Climate Dynamics: An Introduction

Caltech’s Climate Dynamics Group studies atmospheric dynamics, both here on Earth and on other planets, on scales from clouds to the globe.

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 with numerical models, with which we simulate flows ranging from the meter-scale motions in clouds to global circulations. Thanks to the availability of unprecedented observations from space and ever increasing computational power, 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.

We strive to translate scientific discoveries into improved models for weather forecasting and climate prediction. The same observations and numerical tools that enable new scientific discoveries have the potential to transform modeling of the climate system. We are contributing to the development of next-generation models and model components that will allow us to predict the climate system more accurately.

Recent Publications

  • Schneider, T. 2017: Feedback of atmosphere-ocean coupling on shifts of the Intertropical Convergence ZoneGeophysical Research Letters, 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL075817.
    [PDF] [Official version]

  • 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]

  • 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, in press.

  • Schneider, T., J. Teixeira, C. S. Bretherton, F. Brient, K. G. Pressel, C. Schär, and A. P. Siebesma, 2017: Climate goals and computing the future of clouds. Nature Climate Change, 7, 3-5.
    [Official version] [Free view-only version]