Physical Climate

Research Staff

Graduate Student

Student Assistant

  • Karen An
  • Jonathan De Anda
  • Elizabeth Elliott
  • Elizabeth Elliott
  • Rosemary Garcia
  • Chris Glynn
  • Alice Kim
  • Melissa Kosla
  • Amabella Lambinicio
  • Melissa Lewis
  • Catherine Liu
  • Jane Liu
  • Julianna McDonnell
  • Joshua Miu
  • Grace Mortero
  • Melissa Raymond
  • Sean Runyard
  • Natasha Sekhon
  • Michelle Serino
  • Julia Shates
  • Katherine Shover
  • Danielle Sison
  • Rachael Tan
  • William Tseng
  • Andrew Vande Guchte
  • Lauren Weisel
  • Daniel Yeo

Postdoctoral Scholar

  • Basile de Fleurian
  • Gabe Kooperman
  • Collin Lawrence
  • Houk Paek
  • Hossein Parishani
  • Graham Simpkins
  • Jian Sun
  • Yun Xu
  • Wenchang Yang

Research Topics Include:

  • Energy transport across the Earth's oceans, atmosphere, and cryosphere
  • Atmospheric, oceanic and sea ice variability
  • Ice sheet dynamics and cryospheric processes with the atmosphere and ocean
  • Atmosphere/ocean/sea-ice coupling and El Niño
  • Large-scale atmosphere and sea ice interactions
  • Arctic atmospheric variability
  • Tropical cyclones and ocean mixing
  • Aerosol and cloud microphysics and radiative forcing
  • Regional and global hydrology
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Sustainable water and energy resources
  • Coupled ocean-atmosphere processes
  • Tropical climate dynamics related to El Nino and monsoon


Recent Publications

Research Lab Description Links to more information
Hydrology & Climate Research Group and the UCCHM (Famiglietti)

Jay Famiglietti's Hydrology & Climate Research Group investigates how the water cycle and freshwater resources are being impacted by climate change. The group has developed advanced computer models and use satellite remote sensing to track water availability around the globe. They have pioneered methods using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission to identify groundwater depletion in the world’s major aquifers.

Johnson Research Group

The Johnson Research Group's primary research goal is to reconstruct past climate (paleoclimate) over the past several glacial-interglacial cycles at seasonal to millennial resolution and to compare these records with other paleoclimate data and model output. Specifically, the lab utilizes geochemical variations preserved in natural calcium carbonate archives such as speleothems (cave deposits) to construct well-dated records of past precipitation, temperature, vegetation, and/or atmospheric circulation in the tropical Indo-Pacific, the Asian monsoon region, and California.

Magnusdottir Modeling Lab

The Magnusdottir Modeling Lab focuses on atmospheric and climate dynamics. Gudrun Magnusdottir and her team use observations, as well as a hierarchy of numerical models, to study dynamical processes in the atmosphere and climate variability. The lab investigates feedback mechanisms influencing the unprecedented high-latitude trends in several climate variables over recent decades, tropical-extratropical and troposphere-stratosphere dynamical interactions, and the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) -- its variability on different timescales and what controls it in the climate system.

Pasquero Lab

Our goal is to understand the role that ocean dynamics and thermodynamics plays on the climate system.

In particular, we study how phenomena that are well localized in space and time (as tropical cyclones, deep convection, oceanic eddies) globally influence the distribution of energy on our planet. Once those mechanisms and their feedbacks on the climate system are understood, their relevance can be quantified and their role can be parameterized in larger scale models. Our main focus is on the physical characteristics of the ocean and climate system.

Primeau Modeling Lab

The Primeau Research Group is interested in the ocean's role in the climate of the Earth. The ocean plays a determining role in the variability of the climate system on inter-annual to millennial timescales. The lab uses global observations and a hierarchy of ocean models together with advanced computational and mathematical techniques to study the ocean. Francois Primeau and his team’s current research is directed in three broad areas: 1) the surface-to-surface transport and ventilation of ocean water masses; 2) inter-annual to decadal variability of the ocean's wind-driven circulation; and 3) global ocean biogeochemical cycles.

Randerson Research Group

The Randerson Research Group seeks to improve our understanding of global change in terrestrial ecosystems. They use remote sensing data, atmospheric trace gas observations, field measurements, and models in new ways to study feedbacks between terrestrial ecosystems and climate.

Rignot Research Group

The primary interest of the Rignot Research Group is to understand the interactions of ice and climate, in particular to determine how the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will respond to climate change in the coming century and how they will affect global sea level. Glaciology mixes a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. Eric Rignot and his team combine satellite remote sensing techniques (imaging radar, laser altimetry, radio echo sounding) airborne geophysical surveys, field surveys (GPR, GPS) and numerical modeling (ice sheet motion and ocean circulation near glaciers). In May 2013, the Rignot Research Group recieved a NASA award for "Ice Velocity Mapping of the Antarctic Ice Sheet," a five-year project funded that will extend funding at UC Irvine for ten years to map ice motion in Antarctica and deliver the products to the science community.

Velicogna Research Group

The focus of the Velicogna Research Group is to study the cryospheric components of the water cycle and their response to climate forcing. In particular, Isabella Velicogna and her team study the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, their contribution to sea level rise and the evolution of the Arctic water cycle in response to climate change.

Yu Modeling Lab

Research Topics Include:

  • Two Types of El Nino: Central-Pacific El Nino and Eastern-Pacific El Nino
  • A New Global Parallel and Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere GCM
  • ENSO Simulation, Dynamics, and Prediction
  • ENSO-Monsoon Interactions
  • Indian Ocean Zonal Mode
  • Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)
  • Tropical Instability Waves (TIW)
  • Tropical-Extratropical Interactions
  • Cloud-Radiation Feedback
  • Jetstream and Stormtrack Vacillation
  • Regional Climate Variations
Zender Research Group

The Zender Research Group studies the microphysics of trace gas, aerosol, and surface interactions with Earth's radiative, thermodynamic, and chemical processes. Charles Zender and his team develop and refine the representation of these processes to improve climate prediction. Model simulations, combined with lab, field, and satellite data, help them predict and attribute features of climate and climate change. Current research includes mineral dust and carbonaceous aerosols, snow lifecycle and albedo, aerosol impacts on ocean biogeochemistry, wind-driven surface energy/mass exchange, climate-disease links, and super-dooper-big-scale data analysis. The team's aerosol, radiative transfer, and data processing models are freely available and are used by geoscientists world-wide.

Pritchard Lab
The Pritchard Lab's expertise is in next generation climate simulation, focusing on the physics of cloud-related processes in the virtual atmosphere. Mike Pritchard and his team apply a range of traditional and experimental new approaches to study the global atmosphere in a virtual laboratory. These include conventional global climate models and experimental approaches such as "superparameterized" prototype global models.
Morlighem Research Group