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Science Tonight: Dusty Clouds at the Rainforest

  • Thursday, June 24, 2021
  • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Carlos Valle Diaz

Dr. Carlos Valle Díaz is an atmospheric scientist who has studied the interactions of African dust with the rainforest of Puerto Rico. Dr. Valle Díaz teaches at Coastal Carolina Community College and has a YouTube channel dedicated to sharing atmospheric science and raising the visibility of minorities in STEM as a Latino and LGBT scientist. Join us!

Every summer, tropical montane cloud forests (TMCFs) of the Caribbean receive African dust transported over the Atlantic Ocean. TMCFs are known for their vital role in the provision of freshwater, as hotspots of biodiversity associated with very high levels of endemism, and for their high vulnerability to human activities and climate change. These dust events can potentially affect the physical and chemical properties of cloudwater and rainwater that interact with these sensitive ecosystems. Thus, it was of high interest to design field and modeling studies in collaboration with national and international research institutions at El Yunque National Rainforest (Luquillo, Puerto Rico) to understand the aerosol-cloud interactions occurring in TMCFs. The objectives of the project focused on three things: (1) determining the origin of air masses influencing the rainforest; (2) determining the aerosol-cloud-rain chemistry in the rainforest during dust and non-dust events and correlate it with cloud microphysical properties; and (3) using a numerical model to investigate the potential link of African dust events and precipitation in the Caribbean.

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Tonight’s guest

Carlos J. Valle Díaz was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He got his bachelor’s degree in chemistry (2009) and PhD in analytical chemistry (2017) from the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras. Working at an atmospheric chemistry lab, his thesis project was related to evaluating the impact of long-range transported African dust on the cloud physics and chemistry at El Yunque National Rainforest. He moved to North Carolina in 2016 to pursue a career as an educator and science communicator. Currently, he teaches chemistry at Coastal Carolina Community College, and during his free time, he flexes his creative muscle through social media (e.g., YouTube, TikTok and Instagram) to teach topics related to the Atmospheric Sciences. His TikTok, Instagram and Twitter handle is @drcjvallediaz.

Please note all programs are in Eastern Time Zone (US and Canada).

Science Tonight is a livestream show for curious minds. Host Chris Smith talks with interesting people making exciting, everyday discoveries in science, nature, tech and more. Watch every Thursday night to grow your brain and get the latest stories in the science world.


June 24, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


NC United States


Chris Smith