Research Group Members

I am a Professor in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I am also the Director of the Nelson Institute’s Center for Climatic Research, co-director of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI), and a former Bryson Distinguished Professor of Climate, People, and the Environment.

I joined the faculty in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2003. I have a broad set of research interests that generally focus on understanding mechanisms of climate variability and climate change, interactions between weather and climate, and global and regional impacts of climate change. In support of these research interests I use observational analyses, designed experiments using models of varying complexity, simple and advanced statistical techniques, and theoretical analyses. In my role as co-chair of WICCI, I also am interested in organizational structures that enable sustainable management within complex adaptive systems (how’s that for buzzwords?)

I received my Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2002 under the direction of David Battisti and Ed Sarachik. After a brief post-doctoral appointment at the Joint Institute for Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) and the Columbia University Earth Institute I came to UW-Madison where I joined the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the Nelson Institute’s Center for Climatic Research. I was promoted to Associate Professsor in 2011 and to Full Professor in 2016. At UW - Madison I have developed both an independent research program and a number of collaborative efforts with scientists in and outside of Madison.

Full Curriculum Vitae (PDF version)


Ross Dixon (Ph.D. Track, with Matt Hitchmann): Model simulation of the Saharan Heat Low.


Sarah Larson (NOAA Climate and Global Change Post-Doctoral Research Associate): Tropical coupled variability, and mean state biases in GCMs.


Cristian Martinez-Villalobos (Ph.D. Track): Interaction between Meridional Modes and the tropical mean state. Estimation of Multiplicative Noise in Linear Inverse Modeling using higher order moments.


Erin Thomas (Ph.D. Track): Dynamics of Meridional Mode / ENSO interactions. Dynamical analysis of conditions leading to Central and East Pacific ENSO events.


Brian Zimmerman: Hydrological predictability during different phases of ENSO. Microclimatic conditions that influence apple farming in Wisconsin.

Hannah Barnes (Undergraduate Research advisor, 2009-2010): Characterizing biases in NHC tropical cyclone forecasts.
Current Position: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Ph.D. with R. Houze, U. Washington)

Nicole Colasacco-Thumm (M.S. 2015): An investigation of surface heat fluxes during El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) evolution in Reanalyses

Anne Sophie Daloz (Post Doc 2012-2014): Atlantic climate variability and tropical cyclones.
Current Position: Scientist at SSEC

Sharon Delcambre (Jaffe) (Ph.D. 2012): Jet Stream Portrayal in Present and Future Climate Model Simulations.
Current Position: Adjunct Professor, Concordia College and University of Washington - Vancouver

Amato Evan (Ph.D. 2009): The role of aerosols in northern tropical Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies.
Current Position: Assistant Professor Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Alexander Haugstad (Undergraduate Research Advisor, 2014-2015): The influence of "The Blob" on climatic conditions over North America during Winter and Spring 2014.
Current Position: Graduate Student, University of Washington (K. Armour and D. Battisti, advisors).

Katie Holman (Ph.D. 2013): Hydrological variability in the Great Lakes region
Current Position: Hydrometeorologist, Atmospheric Scientist, Flood Hydrology and Consequences Group, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO.

Abigail Jaye (Fontaine) (M.S. 2007): “Investigation of mid-latitude excitation of tropical variability in the Pacific”.
Current Position: Associate Scientist II, NCAR.

Megan Kirchmeier-Young (Ph.D. 2015): A probabilistic perspective for statistical downscaling of climate variables: model development, application, and evaluation.
Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Victoria, B.C.

Julie Leloup (Post Doc 2009-2011): Understanding ENSO biases in Global Climate Models.
Current Affiliation: Pierre and Marie Curie University.

Matt Sitkowski (Ph.D. 2012; Research advisor J. Kossin): “Investigation and Prediction of Hurricane Eyewall Replacement Cycles”
Current Position: Meteorologist, The Weather Channel

Dimitry Smirnov (Ph.D. 2011): “Extratropical Forcing of Tropical Atlantic Variability”.
Current Position: Dewberry Consultants.

Kelsey Watkins (M.S. 2012): Effect of Dust Aerosol Radiative Forcing on Tropical Atlantic Climate.