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Palisades Geophysical Institute/Lamont Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
104D Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
Phone: 
(845) 365-8743
Fax: 
(845) 365-8157

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Fields of interest: 
My interests are in climate variability and change on timescales of seasons to millennia and in particular the causes of multiyear droughts around the world and how climate change will impact global hydroclimate. I analyze observations, proxy climate rec

I am currently the Palisades Geophysical Institute/Lamont Research Professor at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, New York. I gained my undergraduate degree at Liverpool University in England and came to the United States in 1983 as a graduate student at Columbia. My Ph. D work was completed in 1990 under the supervision of Professor Mark Cane and Dr. Steve Zebiak and involved using tropical atmosphere and ocean models to understand key features of the tropical climate. In 1991-2 I completed a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Washington before returning to Lamont, this time to stay.

Throughout my career I have used numerical models, observations and proxy reconstructions of past climates to understand the physical mechanisms responsible for climate variability and change on seasonal to glacial-interglacial timescales. I have a particular interest in how the variation of the tropical atmosphere-ocean system organize climate on a global scale. I have also studied the reasons why the mean climate of the planet is the way it is and why Europe has mild winters, why there is a tropical Pacific warm pool, why there are subtropical anticyclones etc. My recent work has focused on the mechanisms of persistent North American drought and its relation to tropical Pacific and tropical Atlantic Ocean temperature variations. This work has led me into studies of Medieval megadroughts in the American West and studies of the hydrological future of the West.

Education
List of degrees from highest to lowest:
PhD
Columbia University
1990
MA
Columbia University
1985
B.Sc
Liverpool Unversity
1983
M.Phil
Columbia University
1990
Honors & Awards: 
Director's Award for Outstanding Research Performance, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory 2007

Lamont Projects:

Yutian Wu, APAM

Referenced in the Following News Items:

Featured in the Following Videos:

Selected Publications:

Observed strengthening of the zonal sea surface temperature gradient across the equatorial Pacific Ocean Karnauskas, K. B.; Seager, R.; Kaplan, A.; Kushnir, Y.; Cane, M. A. Journal of Climate (In Press)
Megadroughts in North America: Placing IPCC projections of hydroclimatic change in a long-term paleoclimate context Cook, E R; Seager, R; Heim, R R; Vose, R S; Herweijer, C; Woodhouse, C W Journal of Quaternary Science Volume: 25 Issue: 1 p.: 48-61 (2010)
Global warming and the 21st century hydroclimate of southwestern North America Seager, R; Vecchi, G Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2010)
Mechanisms of tropical Atlantic SST influence on North American hydroclimate variability Kushnir, Y; Seager, R; Ting, M; Naik, N; Nakamura, J Journal of Climate (2010)
Role of tropical Pacific SSTs in global medieval hydroclimate: A modeling study Burgman, R; Seager, R; Clement A; Herweijer C Geophysical Research Letters Volume: 37 p.: doi (2010)
Adjustment of the atmospheric circulation to tropical Pacific SST anomalies: Variability of transient eddy propagation in the Pacific North-America sector Seager, R; Naik, N; Ting M; Harnik N; Cane M; Kushnir Y Q J Royal Meteor Soc Volume: 136 p.: 277-296 (2010)
Forced and Internal 20th Century SST Trends in the North Atlantic Ting, M.; Kushnir, Y.; Seager, R.; Li, C. Journal of Climate March/2009 Volume: 22 Issue: 6 p.: 13 (2009) 10.1175/2008JCLI2561.1
Amplification of the North American "Dust Bowl" drought through human-induced land degradation Cook, B. I.; Miller, R. L.; Seager, R. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Mar 31 Volume: 106 Issue: 13 p.: 4997-5001 (2009) DOI 10.1073/pnas.0810200106
Mexican drought: an observational modeling and tree ring study of variability and climate change Seager, R.; Ting, M.; Davis, M.; Cane, M.; Naik, N.; Nakamura, J.; Li, C.; Cook, E.; Stahle, D. W. Atmosfera Jan 1 Volume: 22 Issue: 1 p.: 1-31 (2009)
Forced and Internal Twentieth-Century SST Trends in the North Atlantic Ting, M. F.; Kushnir, Y.; Seager, R.; Li, C. H. Journal of Climate Mar Volume: 22 Issue: 6 p.: 1469-1481 (2009) Doi 10.1175/2008jcli2561.1
The evolution of the equatorial Pacific zonal SST gradient during the twentieth century Karnauskas, K B; Seager, R; Kaplan, A; Kushnir, Y; Cane, M A J Climate Volume: 22 Issue: 16 p.: 4316-4321 (2009)
Megadroughts in North America: Placing IPCC projections of hydroclimatic change in a long term paleoclimatic context Cook, E; Seager, R; Heim, R; Vose, R; Herweijer, C; Woodhouse, C; Journal of Quaternary Science p.: doi (2009)
Amplification of the North American Dust Bowl drought through human-induced land surface degradation Cook, B; Miller, R; Seager, R Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Volume: 106 p.: 4997-5001 (2009)
Forced and internal 20th Century SST changes in the North Atlantic Ting, M; Kushnir, Y; Seager, R; Li, C Journal of Climate Volume: 22 p.: 1469-1481 (2009)
Dust and sea surface temperature forcing of the 1930s "Dust Bowl" drought Cook, B. I.; Miller, R. L.; Seager, R. Geophysical Research Letters Apr 22 Volume: 35 Issue: 8 p.: - (2008) Doi 10.1029/2008gl033486
Would advance knowledge of 1930s SSTs have allowed prediction of the Dust Bowl drought? Seager, R.;Kushnir, Y.;Ting, M.F.;Cane, M.A.;Naik, N.;Velez(Nakamura), J. Journal of Climate Volume: 21 p.: 3261-3281. DOI: 10.1175/2007JCLI2134.1 (2008)
Dust and sea surface temperature forcing of the 1930s "Dust Bowl" drought Cook, B. I.; Miller, R. L.; Seager, R. Geophysical Research Letters Apr 22 Volume: 35 Issue: 8 p.: - (2008) Doi 10.1029/2008gl033486
Volcanoes and ENSO over the past millennium Emile-Geay, J.; Seager, R.; Cane, M. A.; Cook, E. R.; Haug, G. H. Journal of Climate Jul Volume: 21 Issue: 13 p.: 3134-3148 (2008) Doi 10.1175/2007jcli1884.1
The global footprint of persistent extra-tropical drought in the instrumental era Herweijer, C.; Seager, R. International Journal of Climatology Nov 15 Volume: 28 Issue: 13 p.: 1761-1774 (2008) Doi 10.1002/Joc.1590
Tropical Pacific Forcing of North American Medieval Megadroughts: Testing the Concept with an Atmosphere Model Forced by Coral-Reconstructed SSTs Seager, R.; Burgman, R.; Kushnir, Y.; Clement, A.; Cook, E.; Naik, N.; Miller, J. Journal of Climate Dec 1 Volume: 21 Issue: 23 p.: 6175-6190 (2008) Doi 10.1175/2008jcli2170.1
Would advance knowledge of 1930s SSTs have allowed prediction of the dust bowl drought? Seager, R.; Kushnir, Y.; Ting, M.; Cane, M.; Naik, N.; Miller, J. Journal of Climate Jul Volume: 21 Issue: 13 p.: 3261-3281 (2008) Doi 10.1175/2007jcli2134.1
Arabian Sea response to monsoon variations Murtugudde, R.; Seager, R.; Thoppil, P. Paleoceanography Dec 21 Volume: 22 Issue: 4 p.: - (2007) Doi 10.1029/2007pa001467
Blueprints for Medieval hydroclimate Seager, R.; Graham, N.; Herweijer, C.; Gordon, A. L.; Kushnir, Y.; Cook, E. Quaternary Science Reviews Oct Volume: 26 Issue: 19-21 p.: 2322-2336 (2007) DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.04.020
El Nino as a mediator of the solar influence on climate Emile-Geay, J.; Cane, M.; Seager, R.; Kaplan, A.; Almasi, P. Paleoceanography Aug 8 Volume: 22 Issue: 3 p.: - (2007) Doi 10.1029/2006pa001304
Model projections of an imminent transition to a more arid climate in southwestern North America Seager, R.; Ting, M. F.; Held, I.; Kushnir, Y.; Lu, J.; Vecchi, G.; Huang, H. P.; Harnik, N.; Leetmaa, A.; Lau, N. C.; Li, C. H.; Velez, J.; Naik, N. Science May 25 Volume: 316 Issue: 5828 p.: 1181-1184 (2007) DOI 10.1126/science.1139601
North American drought: Reconstructions, causes, and consequences Cook, E. R.; Seager, R.; Cane, M. A.; Stahle, D. W. Earth-Science Reviews Mar Volume: 81 Issue: 1-2 p.: 93-134 (2007) DOI 10.1016/j.earscirev.2006.12.002
North American droughts of the last millennium from a gridded network of tree-ring data Herweijer, C.; Seager, R.; Cook, E. R.; Emile-Geay, J. Journal of Climate Apr 1 Volume: 20 Issue: 7 p.: 1353-1376 (2007) Doi 10.1175/Jcli4042.1
The turn of the century North American drought: Global context, dynamics, and past analogs Seager, R. Journal of Climate Nov 15 Volume: 20 Issue: 22 p.: 5527-5552 (2007) Doi 10.1175/2007jcli1529.1
Predicting drought on seasonal-to-decadal time scales Schubert, S.; Koster, R.; Hoerling, M.; Seager, R.; Lettenmaier, D.; Kumar, A.; Gutzler, D. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Oct Volume: 88 Issue: 10 p.: 1625-1630 (2007) Doi 10.1175/Bams-88-10-1625
North American droughts of the mid to late nineteenth century: a history, simulation and implication for Mediaeval drought Herweijer, C.; Seager, R.; Cook, E. R. Holocene Mar Volume: 16 Issue: 2 p.: 159-171 (2006) Doi 10.1191/0959683606hl917rp
The source of Europe's mild climate Seager, R. , American Scientist Volume: 94 Issue: 4 (2006)
The 1976/77 transition in precipitation over the Americas and the influence of tropical sea surface temperature Huang, H. P.; Seager, R.; Kushnir, Y. Climate Dynamics Jun Volume: 24 Issue: 7-8 p.: 721-740 (2005) DOI 10.1007/s00382-005-0015-6
Mechanisms of ENSO-forcing of hemispherically symmetric precipitation variability Seager, R.; Harnik, N.; Robinson, W. A.; Kushnir, Y.; Ting, M.; Huang, H. P.; Velez, J. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society Apr Volume: 131 Issue: 608 p.: 1501-1527 (2005) Doi 10.1256/Qj.04.96
Modeling of tropical forcing of persistent droughts and pluvials over western North America: 1856-2000 Seager, R.; Kushnir, Y.; Herweijer, C.; Naik, N.; Velez, J. Journal of Climate Oct 1 Volume: 18 Issue: 19 p.: 4065-4088 (2005)
Tropical Pacific-driven decadel energy transport variability Hazeleger, W.; Severijns, C.; Seager, R.; Molteni, F. Journal of Climate Jun 15 Volume: 18 Issue: 12 p.: 2037-2051 (2005)
Why are there tropical warm pools? Clement, A. C.; Seager, R.; Murtugudde, R. Journal of Climate Dec Volume: 18 Issue: 24 p.: 5294-5311 (2005)
Why ocean heat transport warms the global mean climate Herweijer, C.; Seager, R.; Winton, M.; Clement, A. Tellus Series a-Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography Aug Volume: 57 Issue: 4 p.: 662-675 (2005)
How can tropical Pacific Ocean heat transport vary? Hazeleger, W.; Seager, R.; Cane, M. A.; Naik, N. H. Journal of Physical Oceanography Jan Volume: 34 Issue: 1 p.: 320-333 (2004)
Predictability of tropical Pacific decadal variability in an intermediate model Karspeck, A. R.; Seager, R.; Cane, M. A. Journal of Climate Jul Volume: 17 Issue: 14 p.: 2842-2850 (2004)
Air-sea interaction and the seasonal cycle of the subtropical anticyclones Seager, R.; Murtugudde, R.; Naik, N.; Clement, A.; Gordon, N.; Miller, J. Journal of Climate Jun Volume: 16 Issue: 12 p.: 1948-1966 (2003)
Mechanisms of hemispherically symmetric climate variability Seager, R.; Harnik, N.; Kushnir, Y.; Robinson, W.; Miller, J. Journal of Climate Sep Volume: 16 Issue: 18 p.: 2960-2978 (2003)
Warren revisited: Atmospheric freshwater fluxes and "Why is no deep water formed in the North Pacific' Emile-Geay, J.; Cane, M. A.; Naik, N.; Seager, R.; Clement, A. C.; van Geen, A. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans Jun 5 Volume: 108 Issue: C6 p.: - (2003) Doi 10.1029/2001jc001058
Why is there an evaporation minimum at the equator? Seager, R.; Murtugudde, R.; Clement, A.; Herweijer, C. Journal of Climate Nov Volume: 16 Issue: 22 p.: 3793-3802 (2003)
A simple coupled model of tropical Atlantic decadal climate variability Kushnir, Y.; Seager, R.; Miller, J.; Chiang, J. C. H. Geophysical Research Letters Dec 13 Volume: 29 Issue: 23 p.: - (2002) Doi 10.1029/2002gl015874
Tropical snowline depression at the Last Glacial Maximum: Comparison with proxy records using a single-cell tropical climate model Greene, A. M.; Seager, R.; Broecker, W. S. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres Apr Volume: 107 Issue: D7-8 p.: - (2002) Doi 10.1029/2001jd000670
Is the Gulf Stream responsible for Europe's mild winters? Seager, R.; Battisti, D. S.; Yin, J.; Gordon, N.; Naik, N.; Clement, A. C.; Cane, M. A. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society Volume: 128 (2002) 10.1256/Qj.01.128
The ENSO teleconnection to the tropical Atlantic Ocean: Contributions of the remote and local SSTs to rainfall variability in the tropical Americas Giannini, A.; Chiang, J. C. H.; Cane, M. A.; Kushnir, Y.; Seager, R. Journal of Climate Volume: 14 Issue: 24 p.: 4530-4544 (2001)
Impact of the midlatitude storm track on the upper Pacific Ocean Hazeleger, W.; Seager, R.; Visbeck, M.; Naik, N.; Rodgers, K. Journal of Physical Oceanography Volume: 31 Issue: 2 p.: 616-636 (2001)
Looking for the role of the ocean in tropical Atlantic decadal climate variability Seager, R.; Kushnir, Y.; Chang, P.; Naik, N.; Miller, J.; Hazeleger, W. Journal of Climate Volume: 14 Issue: 5 p.: 638-655 (2001)
An orbitally driven tropical source for abrupt climate change Clement, A. C.; Cane, M. A.; Seager, R. Journal of Climate Volume: 14 Issue: 11 p.: 2369-2375 (2001)
Wind-driven shifts in the latitude of the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension and generation of SST anomalies on decadal timescales Seager, R.; Kushnir, Y.; Naik, N. H.; Cane, M. A.; Miller, J. Journal of Climate Volume: 14 Issue: 22 p.: 4249-4265 (2001)
Causes of Atlantic Ocean climate variability between 1958 and 1998 Seager, R.; Kushnir, Y.; Visbeck, M.; Naik, N.; Miller, J.; Krahmann, G.; Cullen, H. Journal of Climate Aug 15 Volume: 13 Issue: 16 p.: 2845-2862 (2000)
Glacial cooling in the tropics: Exploring the roles of tropospheric water vapor, surface wind speed, and boundary layer processes Seager, R.; Clement, A. C.; Cane, M. A. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences Jul 1 Volume: 57 Issue: 13 p.: 2144-2157 (2000)
Climate and the tropical oceans Clement, A.; Seager, R. Journal of Climate Dec Volume: 12 Issue: 12 p.: 3383-3401 (1999)
Orbital controls on the El Nino/Southern Oscillation and the tropical climate Clement, A. C.; Seager, R.; Cane, M. A. Paleoceanography Aug Volume: 14 Issue: 4 p.: 441-456 (1999)
Ocean modeling for ENSO Stockdale, T. N.; Busalacchi, A. J.; Harrison, D. E.; Seager, R. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans Jun 29 Volume: 103 Issue: C7 p.: 14325-14355 (1998)
Ocean dynamics, thermocline adjustment, and regulation of tropical SST Seager, R.; Murtugudde, R. Journal of Climate Mar Volume: 10 Issue: 3 p.: 521-534 (1997)
Twentieth-century sea surface temperature trends Cane, M. A.; Clement, A. C.; Kaplan, A.; Kushnir, Y.; Pozdnyakov, D.; Seager, R.; Zebiak, S. E.; Murtugudde, R. Science Feb 14 Volume: 275 Issue: 5302 p.: 957-960 (1997)
An ocean dynamical thermostat Clement, A. C.; Seager, R.; Cane, M. A.; Zebiak, S. E. Journal of Climate Sep Volume: 9 Issue: 9 p.: 2190-2196 (1996)
Simulation of the tropical oceans with an ocean GCM coupled to an atmospheric mixed-layer model Murtugudde, R.; Seager, R.; Busalacchi, A. Journal of Climate Aug Volume: 9 Issue: 8 p.: 1795-1815 (1996)
An Advective Atmospheric Mixed-Layer Model for Ocean Modeling Purposes - Global Simulation of Surface Heat Fluxes Seager, R.; Blumenthal, M. B.; Kushnir, Y. Journal of Climate Aug Volume: 8 Issue: 8 p.: 1951-1964 (1995)
On heat flux boundary conditions for ocean models Seager, R.; Kushnir, Y.; Cane, M. A. Journal of Physical Oceanography Dec Volume: 25 Issue: 12 p.: 3219-3230 (1995)
Simulation of Tropical Climate with a Linear Primitive Equation Model Seager, R.; Zebiak, S. E. Journal of Climate Oct Volume: 8 Issue: 10 p.: 2497-2520 (1995)
Convective Interaction with Dynamics in a Linear Primitive Equation Model Seager, R.; Zebiak, S. E. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences May 15 Volume: 51 Issue: 10 p.: 1307-1331 (1994)
Modeling Tropical Pacific Sea-Surface Temperature with Satellite-Derived Solar Radiative Forcing Seager, R.; Blumenthal, M. B. Journal of Climate Dec Volume: 7 Issue: 12 p.: 1943-1957 (1994)
A Simple-Model of the Climatology and Variability of the Low-Level Wind-Field in the Tropics Seager, R. Journal of Climate Feb Volume: 4 Issue: 2 p.: 164-179 (1991)
A Model of the Tropical Pacific Sea-Surface Temperature Climatology Seager, R.; Zebiak, S. E.; Cane, M. A. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans Feb 15 Volume: 93 Issue: C2 p.: 1265-1280 (1988)