Richard Seager

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
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 records and model simulations and also use idealized modeling to understand the basic climate dynamic processes in the atmosphere and ocean that generate global climate variability and change.

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
Yutian Wu, APAM
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, Jul-Aug, Volume 94, Issue 4, p.334-341, (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)

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, Oct, Volume 128, Issue 586, p.2563-2586, (2002), Doi 10.1256/Qj.01.128

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

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)

Suppression of El Nino during the mid-Holocene by changes in the Earth's orbit, Clement, A. C.; Seager, R.; Cane, M. A. , Paleoceanography, Dec, Volume 15, Issue 6, p.731-737, (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)