output is used to reconstruct what a specific observing system would detect. The synthetic measurements are then used to evaluate the model and to test retrieval algorithms.

Research Interests

  • Cloud models and parameterizations
  • Cloud-aerosol and cloud-radiation interactions
  • Remote sensing

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Meteorology, The University of Oklahoma
  • M.S., Applied Mathematics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Affiliations and Professional Service

Awards and Recognitions

  • Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation Award, The University of Oklahoma, 1998

PNNL Publications


  • Ovchinnikov M, A Ackerman, A Avramov, A Cheng, J Fan, A Fridlind, SJ Ghan, JY Harrington, C Hoose, A Korolev, G McFarquhar, H Morrison, M Paukert, J Savre, B Shipway, MD Shupe, A Solomon, and K Sulia. 2014. "Intercomparison of Large-eddy Simulations of Arctic Mixed-phase Clouds: Importance of Ice Size Distribution Assumptions." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 6(1):223-248.  doi:10.1002/2013MS000282
  • Guo Z, M Wang, Y Qian, VE Larson, SJ Ghan, M Ovchinnikov, P Bogenschutz, C Zhao, G Lin, and T Zhou. 2014. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cloud Properties to CLUBB Parameters in the Single-Column Community Atmosphere Model (SCAM5)." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 6(3):829-858.  doi:10.1002/2014MS000315


  • 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):4432-4436.  doi:10.1002/grl.50810
  • Kassianov EI, D Lane-Veron, LK Berg, M Ovchinnikov, and P Kollias. 2013. "Markovian Approach and its Applications in a Cloudy Atmosphere." Chapter 3 in Light Scattering Reviews 7: Radiative Transfer and Optical Properties of Atmosphere and Underlying Surface, ed. AA Kokhanovsky, pp. 69-107.  Springer, New York, NY. 
  • Khain A, T Prabha, N Benmoshe, G Pandithurai, and M Ovchinnikov. 2013. "The Mechanism of First Raindrops Formation in Deep Convective Clouds." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 118(16):9123-9140.  doi:10.1002/jgrd.50641
  • Muehlbauer AD, WW Grabowski, SP Malinowski, TP Ackerman, G Bryan, Z Lebo, J Milbrandt, H Morrison, M Ovchinnikov, S Tessendorf, JM Theriault, and G Thompson. 2013. "Reexamination of the State of the Art Cloud Modeling Shows Real Improvements." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 94(5):ES45-ES48.  doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00188.1
  • Yang F, M Ovchinnikov, and RA Shaw. 2013. "Minimalist Model of Ice Microphysics in Mixed-phase Stratiform Clouds." Geophysical Research Letters 40(14):3756-3760.  doi:10.1002/grl.50700


  • Chand D, R Wood, SJ Ghan, M Wang, M Ovchinnikov, PJ Rasch, SD Miller, B Schichtel, and T Moore. 2012. "Aerosol optical depth increase in partly cloudy conditions." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 117:Article No. D17207.  doi:10.1029/2012JD017894
  • Kulkarni GR, J Fan, JM Comstock, X Liu, and M Ovchinnikov. 2012. "Laboratory Measurements and Model Sensitivity Studies of Dust Deposition Ice Nucleation." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 12(16):7295-7308.  doi:10.5194/acp-12-7295-2012
  • Larson VE, D Schanen, M Wang, M Ovchinnikov, and SJ Ghan. 2012. "PDF parameterization of boundary layer clouds in models with horizontal grid spacings from 2 to 16 km." Monthly Weather Review 140(1):285-306.  doi:10.1175/MWR-D-10-05059.1
  • Wang M, SJ Ghan, X Liu, TL Ecuyer, K Zhang, H Morrison, M Ovchinnikov, RC Easter, Jr, R Marchand, D Chand, Y Qian, and JE Penner. 2012. "Constraining cloud lifetime effects of aerosols using A-Train satellite observations ." Geophysical Research Letters 39:L15709.  doi:10.1029/2012GL052204


  • Ovchinnikov M, A Korolev, and J Fan. 2011. "Effects of ice number concentration on dynamics of a shallow mixed-phase stratiform cloud." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 116:Article No. D00T06.  doi:10.1029/2011JD015888
  • Fan J, SJ Ghan, M Ovchinnikov, X Liu, PJ Rasch, and A Korolev. 2011. "Representation of Arctic Mixed-Phase clouds and the Wegener-Bergeron-Findeisen Process in Climate Models: Perspectives from a Cloud-Resolving Study." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 116:Article No. D00T07.  doi:10.1029/2010JD015375
  • Ghan SJ, H Abdul-Razzak, A Nenes, Y Ming, X Liu, M Ovchinnikov, B Shipway, N Meskhidze, J Xu, and X Shi. 2011. "Droplet Nucleation: Physically-Based Parameterization and Comparative Evaluation." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 3:Article No. M10001.  doi:10.1029/2011MS000074
  • Kassianov EI, M Ovchinnikov, LK Berg, and CJ Flynn. 2011. "Aerosol Retrievals under Partly Cloudy Conditions: Challenges and Perspectives." In Polarimetric Detection, Characterization, and Remote Sensing: NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security, ed. MI Mishchenko, et al, pp. 205-232.  Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands. 
  • Larson VE, BJ Nielsen, J Fan, and M Ovchinnikov. 2011. "Parameterizing correlations between hydrometeor species in mixed-phase Arctic clouds." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 116:Art. No. D00T02.  doi:10.1029/2010JD015570
  • McFarquhar G, SJ Ghan, J Verlinde, A Korolev, JW Strapp, B Schmid, JM Tomlinson, M Wolde, SD Brooks, DJ Cziczo, MK Dubey, PhD, J Fan, CJ Flynn, I Gultepe, JM Hubbe, MK Gilles, A Laskin, P Lawson, WR Leaitch, PS Liu, X Liu, D Lubin, C Mazzoleni, AM Macdonald, RC Moffet, H Morrison, M Ovchinnikov, MD Shupe, DD Turner, S Xie, A Zelenyuk, K Bae, M Freer, and A Glen. 2011. "Indirect and Semi-Direct Aerosol Campaign: The Impact of Arctic Aerosols on Clouds ." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 92(2):183 - 201.  doi:10.1175/2010BAMS2935.1
  • Morrison H, P Zuidema, A Ackerman, A Avramov, G de Boer, J Fan, A Fridlind, T Hashino, JY Harrington, Y Luo, M Ovchinnikov, and B Shipway. 2011. "Intercomparison of cloud model simulations of Arctic mixed-phase boundary layer clouds observed during SHEBA/FIRE-ACE." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 3:Article No. M06003. 
  • Wang M, SJ Ghan, M Ovchinnikov, X Liu, RC Easter, Jr, EI Kassianov, Y Qian, and H Morrison. 2011. "Aerosol Indirect effects in a multi-scale aerosol-climate model PNNL-MMF." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 11(11):5431-5455.  doi:10.5194/acp-11-5431-2011
  • 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


  • Ovchinnikov M, and RC Easter, Jr. 2010. "Modeling aerosol growth by aqueous chemistry in nonprecipitating stratiform cloud." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 115(D14210):, doi:10.1029/2009JD012816
  • Zelenyuk A, D Imre, M Earle, RC Easter, Jr, A Korolev, WR Leaitch, P Liu, AM Macdonald, M Ovchinnikov, and W Strapp. 2010. "In-Situ Characterization of Cloud Condensation Nuclei, Interstitial, and background Particles using Single Particle Mass Spectrometer, SPLAT II." Analytical Chemistry 82(19):7943-7951.  doi:10.1021/ac1013892
  • Fan J, JM Comstock, M Ovchinnikov, SA McFarlane, G McFarquhar, and G Allen. 2010. "Tropical anvil characteristics and water vapor of the tropical tropopause layer: Impact of heterogeneous and homogeneous freezing parameterizations ." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 115:D12201.  doi:10.1029/2009JD012696
  • Fan J, JM Comstock, and M Ovchinnikov. 2010. "The cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei effects on tropical anvil characteristics and water vapor of the tropical tropopause layer." Environmental Research Letters 5(4):Article No. 044005.  doi:10.1088/1748-9326/5/4/044005
  • Kassianov EI, M Ovchinnikov, LK Berg, SA McFarlane, CJ Flynn, R Ferrare, CA Hostetler, and M Alexandrov. 2010. "A New Retrieval of Aerosol Optical Depth from Reflectance Ratios on Partly Cloudy Days: Development and Evaluation." In 13th Conference on Atmospheric Radiation, June 28-July 2, 2010, Portland, Oregon, p. Paper No. P2.18.  American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA. 
  • Kassianov EI, M Ovchinnikov, LK Berg, SA McFarlane, CJ Flynn, R Ferrare, CA Hostetler, and M Alexandrov. 2010. "Retrieval of Aerosol Optical Depth in Vicinity of Broken Clouds from Reflectance Ratios: Case Study." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 3:1333-1349.  doi:10.5194/amt-3-1333-2010


  • Ovtchinnikov M, and RC Easter, Jr. 2009. "Nonlinear Advection Algorithms Applied to Inter-related Tracers: Errors and Implications for Modeling Aerosol-Cloud Interactions ." Monthly Weather Review 137(2):632-644.  doi:10.1175/2008MWR2626.1
  • Fan J, M Ovtchinnikov, JM Comstock, SA McFarlane, and A Khain. 2009. "Ice Formation in Arctic Mixed-Phase Clouds: Insights from a 3-D Cloud-Resolving Model with Size-Resolved Aerosol and Cloud Microphysics ." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 114(D04205):, doi:10.1029/2008JD010782
  • Fan J, T Yuan, JM Comstock, SJ Ghan, A Khain, LYR Leung, Z Li, VJ Martins, and M Ovchinnikov. 2009. "Dominant Role by Vertical Wind Shear in Regulating Aerosol Effects on Deep Convective Clouds." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 114(D22206):, doi:10.1029/2009JD012352
  • Kassianov EI, M Ovchinnikov, LK Berg, SA McFarlane, CJ Flynn, R Ferrare, and CA Hostetler. 2009. "The 3D Radiative Effects of Clouds in Aerosol Retrieval: Can we Remove Them?" In Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XIV: Proceedings of the SPIE, vol. 7475, ed. RH Picard, K Schafer, A Comeron, EI Kassianov and CJ Mertens, p. Article No. 74750I.  SPIE, Bellingham, WA.  doi:10.1117/12.830179
  • Kassianov EI, M Ovtchinnikov, LK Berg, SA McFarlane, and CJ Flynn. 2009. "A New Retrieval of Aerosol Optical Depth under Partly Cloudy Conditions with Multi-Spectral Measurements of Reflectance." In Proceedings of the International Radiation Symposium (IRS 2008): AIP Conference Proceedings, vol. 1100, pp. 263-266.  American Institute of Physics, Melville, NY.  doi:10.1063/1.3116965
  • Kassianov EI, M Ovtchinnikov, LK Berg, SA McFarlane, and CJ Flynn. 2009. "Retrieval of Aerosol Optical Depth in Vicinity of Broken Clouds from Reflectance Ratios: Sensitivity Study." Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 110(14-16):1677-1689. 


  • Kassianov EI, M Ovtchinnikov, LK Berg, SA McFarlane, and CJ Flynn. 2008. "Retrieval of Aerosol Optical Depth in Vicinity of Broken Clouds from Reflectance Ratios: A Novel Approach." In Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XIII, vol. 7107, p. 71070V.  SPIE , Bellingham, WA.  doi:10.1117/12.801288
  • Kassianov EI, and M Ovtchinnikov. 2008. "On Reflectance Ratios and Aerosol Optical Depth Retrieval in the Presence of Cumulus Clouds ." Geophysical Research Letters 35(6):Art. No. L06807.  doi:10.1029/2008GL033231
  • Mechem DB, YL Kogan, M Ovtchinnikov, AB Davis, KF Evans, and RG Ellingson. 2008. "Multi-dimensional Longwave Forcing of Boundary Layer Cloud Systems." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 65(12):3963-3977.  doi:10.1175/2008JAS2733.1


  • Ovtchinnikov M, and RT Marchand. 2007. "Cloud Model Evaluation Using Radiometric Measurements from the Airborne Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (AirMISR)." Remote Sensing of Environment 107:185-193.  doi:doi:10.1016/j.rse.2006.05.024


  • Ovtchinnikov M, and RT Marchand. 2006. "Comparison of angular dependence of observed and simulated distributions of radiances over stratocumulus clouds." In 12th Conference on Cloud Physics and 12th Conference on Atmospheric Radiation, July 10-14, 2006, Madison, Wisconsin, p. 3.1.  American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA. 
  • Ovtchinnikov M, TP Ackerman, RT Marchand, and M Khairoutdinov. 2006. "Evaluation of the Multi-scale Modeling Framework Using Data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program." Journal of Climate 19(9):1716-1729.  doi:10.1175/JCL13699.1


  • Ovchinnikov M, and RT Marchand. 2005. "Measuring Up Virtual Clouds: A Comparison of Modeled and Observed Cloud Properties Using an Instrument Simulator Approach." In 5th International Scientific Conference on the Global Energy and Water Cycle (GEWEX), June 20-24, 2005, Costa Mesa, California.  Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment, Silver Spring, MD. 
  • Ovtchinnikov M, and SJ Ghan. 2005. "Parallel Simulations of Aerosol Influence on Clouds Using Cloud-Resolving and Single-Column Models." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 110(D15):D15S10.  doi:10.1029/2004JD005088
  • Kassianov EI, CN Long, and M Ovtchinnikov. 2005. "Cloud Sky Cover Versus Cloud Fraction: Whole-Sky Simulations and Observations." Journal of Applied Meteorology 44(1):86-98. 


  • Ovchinnikov M, TP Ackerman, RT Marchand, and M Khairoutdinov. 2004. "Evaluation of the Multi-Scale Modeling Framework using Data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program." In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Clouds and Precipitation, ed. WW Grabowski.  International Commission on Clouds and Precipitation/World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. 
  • Ovchinnikov M, TP Ackerman, RT Marchand, and M Khairoutdinov. 2004. "Testing AGCM-Predicted Cloud and Radiation Properties with ARM Data: The Super-Parameterization Approach." In Proceedings of the 15th American Meteorological Society Symposium on Global Change and Climate Variations, p. Paper No. 6.3.  American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA. 
  • Barker HW, C Pavloski, M Ovtchinnikov, and EE Clothiaux. 2004. "Assessing a Cloud Optical Depth Retrieval Algorithm with Model-Generated Data and the Frozen Turbulence Assumption." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 61(23):2951-2956. 


  • Kassianov EI, TP Ackerman, RT Marchand, and M Ovtchinnikov. 2003. "Satellite Multiangle Cumulus Geometry Retrieval: Case Study." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 108(D3):4117.  doi:10.1029/2002JD002350
  • Kassianov EI, TP Ackerman, RT Marchand, and M Ovtchinnikov. 2003. "Stochastic Radiative Transfer in Multilayer Broken Clouds. Part II: Validation Tests." Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 77(4):395-416. 


  • Mechem DB, M Ovtchinnikov, YL Kogan, AB Davis, RF Cahalan, EE Takara, and RG Ellingson. 2002. "Multi-Dimensional Broadband IR Radiative Forcing of Marine Stratocumulus in a Large Eddy Simulation Model." In AMS 11th Conference on Cloud Physics, Paper 7.1 (CD).  American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA. 

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