Mike Mills

Dr. Michael J. Mills

Project Scientist
WACCM Liaison

National Center for Atmsopheric Research (NCAR)
NCAR Earth System Laboratory (NESL)
Atmospheric Chemistry Division (ACD)
Staff page
(303) 497-1425

WACCM Resources

WACCM Homepage
WACCM Support Forum

Research Interests

My research has focused on modeling the chemistry and microphysics of the middle atmosphere, which affect the ozone layer and our climate. My recent published work has shown how firestorms resulting from a limited, regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan could produce global ozone losses of 20%-50% over populated areas, levels unprecedented in human history, accompanied by the coldest average surface temperatures in the last 1000 years, persisting for decades. My previous work showed how black carbon emissions from planned suborbital rocket launches for space tourism and scientific research could alter the radiative balance of the Earth, change stratospheric circulation, redistribute stratospheric ozone, and alter surface temperatures. Other work suggested that high-energy cosmic rays from dense interstellar clouds caused catastrophic ozone depletion and mass extinctions in the past, during periods of magnetic reversal on Earth. As a graduate student, I helped develop a semi-empirical method for evaluating ozone depletion potentials, which helped insure that the dramatic depletions in ozone at the Earth's poles are correctly accounted for in evaluating substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol protecting the ozone layer. My work has taken me below the Antarctic Circle and above the Arctic Circle.

Selected Publications

"Global volcanic aerosol properties derived from emissions, 1990-2014, using CESM1(WACCM)," M.J. Mills, A. Schmidt, R. Easter, S. Solomon, D.E. Kinnison, S.J. Ghan, R.R. Neely III, D.R. Marsh, A. Conley, C.G. Bardeen, and A. Gettelman, Submitted to JGR Atmospheres, September 2015; revised December 2015 and February 2016.
Article (3.8MB)           Supplementary Material (592KB)           Model output doi:10.5065/D6S180JM

"Multi-decadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a regional nuclear conflict," M.J. Mills, O. B. Toon, J. Lee-Taylor, and A. Robock, Earth's Future, 2 doi:10.1002/2013EF000205, 2014. Article (2.4MB)
Related presentation: Global Famine after a Regional Nuclear War: Overview of recent Research Powerpoint (63MB), Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Implications of Nuclear Weapons, December 2014.

"The global extent of the mid stratospheric CN layer: a three-dimensional modeling study," Campbell, P., M. Mills, and T. Deshler, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2013JD020503, 2014, Article (5.1MB)

"Microphysical simulations of large volcanic eruptions: Pinatubo and Toba," English, J. M., O. B. Toon, and M. J. Mills, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, 1-16, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50196, 2013, Article (3.1MB)

"Climate change from 1850 to 2005 simulated in CESM1(WACCM)," D. R. Marsh, M. J. Mills, D. E. Kinnison, J.-F. Lamarque, N. Calvo, and L. M. Polvani, Journal of Climate, 26(19), doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00558.1, 2013, Article (2.1MB)

"Recent anthropogenic increases in SO2 from Asia have minimal impact on stratospheric aerosol," Neely, R.R., III, O.B. Toon, S. Solomon, J.-P. Vernier, C. Alvarez, J.M. English, K.H. Rosenlof, M.J. Mills, C.G. Bardeen, J.S. Daniel, and J.P. Thayer, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 999-1004, doi:10.1002/grl.50263, 2013, Article (0.3MB) Supplement (0.7MB)

"Reconciling modeled and observed temperature trends over Antarctica," Calvo, N., R. R. Garcia, D. R. Marsh, M. J. Mills, D. E. Kinnison, and P. J. Young, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L16803, doi:10.1029/2012GL052526, 2012.

"Microphysical simulations of sulfur burdens from stratospheric sulfur geoengineering," English, J.M., O.B. Toon, and M.J. Mills, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 4775-4793, doi:10.5194/acp-12-4775-2012, 2012.

"Microphysical simulations of new particle formation in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere," English, J. M., O. B. Toon, M. J. Mills, and F. Yu, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 9303-9322, doi:10.5194/acp-11-9303-2011, 2011.

"Potential climate impact of black carbon emitted by rockets," M. Ross, M. Mills, and D. Toohey, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L24810, doi:10.1029/2010GL044548, 2010. Article (14MB) Auxiliary figures (12MB) Auxiliary animation (11MB)

"Intra-seasonal variability of polar mesospheric clouds due to inter-hemispheric coupling," B. Karlsson, C. E. Randall, S. Benze, M. Mills, V. L. Harvey, S. M. Bailey, and J. M. Russell III, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L20802, doi:10.1029/2009GL040348, 2009.

"Massive global ozone loss predicted following regional nuclear conflict," M.J. Mills, O.B. Toon, R.P. Turco, D.E. Kinnison, R.R. Garcia, PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.0710058105, 2008. Full Text (PDF, 2.8MB) /Figures (PDF, 1.5 MB)

"The mesospheric sulfate aerosol layer," M.J. Mills, O.B. Toon, G.E. Thomas, J. Geophys. Res. 110 (D24208), doi:10.1029/2005JD006242, 2005.

"Mystery of the volcanic mass-independent sulfur isotope fractionation signature in the Antarctic ice core," A.A. Pavlov, M.J. Mills, O.B. Toon, Geophys. Res. Lett. 32 (L12816), doi:10.1029/2005GL022784, 2005.

"Photolysis of sulfuric acid vapor by visible light as a source of the polar stratospheric CN layer," Mills, M.J., O.B. Toon, V. Vaida, P. E. Hintze, H.G. Kjaergaard, D.P. Schofield and T.W. Robinson, J. Geophys. Res. 110 (D08201), doi:10.1029/2004JD005519, 2005.

"Catastrophic ozone loss during passage of the Solar system through an interstellar cloud," A.A. Pavlov, A.K. Pavlov, M.J. Mills, V.M. Ostryakov, G.I. Vasilyev, Owen B. Toon, Geophys. Res. Lett. 32 (L01815), doi:10.1029/2004GL021601, 2005.

"A 2D microphysical model of the polar stratospheric CN layer," M.J. Mills, O.B. Toon, and S. Solomon, Geophys. Res. Lett. 26 (8), 1133-1136, 1999. Abstract + article

Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosol: A Microphysical Model, M.J. Mills, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Colorado, 1996. PDF (3.2MB)

"Do Hydrofluorocarbons Destroy Stratospheric Ozone?," A.R. Ravishankara, A.A. Turnipseed, N.R. Jensen, S. Barone, M.J. Mills, C.J. Howard and S. Solomon, Science, 263, 71-75, 1994. Abstract / PDF

"On the relationship between stratospheric aerosols and nitrogen dioxide," M.J. Mills, A. O. Langford, T.J. O'Leary, K. Arpag, H.L. Miller, M.H. Proffitt, R.W. Sanders and S. Solomon, Geophys. Res. Lett. 20, 1187-1190, 1993. Abstract + article

"Atmospheric lifetimes and ozone depletion potentials of methyl bromide (CH3Br) and dibromomethane (CH2Br2)," A. Mellouki, R.K. Talukdar, A. Schmoltner, T. Gierczak, M.J. Mills, S. Solomon, and A.R. Ravishankara, Geophys. Res. Lett., 19, 2059-2062, 1992. Abstract + article

"On the age of stratospheric air and ozone depletion potentials in polar regions," W.H. Pollock, L.E. Heidt, R.A. Lueb, J.F. Vedder, M.J. Mills, and S. Solomon, J. Geophys. Res., 97, 12993-12999, 1992. Abstract + article

"On the evaluation of ozone depletion potentials," S. Solomon, M.J. Mills, L.E. Heidt, W.H. Pollock and A. F. Tuck, J. Geophys. Res. 97, 825-842, 1992. Abstract + article