Climate Dynamics: An Introduction

Caltech’s Climate Dynamics Group studies atmospheric dynamics both here on Earth and on other planets.

We aim to elucidate fundamental questions about climate such as, What controls the surface temperatures and winds? What shapes rainfall patterns? Where and when do clouds form in the atmosphere?

To answer such questions, we analyze observational data and perform systematic studies of atmospheric dynamics with numerical models, with which we simulate flows ranging from meter-scale motions in clouds to the thousands of kilometers of circulations spanning the globe.

Thanks to the availability of unprecedented atmospheric data – obtained, for example, from space-based platforms – and to the increasing maturity of numerical models, ours is the age in which the physical laws that govern climate as an aggregate system will likely be discovered. Our goal is to contribute to that discovery.

Recent Publications

  • Schneider, T. 2017: Feedback of atmosphere-ocean coupling on shifts of the Intertropical Convergence ZoneGeophysical Research Letters, submitted.

  • Wills, R. C., X. J. Levine and T. Schneider, 2017: Local energetic constraints on Walker circulation strength. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 74, 1907-1922.
    [PDF] [Official Version]

  • Ferreira, D., P. Cessi, H. Coxall, A. de Boer, H. A. Dijkstra, S. S. Drijfhout, T. Eldevik, N. Harnik, J. F. McManus, D. P. Marshall, J. Nilsson, F. Roquet, T. Schneider, R. C. Wills, 2017: Atlantic-Pacific asymmetry in deep water formation. Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences, submitted.

  • Lu, J. and T. Schneider, 2017: Evolving perspectives on abrupt seasonal changes of the general circulation. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences34, 1185–1194. [In Special Issue Commemorating the Centenary of Duzheng YE’s Birth.]
    [PDF] [Official version]

  • Pressel, K. G., S. Mishra, T. Schneider, C. M. Kaul, Z. Tan, 2017: Numerics and subgrid-scale modeling in large eddy simulations of stratocumulus clouds. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 9, 1342-1365, doi: 10.1002/2016MS000778.
    [PDF][Official Version]