Dr. Jagadish Shukla, Professor and Director of the Climate Dynamics Program at George Mason University, was awarded the Padma Shriaward by the President of India on April 4, 2012 at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Presiden’ts house, in New Delhi. The prestigious award is conferred in recognition of Shukla’s “exceptional and distinguished service in the field of Science and Engineering.” The Padma Shri is awarded to recognize distinguished contributions in various spheres of activity including the Arts, Education, Industry, Literature, Science, Sports, Medicine, Social Service and Public Life. We congratulate Dr. Shukla on this high honor.
Dr. Robert Hazen, AOES Faculty member and Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Sciences, received this year’s “Outstanding Faculty Award“. The awards, given by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), “are the Commonwealth’s highest honor for faculty at Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities. These awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research, and public service.”
Dr. Hazen has conducted innovative research into “mineral evolution” and the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere. Besides his geological research, Dr. Hazen has wide-ranging interests in science education, art, and music. His course UNIV 301 Great Ideas Science, reflects the broad scope of his interests. He wrote, with Mason professor James Tefil, the best selling Science Matters: Achieving Science Literacy, and other books. He also had a 40-year career as a professional trumpeter.
Dr. Hazen received his S.B. and M.S. in geology from MIT and his Ph.D. from Harvard. In addition to his Mason affiliation, he is a staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, DC.
In April 2011, Dr. Rick Diecchio, Professor of Geology in AOES, was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA). GSA describes the Fellowship as “an honor bestowed on the best of our profession,” and cites Dr. Diecchio’s Fellowship “in recognition of his outstanding 30-year career of teaching and scholarship, demonstrating a commitment to geology education while engaged in program development and administration.”
GSA, founded in 1888, is dedicated to the advancement of the geosciences and has a global membership of more than 24,000 scientists, students, and teachers.
AOES Professor and COLA Director Jim Kinter was invited to speak about climatology and climate dynamics on C-Span. Dr. Kinter’s interview produced an in-depth discussion of observation and prediction of weather and climate, including answering questions from callers.
Cristiana Stan joins GMU and AOES as a new Assistant Professor. An expert in modeling atmospheric dynamics and climate, Dr. Stan has studied the general circulation of the atmosphere, climate predictability, and tropical variability.
Most recently she has led a groundbreaking study which unearthed the role of cloud representation in simulating the global-scale circulation of the atmosphere. The climate is influenced by interactions on very large scales (across the entire globe), yet the behavior of climate also depends on cloud features that are tens of kilometers (or less) in width. Practical limits make it difficult to simultaneously model both the large scale and small scale features, but Stan and colleagues at COLA, GMU, and elsewhere were able to simulate the whole atmosphere with explicit representation of clouds as little as 4 km. Her results show that including an explicit representation of cloud processes simulation of large-scale and regional precipitation patterns, the Madden-Julian Oscillation, the Asian monsoon, and the ENSO have been significantly improved. Dr. Stan is leading a project as part of the National Science Foundation’s Petascale Computing Resource Allocations (PRAC) program which will conduct climate simulations on leading-edge supercomputers addition to NSF, her research is funded by NOAA and DOE.
Dr. Stan has long-standing ties to the department through her work since 2005 at COLA (Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies), where she has collaborated with AOES faculty and interacted with students in the Climate Dynamics Program. She will continue her affiliation with COLA. She has a PhD in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University and a BS and MS in Physics from University of Bucharest. Dr. Stan will enhance the strength of AOES in studying interactions between mesoscale and large scale dynamics. She looks forward to developing new courses and working with graduate and undergraduate students.
AOES welcomes Dr. Long Chiu to the Department as an Associate Professor. While new to the department, Dr. Chiu has been on the faculty of GMU since 1998, most recently as an Associate Professor of Earth Observing and Remote Sensing in the Geography and Geoinformation Science Department.
Dr. Chiu specializes in satellite remote sensing retrieval and applications, and data analysis. His recent work includes development and refinement of satellite rainfall and oceanic evaporation products, statistical typhoon forecasting, aerosol-climate interactions, and extreme events in climate change and variability. His work in Earth observation and remote sensing complements the strength of AOES in climate modeling and gives the department an important expansion in scope.
Dr. Chiu has a ScD in Meteorology from MIT and a BS (Summa Cum Laude) in Physics from University of Miami. Before joining GMU, he was at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center where he was involved with the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and the Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). He has taught a number of courses in remote sensing and climate science at GMU, including Topics in Remote Sensing and Earth Observation, and The Hydrosphere. While on leave from GMU a few years ago, he was a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he helped developed her MS and minor degree programs in Earth System Science and taught courses in Atmospheric Science and Physics of climate.
AOES Associate Professor and COLA director James L. Kinter III was elected a Fellow of theAmerican Meteorological Society (AMS). AMS selects Fellows who “have made strong contributions to the atmospheric or related sciences over a period of years.” Fellows represent less than 5% of the AMS membership. Kinter joins AOES faculty Schneider and Shukla as AMS Fellows.
Dr. Kinter III manages all aspects of basic climate research conducted by the COLA. Dr. Kinter’s research includes studies of atmospheric dynamics and predictability on seasonal and longer time scales. Of particular interest in his research are prospects for prediction of El Niño and the extratropical response to tropical sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies using general circulation models of the Earth’s atmosphere. Dr. Kinter has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at George Mason and plays an active role in the Climate Dynamis PhD Program. He has served on many national review panels for both scientific research programs and supercomputing programs for computational climate modeling.
Coincidentally, Dr. Kinter was quoted twice recently in articles on global warming in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. One article reported on global warming and the government of Virginia, the other on the recent local heavy snowfall and global warming.
GMU’s Comprehensive Atmospheric Modeling Program (CAMP) will host the 14th Annual George Mason University Conference on Atmospheric Transport and Dispersion Modeling. AOES faculty member and CAMP director Zafer Boybeyi is the Conference Chair.
Atmospheric transport is an important topic for understanding, mitigating, and adapting to natural hazards and pollution. Previous similar conferences at GMU have included hundreds of representatives from federal agencies, private companies, and universities as well as scientists from other countries. This year’s meeting is July 13-15, 2010.
Climate Dynamics PhD student Li Xu has been awarded the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) for the 2010-11 academic year. Li Xu was one of 53 students, out of 278 applicants, selected to receive the $30,000/year award, which is renewable for a total of three years. The fellowship will help him finish work on his doctoral dissertation. Li Xu is working under the guidance of AOES Distinguished University Professor J. Shukla and COLA Research Scientist Paul Dirmeyer.
Li Xu’s dissertation topic is “Snow-atmosphere coupling strength and its contribution to climate predictability–a modeling investigation based on the MODIS and AMSR-E snow retrievals.” The goal of his thesis is to investigate whether having better snow data will improve predictability of climate on monthly to seasonal timescales. Snow has an important effect on weather and climate by altering the Earth’s albedo (reflectivity to solar radiation) and influencing soil moisture through snow melt. NASA satellites are remotely sensing snow extent (MODIS data) and snow depth (AMSR-E data). Li Xu is conducting experiments with the CAM atmospheric model to compare climate predictions for the northern hemisphere with and without the NASA data on snow variability.
website: My personal webpage
office: 273 Research Hall, Fairfax Campus
My research is focused on improving our understanding of the key processes determining Earth’s climate and climate variability on a variety of timescales ranging from seasonal, to decadal, to much longer geological scales. In particular, I am interested in the climatic role of ocean general circulation, ocean-atmosphere interactions and cloud dynamics.
My research efforts acknowledge that, to fully understand, model and predict changes in climate characteristics that have a large impact on society (especially temperature and precipitation patterns), a fully coupled ocean-atmosphere perspective is needed – one that accounts for changes in important variables such as the thermal structure of the slowly-adjusting ocean. Complimenting observations with theory, I endeavor to accompany complex simulations of climate phenomena with simple models capturing the essential dynamics required to explain unanswered questions within climate science.
I received my PhD in Physical Oceanography from the University of Cape Town in 2010. From 2011 to 2014, I worked as a postdoctoral associate in the department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University. I joined Mason as an assistant professor in January 2015.
For more information please visit my personal webpage.
Brierley, C., N. Burls, C., Ravelo and A. Fedorov, 2015: Pliocene warmth and gradients, Nature Geoscience, 8 (6), 419-420, doi:10.1038/ngeo2444.
Burls, N. J., & Fedorov, A. V. 2017: Wetter subtropics in a warmer world: contrasting past and future hydrological cycles, PNAS, published ahead of print November 20, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1703421114
Burls, N.J., Fedorov, A.V., Sigman, D.M., Jaccard, S.L., Tiedemann, R. and Haug, G.H., 2017: Active Pacific meridional overturning circulation (PMOC) during the warm Pliocene, Science Advances, 3, e1700156.
Burls N.J., Muir L., Vincent E.M., and Fedorov A.V., 2016: Extra-tropical origin of equatorial Pacific cold bias in climate models with links to cloud albedo, Climate Dynamics, 49: 2093-2113, doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3435-6.
Fedorov, A.V., Burls N.J., Lawrence K.T., and Peterson L.C., 2015: Tightly linked ocean zonal and meridional temperature gradients over the past 5 million years, Nature Geoscience, 8, 975–980, doi:10.1038/ngeo2577.
Burls, N. J., and A. V. Fedorov, 2014b: Simulating Pliocene warmth and a permanent El Niño-like state: the role of cloud albedo, Paleoceanography, 29(10), 893-910, doi:10.1002/2014PA002644.
Luebbecke, J.F., N.J. Burls, C.J.C. Reason, M.J. McPhaden, 2014: Variability in the South Atlantic Anticyclone and the Atlantic Nino mode, Journal of Climate, 27, 8135–8150. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLID-14-00202.1.
Burls, N. J., and A. V. Fedorov, 2014a: What controls the mean east-west sea surface temperature gradient in the equatorial Pacific: the role of cloud albedo, Journal of Climate, 27(7), 2757-2778, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00255.1.
Burls, N. J., C. J. C. Reason, P. Penven, and S. G. Philander, 2012: Energetics of the Tropical Atlantic Zonal Mode. Journal of Climate, 25, 7442-7466, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00602.1.
Burls, N. J., C. J. C. Reason, P. Penven, and S. G. Philander, 2011: Similarities between the tropical Atlantic seasonal cycle and ENSO: an energetics perspective. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, C11010, doi:10.1029/2011JC007164.
For a complete list please visit my personal webpage.