Department of Atmospheric Sciences | University of Illinois

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somnath baidya roy

Somnath comes to Illinois with experiences in several academic disciplines and departments from around the world. He received his B.Sc. from Presidency College in Calcutta, India, his M.Sc. from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India and his Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Since completing his Ph.D., he has worked in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University and in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University.

Somnath's research interests in land-atmosphere interactions and regional climate modeling integrate his background in physics with his interest in environmental science and involve real-world issues with significant policy relevance. He is studying issues such as deforestation in Rondonia Brazil, impacts of varying land use in the U.S., and the North American Monsoon. Forexample, as part of the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), Somnath used a high-resolution climate model to show that the unique spatial pattern of land surface heterogeneity produced by rampant clear cutting along an expanding road network could trigger mesoscale circulations leading to more clouds and rain over the cleared patches. More recently he has collaborated with ecologists and economists to look at the impacts of biological carbon sequestration using tree plantations. Plantations are cheap and efficient carbon sinks that figure prominently in all greenhouse gas mitigation schemes. Somnath showed that large plantations could affect regional climate and soil and water quality. In yet another project, Somnath showed that turbulence generated in the wake of the turbine rotors in wind farms can significantly affect surface temperature and humidity, and that these effects can be minimized by using low-turbulence rotors that are economically efficient because they harness energy otherwise lost to turbulence.

Somnath believes that the most important quality he brings to the Department of Atmospheric Science is his exposure and experience in multidisciplinary environments. This will be a key factor in his research on the hydrologic cycle and its relationship to the human environment. He is very happy to be in an intellectually exciting environment, with opportunities for collaboration with scientists driven by a common vision.

Assistant Professor
Office: 209 Atmospheric Sciences
Phone: (217) 244-1123
E-mail: sbroy at
Web Site
Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D. Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University
  • M.Sc. (Environmental Sciences) Jawharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  • B.Sc. (Honours in Physics) Presidency College, Calcutta, India