Modern and Future Climate

The Climate Science Group strives to solve problems in climate on timescales from seasonal to Quaternary and beyond. We use models representing the ocean, the atmosphere, the cryosphere and the land surface, ranging from simple to complex. In addition to analyses of data from recent decades, we develop techniques to extract as much as possible from the inaccurate and sparse data of the past.
Much of our work, often in collaboration with the International Research Institute located at Lamont, has been on understanding and predicting seasonal to interannual climate variations, especially El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation, and on the impacts of such variations on agriculture and health. Our recent focus is on accounting for the startlingly abrupt changes apparent in the paleoclimate record. Could such changes occur in the near future? Our investigations of the past and the future rely heavily on our knowledge of modern climate dynamics.

Mingfang Ting
Personal Information
Mingfang
Ting
Lamont Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Adjunct Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Associate Director - Ocean and Climate Physics
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Contact Information
104C Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8374

Fax: 

(845) 365-8157

Fields of interest: 

Impact of global climate change on regional scales in terms of atmospheric stationary waves and precipitation extremes; Dynamics of the naturally occuring and anthropogenically-forced climate changes, droughts and floods circulation; Regional climate mode
Education
Ph.D.
Princeton University
1990
M.S.
Peking University
1985
B.S.
Peking University
1983
Ms. Yutian Wu, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University
Mr. Stefan Sobolowski, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
Selected Publications:
Forced and Internal 20th Century SST Trends in the North Atlantic, Ting, M.; Kushnir, Y.; Seager, R.; Li, C. Journal of Climate March/2009, Volume: 22, Issue: 6 p.: 13 (2009) 10.1175/2008JCLI2561.1
The Effect of Topography on Storm-Track Intensity in a Relatively Simple General Circulation Model, Son, S.-W.; Ting, M.; Polvani, L. M. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences February/2009, Volume: 66, Issue: 2 p.: 19 (2009) 10.1175/2008JAS2742.1
Would advance knowledge of 1930s SSTs have allowed prediction of the Dust Bowl drought?, Seager, R.;Kushnir, Y.;Ting, M.F.;Cane, M.A.;Naik, N.;Velez(Nakamura), J. Journal of Climate, Volume: 21 p.: 3261-3281. DOI: 10.1175/2007JCLI2134.1 (2008)
Model projections of an imminent transition to a more arid climate in southwestern North America, Seager, R.; Ting, M. F.; Held, I.; Kushnir, Y.; Lu, J.; Vecchi, G.; Huang, H. P.; Harnik, N.; Leetmaa, A.; Lau, N. C.; Li, C. H.; Velez, J.; Naik, N. Science May 25, Volume: 316, Issue: 5828 p.: 1181-1184 (2007) DOI 10.1126/science.1139601
Northern hemisphere winter climate variability: Response to North American snow cover anomalies and orography, Sobolowski, S.; Gong, G.; Ting, M. Geophysical Research Letters Aug 31, Volume: 34, Issue: 16 p.: - (2007) Doi 10.1029/2007gl030573
Impact of atmospheric moisture storage on precipitation recycling, Dominguez, F.; Kumar, P.; Liang, X. Z.; Ting, M. F. Journal of Climate Apr 15, Volume: 19, Issue: 8 p.: 1513-1530 (2006)
The role of the north American topography on the maintenance of the great plains summer low-level jet, Ting, M. F.; Wang, H. L. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences Mar, Volume: 63, Issue: 3 p.: 1056-1068 (2006)
Mechanisms of ENSO-forcing of hemispherically symmetric precipitation variability, Seager, R.; Harnik, N.; Robinson, W. A.; Kushnir, Y.; Ting, M.; Huang, H. P.; Velez, J. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society Apr, Volume: 131, Issue: 608 p.: 1501-1527 (2005) Doi 10.1256/Qj.04.96
The global stationary wave response to climate change in a coupled GCM, Joseph, R.; Ting, M. F.; Kushner, P. J. Journal of Climate Feb, Volume: 17, Issue: 3 p.: 540-556 (2004)
Regional climate model simulation of US precipitation during 1982-2002. Part I: Annual cycle, Liang, X. Z.; Li, L.; Kunkel, K. E.; Ting, M. F.; Wang, J. X. L. Journal of Climate Sep, Volume: 17, Issue: 18 p.: 3510-3529 (2004)
Anthony G. Barnston
Personal Information
Anthony
G.
Barnston
Lead Forecaster
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)
Contact Information
111 Monell
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 680-4447

Fax: 

(845) 680-4866
Education
MS, Atmospheric Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana
1976
MA, Psychology
University of Illinois at Urbana
1975
BA, Psychology
UCLA
1972
John C. Mutter
Personal Information
John
C.
Mutter
Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Office of the Director
Professor
Contact Information
113 Seismology
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8730

Fields of interest: 

Mid-ocean ridge and rift tectonics; natural disasters and sustainable development.

The face of the Earth is figured by continents and oceans whose present shape and positions are transients in the history of the planet. Earth is a dynamic engine of change. It is capable of tearing itself apart and has done so repeatedly throughout its history. The outer layers of the Earth are the solid thermal boundary layer of deep convective motions in the mantle and are primarily responsive to the deeper forces. Just how the Earth can tear itself apart, create new oceans by seafloor spreading, consume those oceans by subduction and continue that cycle over millions of years is an enduring quest for Earth scientists who study the solid Earth. How can we capture the true dymanics of the Earth? Seismic reflection methods enable one to "see" into the Earth but only as an instantaneous snapshot of "now". Earthquake studies monitor the present level of activity. What we are advancing toward are ways to capture the time evolution of active systems on mid-ocean ridges and rifting systems by making crude movies time lapse movies using reflection images taken at different times. These borrow old production techniques and re-form them for study of basic Earth processes.

Beyond this I am increasingly compelled to think about science and its role in the elevation of the world's poor. Science is the engine that drives economic progress in the developed world, but little science is practiced in poor countries and the benefits of our science have not come to the poor. How can science, which has brought so much to us, help elevate the poorest people on earth. With a third of the world's people living in poverty this has become an urgent question.

In my appointment at SIPA i am Director of Graduate Studies for the PhD in suatinable development. The program began in 2004 and now has 15 graduates and 32 current students.

I am particilalrly interested in the way that natural extremes that lead to disasters impact opportunities for development. I work with a development economist Sonali Deraniyagala in research and teaching on this subject. The results are surpisingly counterintuitive (one discussion is on this blog) and we are working on several publications. We recently traveled to Myanmar to study the rolke of corruption in post-disater reconstruction.

Some of my projects:

  • 3D/4D studies of mid-ocean ridge systems (see below)
  • Natural disaster and sustainable development.
  • Katrina deceased victims (see below)
  • Bamboo bikes for rural transportation in Africa (see below)
Education
Ph.D.
Columbia
1982
Master of Science
Sydney
1978
Bachelor of Science
Melbourne
1969
Selected Publications:
Seismic imaging in three dimensions on the East Pacific Rise, Mutter, J C; Carbotte, S M; Nedimovic, M; Canales, J P; Carton, H EOS, Volume: 90, Issue: 42 p.: 374-375 (2009)
Preconditions of Disaster: Promonitions of Tragedy, Mutter, J. C. Disasters:Recipes and Remedies, Volume: 75, The New School New York p.: 691-726 (2008)
Evidence for fault weakness and fluid flow within an active low-angle normal fault, Floyd, J. S.; Mutter, J. C.; Goodliffe, A. M.; Taylor, B. Nature Jun 14, Volume: 411, Issue: 6839 p.: 779-783 (2001)
Secure, Long-Term Sequestration of CO2 In Deep Saline Aquifers Associated With Oceanic and Continental Basaltic Rocks, Takahashi, T.; Goldberg, D.;Mutter, J. SRI International Symposium "Deep Sea & CO2 2000" p.: 1415 (2000)
Preconditions of Disaster: Promonitions of Tragedy, Mutter, J. C.; Carbotte, S. M.; Su, W. S.; Xu, L. Q.; Buhl, P.; Detrick, R. S.; Kent, G. M.; Orcutt, J. A.; Harding, A. J. Science Apr 21, Volume: 268, Issue: 5209 p.: 391-395 (1995)
Seismic Images of Active Magma Systems beneath the East Pacific Rise between 17-Degrees-05' and 17-Degrees-35's, , Mutter, J. C.; Carbotte, S. M.; Su, W. S.; Xu, L. Q.; Buhl, P.; Detrick, R. S.; Kent, G. M.; Orcutt, J. A.; Harding, A. J. , Volume: 268, Issue: 5209 p.: 391-395 (1995)
Kevin L. Griffin
Personal Information
Kevin
L.
Griffin
Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Biology and Paleo Environment
Contact Information
6 Marine Biology
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8371

Fax: 

(845) 365-8150

Fields of interest: 

Plant respiration; global carbon cycle; forest ecology

After more than 150 million years of isolation the podocarps that dominate the forests of the west coast of the south island of New Zealand have remarkably slow growth rates by comparison to most other forest tree species. The question is, why? In New York, the aging eastern deciduous forests continue to rapidly accumulate carbon. Could this be the result of the high levels of atmospheric N deposition this area receives? When plants are grown in elevated CO2 photosynthesis is stimulated initially but often this enhancement does not last and given time, a strong acclimation to the new growth environment can occur. Is there a reason why some plants acclimate to CO2 and others do not? Plant respiration is often thought of as the processes by which plants loose carbon during the night. How then can we estimate the contribution of respiration to the carbon balance of arctic plants which never experience night during the growing season? Plant cells from leaves of plants grown in elevated CO2 tend to have twice the number of mitochondria and chloroplast as cells from plants grown in ambient CO2. Is there a link between this structural observation and physiological function?

These are a few examples of the type of research questions my lab is currently working on. The objective of this research is to explain processes in plant and ecosystem ecology in terms of the physiological, biochemical and biophysical processes involved. Ultimately we hope to increase our understanding of both the role of the Earth's vegetation in the global carbon cycle and the interactions between the carbon cycle and the Earth's climate system.

Some of my projects include:

  • Environmental Controls on Tree Growth: A Comparison between the Cascade Brook Watershed of Black Rock Forest, NY and a Native New Zealand Forest.
  • Effects of developmental changes on the physiological processes that regulate photosynthetic responses to climate change.
  • Land-Water Interactions at the Catchment Scale: Linking Biogeochemistry and Hydrology.
Education
Ph.D.
Duke
1994
M.E.S.
Yale
1987
Bachelor of Arts
Whittier
1985
Selected Publications:
Leaf respiration is differentially affected by leaf vs. stand-level night-time warming, Griffin, K. L.; Turnbull, M.; Murthy, R.; Lin, G. H.; Adams, J.; Farnsworth, B.; Mahato, T.; Bazin, G.; Potasnak, M.; Berry, J. A. Global Change Biology May, Volume: 8, Issue: 5 p.: 479-485 (2002)
Canopy position affects the temperature response of leaf respiration in Populus deltoides, Griffin, K. L.; Turnbull, M.; Murthy, R. New Phytologist Jun, Volume: 154, Issue: 3 p.: 609-619 (2002)
Leaf dark respiration as a function of canopy position in Nothofagus fusca trees grown at ambient and elevatedCO(2) partial pressures for 5 years, Griffin, K. L.; Tissue, D. T.; Turnbull, M. H.; Schuster, W.; Whitehead, D. Functional Ecology Aug, Volume: 15, Issue: 4 p.: 497-505 (2001)
Jason E. Smerdon
Personal Information
Jason
E.
Smerdon
Lamont Associate Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
School of International & Public Affairs
Contact Information
205D Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8493

Fax: 

(845) 365-8157

Fields of interest: 

Common-Era Paleoclimatology, Climate Modeling, Statistical Climatology, Climate Variability and Change

My group’s broad objective is to characterize and understand climate variability and change on multi-decadal to centennial timescales. Climate research is limited in its ability to understand these climatic variations directly from the instrumental record because such observations are not widely available for more than about 100-150 years. To circumvent this limitation, modern instrumental records are supplemented with climatic proxy records and climate model simulations to help characterize these low-frequency modes of change. Toward such ends, my research group uses numerical models, climate proxy records and statistical methods to better understand the variability of climate over decades to centuries. We have a particular interest in how multiple climate proxies can be combined to yield hemispheric and global maps of climate variability spanning the Common Era (the last two thousand years), and how climate models represent climatic change over this time period. Please see my research and publication pages for more information on my group’s research in these areas.

Projects:

  • Spectral characteristics of climate proxies and their expression in climate field reconstructions, NOAA (Lead PI)
  • Collaborative Research: Locally-constrained climate field reconstructions of the last millennium: Methods and application, NSF (Lead PI)
  • Global Decadal Hydroclimate Predictability, Variability and Change: A Data-Enriched Modeling Study (GloDecH), NOAA, (Co PI)
Education
Ph.D., Applied Physics
University of Michigan
2004
M.S., Physics
University of Michigan
2000
B.A., Physics Major
Gustavus Adolphus College
1998
Lorenzo M. Polvani
Personal Information
Lorenzo
M.
Polvani
Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Ocean and Climate Physics
Ocean and Climate Physics
Professor
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Contact Information
207A Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964
US
(845) 365-8347

Fax: 

(845) 365-8156

Fields of interest: 

Atmospheric and climate dynamics; geophysical fluid dynamics; numerical methods for weather and climate modeling; planetary atmospheres.
Education
Ph.D. (Oceanography)
Massachussetts Institute of Technology
1988
B.Sc. (Physics)
McGill University
1981
Taro Takahashi
Personal Information
Taro
Takahashi
Ewing Lamont Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Geochemistry
Adjunct Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Contact Information
101Comer
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8537

Fax: 

(845) 365-8155

Fields of interest: 

CO2 cycling through oceans and atmosphere; industrial CO2 accumulation.

My main research is aimed at understanding the fate of industrial CO2 released in the air. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased by nearly 30% in the 1990s and it is anticipated that it will double the pre industrial level by the middle of the 21st century. This could cause a global warming and changes in climate, which may extensively impact upon the global community. The observed increase in this "greenhouse" gas in the air is half of that which is expected from the full released amount. Thus, this suggests that about one-half the industrial CO2 released is being absorbed by the global oceans and land plants. However, the relative importance of these two CO2 sinks is not understood. Furthermore, the uptake capacity of these CO2 sinks conceivably could be reduced as more CO2 accumulates in the air.

My research group measures CO2 and related quantities in the world oceans, from the Arctic to Antarctic regions, to learn how fast atmospheric CO2 is transferred into the different areas of the oceans. Seasonal and annual changes are being documented. These measurements provide basic information on how CO2 is cycled through the oceans and atmosphere and how these cycles are affected in response to industrial CO2 being accumulated at ever-increasing rates. I hope that my study will lead to a better understanding and hence to a reliable prediction of the oceans capacity to absorb industrial CO2.

Education
Ph.D.
Columbia
1957
B. Eng.
U Tokyo
1953

Pages