Climate Dynamics Group
at the University of California, Santa Cruz

polar-amplification

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Since the 1970s, simulations of climate change forced by increased CO2 concentrations have predicted warming that is greatest in polar regions. This polar-amplified warming has been variously attributed to the ice-albedo feedback, associated with the retreat of reflective sea ice in summer; the lapse rate feedback, associated with vertically nonuniform atmospheric warming in winter; and changes in energy transport by atmospheric circulations. Uncertainty in projections of Arctic climate change arise in part from incomplete understanding of the interconnected nature of these processes, which we strive to disentangle through creative modeling experiments and novel statistical techniques.

A random sample of the projects from this collective includes:

circulations-transport

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Spatial patterns of feedbacks interact with one another and with the dynamical components of the atmosphere and ocean circulations. Hence, a valuable perspective on changes in large-scale atmospheric circulations is afforded by decomposing the atmospheric energy budget into energy flux changes (radiative forcing, feedbacks, and ocean heat uptake) and diagnosing the implied changes in poleward energy transports. These energy-transport changes in turn manifest in the changing atmospheric circulations, such as the magnitude and structure of the tropical Hadley circulation, the Intertropical Convergence Zone, and the midlatitude storm tracks, which are fundamental controls on regional climate and the hydrological cycle.

A random sample of the projects from this collective includes:

feedbacks-sensitivity

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Uncertainty in the spatial pattern of climate change is dominated by divergent predictions among climate models. Model differences are closely linked to their representation of climate feedbacks, that is, the additional radiative fluxes that are caused by changes in clouds, water vapor, surface albedo, and other factors, in response to an external climate forcing. Progress in constraining this uncertainty is therefore predicated on understanding how patterns of individual climate feedbacks aggregate into a regional and global climate response.

A random sample of the projects from this collective includes:

serious-games

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Serious Games for Climate Change is a research cluster at the nexus of game design, climate science, and learning science. In collaboration with Elizabeth Swensen (Department of Performance, Play & Design), we seek to leverage the power of both games and models to promote the learning of complex topics through experimentation and play. Games additionally hold promise as tools for social empowerment, inspiring agency to advance climate solutions.

A random sample of the projects from this collective includes: