Our research focuses on ocean-atmosphere interactions, variability and change across different components of the climate system, and the resulting regional impacts. In particular, we aim to develop an understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the ocean’s role in regional climate across a range of spatial and temporal scales, from individual synoptic events to seasonal, interannual, decadal variability and beyond. Research addresses both present-day climate conditions, past variability over the last millennium, as well as projected changes in a warming world.
Bridging the gap between ocean and climate dynamics and its impacts on end users is a key goal. As such, we aim to provide practical outcomes of use to stakeholders in the agriculture and water management sectors and the public.
State-of-the-art climate models represent a key tool of our research. This includes idealized sensitivity and process studies in various model configurations to better understand ocean-atmosphere interactions and their impacts on land around the world. We use output from large international modeling projects, such as the Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects version 3 and 5 (CMIP3 and CMIP5 ). Climate model output is also integrated with dynamic vegetation models to understand the effect of climate on agriculture.
It is critical to assess the fidelity of state-of-the-art climate models in representing past and present climate conditions across different temporal and spatial timescales. Developing assessment tools for climate modelsbased on dynamic principles is a goal in many of our projects.
Our society is becoming increasingly vulnerable to changes in the hydrological cycle. The ocean’s role in modulating past, present, and future variations in global water availability is increasingly recognized and forms the motivation for our research. It is crucial to address variations in the hydrological cycle in an integrated manner across different components of the climate system, such as ocean, atmosphere, and land, and crossing different timescales from synoptic, interannual, to decadal and beyond.
Given the much longer persistence of ocean properties, compared to the higher-frequency variability in the atmosphere, advanced understanding of links between the upper ocean and regional climate can help improve seasonal and longer term rainfall forecasts. This is a vital component for water and agricultural management as global population continues to rise and uncertainty about change persists in the water cycle in a warming world.
WHOI is the world’s leading non-profit oceanographic research organization. Our mission is to explore and understand the ocean and to educate scientists, students, decision-makers, and the public.