News Archive



Persad Awarded AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award

AOS Graduate Student Geeta Persad was the recipient of an Outsanding Student Paper Award (OSPA), in the Atmospheric Sciences Section, by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) at the 2013 Fall meeting in San Francisco.  Her presentation entitled, "The Role of Aerosol Absorption in Solar Dimming over East Asia and its Implications for Regional Climate" was one of only 15 papers chosen for this distinction in the Atmospheric Sciences Section.

In the News ... NOAA's Climate Program Office (CPO) Highlights Mao's Study -- Proposes Revised Mechanism for Isoprene Chemistry

A recent study led by AOS Associate Research Scholar Jingqiu Mao proposes a thoroughly revised mechanism for isoprene chemistry, which not only allows for a more accurate model simulation, but fundamentally improves our understanding of atmospheric chemistry.  The study can be found here. CPO highlights

CANCELED!  On Wednesday, December 11 from 6-8 pm at Campus Club (Prospect Room), PWiGS will be hosting a career chat and dinner with Dr. Colleen Hansel, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  The event is open to all graduate students, postdocs, research scholars, and technical staff in GEO and AOS.  Men are welcome!  RSVP by December 6 by completing this form.

New Study Reveals Carbon Dioxide Could Warm Earth for Centuries, even if Emissions Stop

Even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, according to research led by first author and AOS collaborator Thomas Frolicher and published Nov. 24 in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study, co-authored by AOS Director Jorge Sarmiento and Mike Winton, a GFDL oceanographer, suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe.  Frolicher conducted the work as an AOS postdoc in
Sarmiento's group.  full story

Secrets of the Southern Ocean

Though it makes up less than a third of the world's ocean coverage, the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica soaks up about half of the man-made carbon dioxide absorbed by the world's oceans from the atmosphere each year.  Jorge Sarmiento, Bob Key and Daniel Sigman are among Princeton researchers pushing through the challenging conditions of the Southern Ocean because they want to learn more about the waters at the bottom of the globe.  full story

'Tiger Stripes' underneath Antarctic Glaciers Slow the Flow

A new study led by AOS Associate Research Scientist Olga Sergienko in collaboration with researchers at the British Antarctic Survey has found that narrow stripes of dirt and rock beneath massive Antarctic glaciers create friction zones that slow the flow of ice toward the sea. Understanding how these high-friction regions form and subside could help researchers understand how the flow of these glaciers responds to a warming climate.  The paper was published online by Science Nov. 7th and can be found herefull story

If a Tree Falls in Brazil ...? Amazon Deforestation Could Mean Droughts for Western U.S.

In research meant to highlight how the destruction of the Amazon rainforest could affect climate elsewhere, Assistant Professor of Geosciences David Medvigy in collaboration with fellow Princeton University-led researchers report that the total deforestation of the Amazon may significantly reduce rain and snowfall in the western United States, resulting in water and food shortages, and a greater risk of forest fires.  The study was published in the Journal of Climate and can be found herefull story

On Wednesday, November 20, at 4:30 pm, Michael Oppenheimer, professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and associated AOS faculty member, and AOS Faculty Member Gabriel Vecchi, will present a PIIRS Communicating Uncertainty Lecture entitled “Putting the New IPCC Report in Context.” The talk will be based on the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and will take place in Robertson Hall, Bowl 1.  IPCC Summary

PWiGS Roundtable Discussion with Dr Jung-Eun Lee - Wednesday, November 13th

On Wednesday, November 13th from 4:30-5:30 pm in Guyot 154, a happy hour roundtable discussion with Dr. Jung-Eun Lee, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University, will be held on career and research development issues. Topics include, but are not limited to, strategies for research and career development, mentoring/skill development, grant writing/funding, and time management.  All early-career scientists are welcome.

PWiGS Initiative Underway in AOS & GEO

The Princeton Women in Geosciences (PWiGS) initiative is presently underway in the AOS Program and Geosciences Department (GEO).  The primary mission of the PWiGS initiative is to increase the retention and boost the morale of women in the Earth Sciences through the development of an active peer network and the fostering of mentorshipTo learn more about the PWiGS initiative, visit their website.

Sarah Kapnick, an AOS postdoctoral research associate, has been awarded a NSF Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for two years effective November 1. The principal aim of her research is to improve our understanding of hydroclimate variability.  Much of her work focuses on understanding the mechanisms controlling precipitation and snowpack in complex orographic regions.

Drought Monitoring and Forecast System Developed to Monitor the African Water Cycle

CICS Scientist Eric Wood, a professor in CEE, and his research team have developed a drought monitoring and forecast system for sub-Saharan Africa.  full story

Sarmiento Explores Southern Ocean Patterns

AOS Director Jorge Sarmiento discusses the mystery surrounding the Southern Ocean in a Trenton Times article published Friday, October 25, 2013.  “Why the Southern Ocean?” Sarmiento explains the curiosity that drives his research.  full story

New Study Focuses on the Breaking of Low-mode Internal Waves at Sloping Topography

The breaking of low-mode internal waves at sloping topography is the focus of a new study by AOS Faculty Member Sonya Legg.  The study examines where internal waves break, relative to the topography, and where the mixing is distributed.  According to Legg, the Internal Wave Driven Mixing Climate Process Team will use this information to improve their climate model ocean mixing parameterizations.  The paper, "Scattering of low-mode internal waves at finite isolated topography," has been accepted by the Journal of Physical Oceanography and an early online release is available here.

Congratulations to AOS Postdoctoral Research Fellow Greg DeSouza who has been awarded an  Advanced Postdoc. Mobility postdoctoral fellowship, for one year beginning October 1, 2013, by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Recent Study Investigates the Role of Mesoscale Eddies in the Response of the Southern Ocean Carbon Sink to Wind Intensification

AOS Postdoc Carolina Dufour is the lead author of a recent study that takes a first step into quantifying the role of mesoscale eddies in the response of the Southern Ocean natural air-sea CO2 flux to the intensification of westerlies. This work, carried out during her PhD in France, aims at elucidating more generally the role of mesoscale eddies in driving the Southern Ocean circulation and carbon cycle, research that she can now pursue further at AOS using GFDL's high-resolution climate models. The article has been accepted for publication by Global Biogeochemical Cycles and is available here.

Michael Oppenheimer Discusses Fifth Assessment Report Released by the IPCC on Global Warming

Michael Oppenheimer, geoscientist and AOS associated faculty member, discusses the Sept. 27th release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change. Titled "Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, the document is one of four parts of the Fifth Assessment Report from the IPCC.  Los Angeles Times article

New Study Shows Movement of Marine Life Follows Speed and Direction of Climate Change

New research led by Malin PInsky, a former postdoctoral researcher in EEB and now an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Rutgers, shows the first evidence that sea creatures consistently keep pace with "climate velocity," or the speed and direction in which changes such as ocean temperature move.  Compiling 43 years of data related to the movement of 128 million animals from 360 species living around North America, including commercial staples such as lobster, shrimp and cod, the researchers found that 70 percent of shifts in animals' depth and 74 percent of changes in latitude correlated with regional-scale fluctuations in ocean temperature.  AOS Director Jorge Sarmiento is coauthor of the study along with Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Simon Levin.  Boris Worm, a biology professor at Dalhousie University in Canada, and Michael Fogarty, a chief researcher with NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Mass. also coauthored the study. The paper, "Marine Taxa Track Local Climate Velocities," was published Sept.13 by Science and can be found here.

AOS Graduate Student/Postdoc Retreat - Fall  2013

On Friday, September 13, 2013 AOS graduate students, postdocs, and faculty gathered for a one-day retreat at Mountain Lakes House in Princeton.  This was the second annual retreat organized by AOS students and faculty to promote scientific and social interactions among the AOS community and to welcome incoming students.  Photo Album


The AOS Program extends a warm welcome to its newest members -- Graduate Students Anna FitzMaurice, Youmi Oh, and Zhaoyi Shen!

Recent Study Shows the Important Role of Biosphere in Modulating Global Nitrogen Cycling

AOS Associate Research Scholar Jingqiu Mao is the lead author of a new study that presents a new isoprene oxidation mechanism for global models with extensive evaluations.  With this validated mechanism, the authors show the importance of biosphere on nitrogen export from the U.S. and new insights into how biosphere changes the surface air quality over the eastern U.S.  The article has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres and is available here.

Congratulations to AOS Graduate Student Geeta Persad who has been selected as the chair of the next Gordon Research Seminar in Radiation and Climate for 2015.  The seminar, a two-day early career scientist symposium preceding the Gordon Research Conference (GRC), is an opportunity for graduate students, postdocs, and other scientists with comparable levels of experience and education to come together to discuss their current research and build informal peer networks.  Geeta was selected based on her level of discussion participation in the 2013 and 2011 Gordon conferences and the merit of her scientific contributions to the conferences.

STEP Program’s Solomon Hsiang awarded AGU’s Science for Solutions Award

The American Geophysical Union's (AGU) first Science for Solutions Award  has been awarded to Sol Hsiang, a postdoc in AOS Associated Faculty Member Michael Oppenheimer's group and the STEP program.  This new award recognizes a student or postdoctoral scientist "who uses his/her skills and knowledge in the Earth and space sciences to create solutions to societal problems."  Hsiang will be awarded his cash prize at the AGU fall meeting and will also have the opportunity to present a lecture on his research topic. The AOS family extends Sol our heartiest congratulations. 
A recent study led by Sol suggesting that more human conflict is a likely outcome of climate change was published in Science on August 1 and can be found here.

Recent Study Investigates the Role of Anthropogenic Aerosols in the Earlier Onset of the Indian Monsoon in the Late 20th Century

AOS Research Scholar Massimo Bollasina is the lead author of a recent study that examines the impact of the late 20th century increase of anthropogenic aerosols on the onset of the Indian summer monsoon.  The research team included Yi Ming, a lecturer in the Department of Geosciences and the AOS Program, and GFDL Director V. Ramaswamy.  The article has been accepted for publication by Geophysical Research Letters and is available here.  GFDL Research Highlights can be found here.

Congratulations to Graduate Student Amanda O'Rourke on winning a 'Best Student Paper' award at the recent AMS' 19th Conference on Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics.

Migrating Animals Add New Depth to How the Ocean 'Breathes' according to a Recent Paper by AOS Alums in Collaboration with Princeton/GFDL Researchers

AOS Alums Daniele Bianchi and Eric Galbraith collaborated with AOS Postdoc Allison Smith, GFDLResearcher Charlie Stock, and McGill Doctoral Student David Carozza on a recent paper that reveals how migrating animals add new depth to how the ocean 'breathes.'  The paper was published online in Nature Geosciences June 9th and can be found herePrinceton Journal Watch Blog

The AOS Program is pleased to be a co-sponsor of Science Action, an informal learning project that encourages students to create original online short science videos, addressing themes of science and engineering of great relevance for the 21st century, concerning climate science, fusion physics, and principles of engineering.  Check out the students' videos, including one by our very own Kityan Choi: view videos  

In the Media ... AOS Associate Faculty Member Steve Pacala (EEB & Director/PEI) and Robert Socolow (MAE) explain what we can do to reduce carbon emissions on PBS's NOVA.   Check out the video

Bollasina and Ginoux Honored by AGU

Congratulations to AOS Research Scholar Massimo Bollasina and Paul Ginoux, a visiting research collaborator in the AOS Program and physical scientist at GFDL, who have been selected by the AGU to receive the 2013 James R. Holton Award and the 2013 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award respectively. Both are being honored for their exceptional scientific research accomplishments in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.

Save the Dates!

The AOS Program will be honoring Gabriel Lau for his contributions to our Program with an informal farewell luncheon at Prospect House on July 30th at noon in the Presidential Dining Room.  Please R.S.V.P. to Anna Valerio by July 15th.

A one-day symposium in honor of Hiram (Chip) Levy will be held at GFDL/Princeton on Friday, August 16th, in celebration of his retirement from GFDL.

"Using Diverse Observations in Climate Modeling Research" Workshop is planned for the fall.  This AOS student-run workshop will be held at GFDL and Sayre Hall from September 9th through September 11th, 2013.

PEI-STEP Fellowship Awarded to Geeta Persad

Congratulations to AOS Graduate Student Geeta Persad who has been awarded a PEI-STEP fellowship by the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI).  Read more

Jucker Wins First Prize Art of Science 2013

Congratulations to AOS Postdoctoral Research Fellow Martin Jucker on winning first prize at the Princeton Art of Science 2013 Exhibit on May 10, 2013.  The exhibit consists of 43 images of artistic merit created during the course of scientific research.  Martin's winning image "East-West, West-East" can be found hereVisit the Art of Science 2013 Gallery

Congratulations to Ilissa Ocko who successfully defended her thesis titled, "Contrasting features of scattering and absorbing aerosol direct radiative forcings and climate response" on April 29, 2013.

New Study Examines Factors Challenging Our Ability to Detect Long-term Trends in Ocean Chlorophyll

With Global climate change expected to alter the ocean’s biological productivity with implications for fisheries and climate, a recent study examines the factors challenging our ability to detect long-term trends in ocean chlorophyll.   The study highlights the importance of maintaining continuous, climate-quality satellite data records for climate change detection and attribution studies. AOS Research Scholar Claudie Beaulieu is the lead author of the study which was published in Biogeosciences on April 23, 2013.   The abstract can be found here.

Study Looks at Respnse to CO2 doubling of the Atlantic Hurricane Main Development Region in a High-Resolution Climate Model

In a recent study, a team of researchers led by former AOS postdoc Takeshi Doi simulated the response of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Atlantic Hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) to a doubling of CO2, using a cutting-edge global high-resolution coupled model developed at GFDL (CM2.5).  The study, published online in the Journal of Climate, can be found here
GFDL Research Highlights can be found here.

Recent Study Examines the Role of ENSO, Season, and Variability in Atmospheric CO2 Response to Volcanic Eruptions

Tropical explosive volcanism is one of the most important natural factors that significantly impact the climate system and the carbon cycle on annual to multi-decadal time scales.  A team of reseachers, led by AOS Postdoctoral Research Associate Thomas Frölicher, determine for the first time the extent to which initial conditions, i.e., season and phase of the ENSO, and internal variability influence the coupled climate and carbon cycle response to volcanic forcing and how this affects estimates of the terrestrial and oceanic carbon sinks.  The study, published online in Global Biogeochemical Cycles on March 27, 2013 can be found here.

Study Demonstrates the Nonlinear Effect of Biomass Burning Strength on Radiative Forcing

A team of researchers led by AOS Associate Research Scholar Jingqiu Mao use a fully coupled chemistry-climate model (GFDL AM3) to demonstrate the nonlinear effect of biomass burning strength on radiative forcing in a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters. At present-day emission levels, biomass burning produces atmospheric cooling, but increasing emissions to over 5 times present levels would result in warming. The study was published online on March 26, 2013. GFDL Research Highlights can be found here.

Congratulations to AOS Graduate Student Ilissa Ocko on her selection for the Emerging Alumni Scholars Award for 2012-2013.  The Alumni Council's Committee on Academic Programs for Alumni (CAPA) selected Ilissa based on the excellence of her dissertation project, her ability to communicate in an engaging manner to a broad public outside of her discipline, and merits of her distinguished career at Princeton.

Recent NOAA Study Estimates Future Loss of Labor Capacity as Climate Warms

Our GFDL partners have released a new study that projects the doubling of heat-stress related labor capacity losses globally by 2050 with a warming climate.  The study uses existing occupational health and safety thresholds to establish a new metric to quantify a healthy, acclimated individual's capacity to safely perform sustained labor under environmental heat stress. Coauthors of the study include GFDL Scientists John Dunne (lead author),  Ronald Stouffer, and Jasmin John. The research was published online on February 24, 2012 in Nature Climate Change.
GFDL Research Highlights can be found here.     NOAA Press Release

New Study Finds that Global Snowfall will Reduce, but Certain Regions will Receive More Snow under 2xCO2

AOS Postdoctoral Research Associate and CICS Scientist Sarah Kapnick is the lead author of a new study in the Journal of Climate that showcases the ability of the new high-resolution CM2.5 GFDL model for simulating snow variables. It examines the response of snowfall and snow covered area to a doubling of CO2 (translating to ~5F warming globally), finding that global snowfall reduces, but some special regions receive more snow.
GFDL Research Highlights can be found here.

Recent Study Discovers New Role of Aerosols

A team of researchers led by AOS Associate Research Scholar Jingqiu Mao has discovered a major and previously unrecognized role of aerosols in atmospheric oxidant chemistry. According to Mao,"This work solves a long-standing problem of underestimating air pollutants (carbon monoxide) transport to the Arctic in global chemistry models and also suggests a previously unrecognized positive radiative forcing of aerosols through the effects on the chemical budgets of major greenhouse gases including methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).”  The paper, published on January 16 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, can be found here.

Spring May Come Earlier to North American Forests According to New Study by CICS Researchers

Trees in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. could send out new spring leaves up to 17 days ear­lier in the com­ing cen­tury than they did before global tem­per­a­tures started to rise, accord­ing to a new study by CICS Researchers Su-Jong Jeong, David Medvigy, Elena Shevliakova, and Sergey Malyshev.  The abstract can be found here.

Three AOS Associated Faculty Members are among 19 Princeton Faculty at Inaugural Princeton-Fung Global Forum

AOS Associated Faculty Members Denise  Mauzerall, Michael Oppenheimer, and James Smith recently joined the world’s foremost thinkers to discuss major issues confronting the planet at the inaugural Princeton-Fung Global Forum in Shanghai, China.  full story

AOS Research Scholar and CICS Scientist Yalin Fan coauthors letter warning of stronger wind and waves due to warming

An international team of climate researchers, including AOS Reserach Scholar and CICS Scientist Yalin Fan, has written and published an open letter in the journal Nature Climate Change, describing wind and wave pattern changes expected to come about due to global warming. The letter, published online January 13, can be found here.

Registration Open for Geostrophic Turbulence and Active Tracer Transport in 2 Dimensions Workshop

AOS and Applied Math are organizing a workshop through the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science on "Geostrophic Turbulence and Active Tracer Transport in 2D" from March 13-15, 2013.  The goal of this interdisciplinary workshop is to familiarize mathematicians and atmosphere/ocean scientists with ongoing research outside of their fields, and possibly fertilize new work within both groups.  Isaac Held is one of the workshop's organizers.  More Information

Gypsy-moth Outbreaks Cause a Huge Dent in a Forest's Ability to Store Carbon

A recent study led by Assistant Professor David Medvigy finds that gypsy moth larvae jeopardizes carbon dioxide absorption. The study was published in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) as part of the ERL Focus on Extreme Events and the Carbon Cycle.  Read more

'Unlocking the mysteries of the Southern Ocean' Video featuring Jorge Sarmiento

Climate Central interviewed Jorge Sarmiento regarding the Southern Ocean and his work to model its role in the carbon cycle.  full story

Sarmiento and Study of Southern Ocean featured on PEI's Home Page

Jorge Sarmiento discusses the Southern Ocean and its relevance to climate change.  Whether it's the economics of clean energy, the politics of Washington or claims over the severity of the problem itself, the debate over climate change is loud and crowded. One aspect that often goes overlooked is the Southern Ocean ringing Antarctica at the bottom of the globe. But that, says Jorge Sarmiento, is about to change.  Read more

Geological Data Fusion Workshop: Tackling the Statistical Challenges of Interpreting Past Environmental Change

Frederik Simons (Geosciences) and Bob Kopp (Rutgers) are co-organizers of an interdisciplinary workshop to be held at Rutgers University, Thursday-Friday,  January 17-18, 2013. This workshop will focus on statistical approaches to overcoming the challenges of interpreting past environmental change and making inferences about the Earth's past environments, bringing together Earth scientists, statisticians, applied mathematicians, and computer scientists to address these issues.

AOS Faculty Member Gabe Vecchi was awarded the 2013 CLARENCE LEROY MEISINGER AWARD "for outstanding contributions to the understanding of tropical climate variability and change" by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).  
A listing of 2013 award recipients can be found here.