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My research centers on improving our physical understanding of climate variability and climate change to improve prediction on all time scales. For the pressing concerns of greenhouse-gas induced climate change, we recognize that knowledge of rates of climate change and potential abrupt climate change mechanisms is as important as knowledge of the magnitude of climate change. Currently, we emphasize applications over Africa, South America, and the land areas surrounding the Gulf of Mexico (central U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America).
A graduate program in Climate System Science within the Jackson School of Geosciences began in 2008. I encourage prospective graduate students and postdocs to contact me for more information, and to express your interest.
We are developing methodology for using regional models to advance our basic understanding of how climate works and to produce climate change predictions. We are building a coupled atmosphere/ocean/vegetation regional climate model for these applications. Confidence in the simulations and predictions from the regional models depends on an in-depth understanding of physical processes.
An overview of some recent and current research projects:
West African monsoon: We study the basic dynamics of the West African monsoon, and the processes that cause its variability on all time scales. Here is a study of the dynamics of the West African westerly jet.
East African rainfall: What determines seasonal and interannual variations in rainfall over the Greater Horn of Africa, and how might these processes change in the future?
The African Humid Period: About 6,000 -8,000 years ago, the climate of northern Africa was much wetter than today. A short piece on the green Sahara of the African Humid period.
21st century climate change over northern Africa: Here is a regional climate change projection.
South American Climate
South America during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; about 21,000 years ago). The Amazon basin climate was dryer due to a delayed monsoon onset. How did this effect the Amazon rainforest?
Climate change in the Amazon basin: How, why and when will the vegetation change? Will changes in the large-scale tropical circulation impact rainforest climates worldwide?
How do African easterly waves develop into hurricanes?
For more details, please see the publications from our group.