I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth System Science. I am an atmospheric scientist interested in the feedbacks between severe weather events and climate. The connections between multiscale severe events (including tornadoes, hurricanes, midlatitude snow storms) and the climate in which they occur is of importance to meteorologists, climate scientists and planetary scientists. In a changing climate, it is critical to accurately predict how the extremes to which we are accustomed will change in the future. The past and present climates of Earth, as well as those of other planets in our solar system, serve as physical laboratories in which we can observe a range of extreme phenomena. My work focuses on separating the physics that are fundamental to extreme events from the conditions imposed by a variety of climates. My prior research focused on applying tropical meteorology theory to giant planet dynamics. I am now increasingly interested in terrestrial problems, with an emphasis on severe events with societal impact.
The tools I use to address these questions are varied, from simple theory to complex General Circulation Models that simulate geophysical fluid dynamics. Because of the impossibility of recreating all the complexities of the atmosphere in a laboratory, my laboratory is a hierarchy of numerical models that approximate the equations of motion. Ultimately these models are tested against observations from current and past climates on Earth and other planets.
Much of my research currently focuses on hurricane dynamics that can lead to better forecasts on weather- and climate-relevant timescales. How do hurricanes modify the far environment? Can a hurricane beget another hurricane in time and space? Why are there ~90 hurricanes (tropical cyclones) globally, and not 1000? What does this tell us about hurricane packing on Earth? How will this number change in a warming world? Students interested in related questions may have the possibility of participating in a field campaign durring hurricane season in 2019. I am additionally working with a collaborator on thunderstorm and supercell dynamics research using extremely high resolution simulations.
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