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.

Michela Biasutti
Personal Information
Michela
Biasutti
Lamont Associate Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Contact Information
206B Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8512

Fax: 

(845) 365-8157

Fields of interest: 

Tropical Climate: dynamics of ITCZs and monsoons. Past and future anthropogenic climate change, especially over Africa. Adaptation to climate change in developing countries.

I am interested in atmospheric and climate dynamics. My focus is on the climate of the Tropics, in particular on what controls the location and intensity of rainfall, both over the ocean and over land. A proper understanding of mechanisms is both the mean and the end in studying climate change in the past and the future.

Education
Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences
University of Washington, Seattle
2003
MS in Atmospheric Sciences
University of Washington, Seattle
2000
Laurea in Fisica (cum laude)
Universita` degli studi di Trieste, Italy
1995
Selected Publications:
Delayed seasonal cycle and African monsoon in a warmer climate, Biasutti, M; Sobel, A H Geophysical Research Letters, Volume: 36 p.: L23707 (2009)
SST forcings and Sahel rainfall variability in simulations of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Biasutti, M.; Held, I. M.; Sobel, A. H.; Giannini, A. Journal of Climate Jul 15, Volume: 21, Issue: 14 p.: 3471-3486 (2008) Doi 10.1175/2007jcli1896.1
A climate model-based review of drought in the Sahel: Desertification, the re-greening and climate change, Giannini, A.; Biasutti, M.; Verstraete, M. M. Global and Planetary Change Dec, Volume: 64, Issue: 3-4 p.: 119-128 (2008) DOI 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.05.004
AGCM precipitation biases in the tropical Atlantic, Biasutti, M.; Sobel, A. H.; Kushnir, Y. Journal of Climate Mar 15, Volume: 19, Issue: 6 p.: 935-958 (2006)
Robust Sahel drying in response to late 20th century forcings, Biasutti, M.; Giannini, A. Geophysical Research Letters Jun 8, Volume: 33, Issue: 11 p.: - (2006) Doi 10.1029/2006gl026067
Michael Previdi
Personal Information
Michael
Previdi
Lamont Assistant Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Contact Information
213 Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8631

Fax: 

(845) 365-8157

Fields of interest: 

climate dynamics, climate change, hydrological cycle

My research interests fall under the broad heading of climate dynamics. Currently, I am working to better understand i) the dynamic and thermodynamic controls of the atmospheric water cycle in present-day and future climates, and ii) the atmosphere/ocean effects of annular mode/North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) variability.

Education
Ph.D., Environmental Sciences
Rutgers University
01/2006
B.S., Meteorology
Rutgers University
05/2001
Selected Publications:
Radiative Feedbacks on Global Precipitation, Previdi, M. Environmental Research Letters 05/2010, Volume: 5 (2010) doi:10.1088/1748-9326/5/2/025211
Do Models and Observations Disagree on the Rainfall Response to Global Warming?, Liepert, B. G.; Previdi, M. Journal of Climate Jun, Volume: 22, Issue: 11 p.: 3156-3166 (2009) Doi 10.1175/2008jcli2472.1
Interannual variability in atmospheric CO2 uptake on the northeast US continental shelf, Previdi, M; Fennel, K; Wilkin, J; Haidvogel, D J Geophys Res, Volume: 114 p.: 101029/2008JG000881 (2009)
Interdecadal variability of rainfall on a warming planet, Previdi, M.; Liepert, B. G. Eos Trans. AGU 05/2008, Volume: 89 p.: 193, 195 (2008) doi:10.1029/2007ES002028
Denitrification effects on air-sea CO2 flux in the coastal ocean: Simulations for the northwest North Atlantic, Fennel, K.; Wilkin, J.; Previdi, M.; Najjar, R. Geophysical Research Letters Dec 27, Volume: 35, Issue: 24 p.: - (2008) Doi 10.1029/2008gl036147
EASTERN US CONTINENTAL SHELF CARBON BUDGET Integrating Models, Data Assimilation, and Analysis, Hofmann, E.; Druon, J. N.; Fennel, K.; Friedrichs, M.; Haidvogel, D.; Lee, C.; Mannino, A.; McClain, C.; Najjar, R.; O'Reilly, J.; Pollard, D.; Previdi, M.; Seitzinger, S.; Siewert, J.; Signorini, S.; Wilkin, J.; Team, USECoS Oceanography Mar, Volume: 21, Issue: 1 p.: 86-104 (2008)
Annular modes and Hadley cell expansion under global warming, Previdi, M.; Liepert, B. G. Geophysical Research Letters Nov 17, Volume: 34, Issue: 22 p.: - (2007) Doi 10.1029/2007gl031243
North Atlantic cloud cover response to the North Atlantic Oscillation and relationship to surface temperature changes, Previdi, M.; Veron, D. E. Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume: 112, Issue: D07104 (2007) doi:10.1029/2006JD007516
Richard Seager
Personal Information
Richard
Seager
Palisades Geophysical Institute/Lamont Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Contact Information
105B Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8743

Fax: 

(845) 365-8157

Fields of interest: 

My interests are in climate variability and change on timescales of seasons to millennia and in particular the causes of multiyear droughts around the world and how climate change will impact global hydroclimate. I analyze observations, proxy climate rec

I am currently the Palisades Geophysical Institute/Lamont Research Professor at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, New York. I gained my undergraduate degree at Liverpool University in England and came to the United States in 1983 as a graduate student at Columbia. My Ph. D work was completed in 1990 under the supervision of Professor Mark Cane and Dr. Steve Zebiak and involved using tropical atmosphere and ocean models to understand key features of the tropical climate. In 1991-2 I completed a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Washington before returning to Lamont, this time to stay.

Throughout my career I have used numerical models, observations and proxy reconstructions of past climates to understand the physical mechanisms responsible for climate variability and change on seasonal to glacial-interglacial timescales. I have a particular interest in how the variation of the tropical atmosphere-ocean system organize climate on a global scale. I have also studied the reasons why the mean climate of the planet is the way it is and why Europe has mild winters, why there is a tropical Pacific warm pool, why there are subtropical anticyclones etc. My recent work has focused on the mechanisms of persistent North American drought and its relation to tropical Pacific and tropical Atlantic Ocean temperature variations. This work has led me into studies of Medieval megadroughts in the American West and studies of the hydrological future of the West.

Education
PhD
Columbia University
1990
MA
Columbia University
1985
B.Sc
Liverpool Unversity
1983
M.Phil
Columbia University
1990
Lisa M. Goddard
Personal Information
Lisa
M.
Goddard
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)
Director
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)
Senior Research Scientist
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)
Adjunct Associate Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Contact Information
128 Monell
61 Route 9W
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 680-4430

Fax: 

(845) 680-4865

Fields of interest: 

Tropical Oceanography, Climate Modeling, Paleoclimate, Impacts of Climate on Society, El Niño forecasting, DataAnalysis Methods.
Education
Ph.D.
Princeton University
1995
Master of Arts
Princeton University
1992
Bachelor of Arts
University of California, Berkeley
1988
Mark A. Cane
Personal Information
Mark
A.
Cane
G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Ocean and Climate Physics
Contact Information
105B Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8344

Fax: 

(845) 365-8157

Fields of interest: 

Tropical Oceanography, Climate Modeling, Paleoclimate, Impacts of Climate on Society, El Niño forecasting, DataAnalysis Methods.

Like so many other oceanographers, I was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the days before the Dodgers left and precipitated the decline of American civilization. I was lucky enough to work on the tropical oceans in the era when we came to understand and predict El Niño and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the now famous pattern of interannual climate variability with well-publicized global consequences. Together with then student Steve Zebiak, I devised the first numerical model able to simulate ENSO, and in 1985 we used this model to make the first physically based forecasts of El Niño. Over the years the Zebiak-Cane model has been the primary tool used by many investigators to enhance understanding of ENSO.

Making predictions led to asking what to do with them. So I began to work on the impact of El Niño and other climate variability on human activity, especially agriculture and health. My 1994 paper (with student Gidon Eshel) on the strong effect of El Niño on the maize crop in Zimbabwe has been influential in prompting decision makers to consider climate variability. This line of inquiry led to the creation of the International Research Institute for Seasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction, housed here at Lamont.

While I continue to work on numerical models, equatorial dynamics, El Niño, prediction of climate variations and climate impacts, and global climate issues, my main interests at present are explaining the variations in the paleoclimate record, especially the astoundingly strong abrupt changes and the succession of droughts over the past millennium.

Some of my projects include:

Education
Ph.D.
MIT
1975
Master of Arts
1966
Bachelor of Arts
Harvard
1965
Douglas G. Martinson
Personal Information
Douglas
G.
Martinson
Lamont Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Adjunct Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Contact Information
105 Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8830

Fax: 

(845) 365-8157

Fields of interest: 

Oceans and their role in climate; onset and termination of ice ages.

I wanted to be an oceanographer ever since my first visit to the ocean near Carmel
The research includes both modeling and observational studies in polar regions

Education
Ph.D.
Columbia
1982
Master of Arts
Columbia
1979
Bachelor of Science
Cal State
1976
Adam H. Sobel
Personal Information
Adam
H.
Sobel
Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Ocean and Climate Physics
Ocean and Climate Physics
Professor
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Contact Information
206C Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
(845) 365-8527

Fax: 

(845) 365-8157

Fields of interest: 

Atmospheric and climate dynamics, tropical meteorology.

In the extratropical latitudes (where, for example, Columbia University is located) we have a fairly good understanding of the basic dynamical processes that control the atmosphere's behavior. This understanding has two manifestations. With sophisticated numerical models, we can predict the extratropical weather fairly well, up to a week ahead or so. We also have much simpler mathematical models which, though not accurate enough to produce good weather forecasts, capture the basic dynamics of the atmosphere and can at least qualitatively simulate the important phenomena such as winter storms, fronts, waves in the jet stream, etc. These simpler models are derived as approximations to the full equations of atmospheric motion and energy. They form the core of our understanding and guide us as we analyze both observations and numerical simulations of the extratropical atmosphere. 

The atmosphere behaves differently in the tropics than in the extratropics, and is less well understood. Weather forecasts are considerably less accurate in the tropics, and many of the largest uncertainties in our simulations of the global climate are related to gaps in our understanding of tropical atmospheric processes. In particular, we do not understand, in a wide range of circumstances, what controls where and when rain falls in the tropics. This lack of understanding and predictive capability is expressed by our lack of simple mathematical models for the tropics that combine economy and correctness as successfully as the simple extratropical models do. 

My research efforts are focused on improving our understanding of tropical dynamics.  I focus to a large extent on what controls rainfall patterns and their variability on time scales of days to decades.  My associates and I use mathematical models of varying degrees of complexity for this purpose.  Some can be solved with pencil and paper, and some (more typically) require powerful computers.  We also analyze observational data, which is important to keep a theoretical and modeling research program grounded in reality.

Some of my projects include:

  • Madden-Julian Oscillation (including DYNAMO field program, see maddenjulianconversation.blogspot.com)
  • Tropical cyclones and climate
  • African drought
  • Circulation and seasonal cycle changes under global warming
  • Atmospheric water vapor
Education
PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
02/1998
Selected Publications:
Rain on small tropical islands, Sobel, A. H.; Burleyson, C. D.; Yuter, S. E. Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume: 116 (2011) 10.1029/2010JD014695
Response of convection to relative sea surface temperature: Cloud-resolving simulations in two and three dimensions, Wang., S.; Sobel, A. H. Journal of Geophysical Research, Issue: 116 (2011) 10.1029/2010JD015347
A systematic relationship between intraseasonal variability and mean state bias in AGCM simulations, Kim, D.; Sobel, A. H.; Maloney, E. D.; Frierson, D. M. W.; Kang, I.-S. Journal of Climate, Volume: 24 p.: 5506-5520 (2011)
Delayed seasonal cycle and African monsoon in a warmer climate, Biasutti, M; Sobel, A H Geophysical Research Letters, Volume: 36 p.: L23707 (2009)
A global perspective on African climate, Giannini, A.; Biasutti, M.; Held, I. M.; Sobel, A. H. Climatic Change Oct, Volume: 90, Issue: 4 p.: 359-383 (2008) DOI 10.1007/s10584-008-9396-y
The role of surface fluxes in tropical intraseasonal oscillations, Sobel, A. H.; Maloney, E. D.; Bellon, G.; Frierson, D. M. W. Nature Geoscience, Volume: 1 p.: 653-657 (2008)
Use of a genesis potential index to diagnose ENSO effects on tropical cyclone genesis, Camargo, S.J.; Emanuel, K.A.; Sobel, A.H. Journal of Climate, Volume: 20 p.: 4819-4834 (2007)
Influence of western North Pacific tropical cyclones on their large-scale environment, Sobel, A. H.; Camargo, S. J. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences Sep, Volume: 62, Issue: 9 p.: 3396-3407 (2005)
Western North Pacific tropical cyclone intensity and ENSO, Camargo, S.J.; Sobel, A.H. Journal of Climate Aug 1, Volume: 18, Issue: 15 p.: 2996-3006 (2005)
A simple time-dependent model of SST hot spots, Sobel, A. H.; Gildor, H. Journal of Climate Dec, Volume: 16, Issue: 23 p.: 3978-3992 (2003)
The Hadley circulation and the weak temperature gradient approximation, Polvani, L. M.; Sobel, A. H. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences May 15, Volume: 59, Issue: 10 p.: 1744-1752 (2002)
The weak temperature gradient approximation and balanced tropical moisture waves, Sobel, A. H.; Nilsson, J.; Polvani, L. M. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Volume: 58, Issue: 23 p.: 3650-3665 (2001)

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