The Climate Dynamics Group at the University of California, Santa Cruz is led by Prof. Nicole Feldl1. Our research of the global physical climate focuses on the coupled system comprised of the atmosphere, ocean, and cryosphere. We seek to understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying large-scale climate changes, such as Arctic-amplified warming. We investigate how uncertainty in model representations of radiative feedbacks translates into uncertainty in regional and global climate predictions. We explore how changes in energy transport by atmospheric circulations manifest variously from the tropics to poles. We trace the atmospheric moisture carried by circulations, and evaporated from a warmer surface, to elucidate the changing hydrological cycle and patterns of precipitation.
To carry out our investigations, we use a combination of hierarchical numerical modeling, theory, and observational data analysis. Our models range from simple energy balance models, to aquaplanet models with full-complexity atmospheres but devoid of continents, to the most sophisticated class of coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models. Theories addressed at understanding atmospheric dynamics help us interpret changes in past, present, and future climates.