AOES Climate Dynamics PhD students Guangyang Fang and Keri Kodama were each awarded competitive summer research stipends by the GMU Provost’s office.
In 2014, climate models were predicting the onset of a powerful El Nino, the disturbance in the equatorial Pacific ocean and atmosphere that disturbs weather across the globe. Then the expected El Nino fizzled, only to appear the following year with record heat. Kodama has received a Summer Presidential Scholar Fellowship to work with her advisor, AOES faculty member Natalie Burls, on research related to improving El Nino predictions. She has been using satellite data to analyze the transfer of energy that occurs when wind blows across the ocean. This energy transfer may be an important precurser for El Nino.
Climate variability is not limited to the Pacific. Tropical Atlantic Variability (TAV) consists of changes from year to year in sea surface temperature which can influence climate in surrounding regions. Guangyang Fang has received a Summer Research Fellowship to work with AOES faculty member Bohua Huang on the causes of TAV. He will be conducting predictability experiments with a global climate model to determine whether the various TAV events are predictable on seasonal time scale. These experiments can also be used to understand the TAV’s connection to climate phenomena external to the Atlantic, including El Nino.