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Special Research Scientist
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
104B Oceanography
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8669
(845) 365-8157


Fields of interest: 
Diagnostic analysis of climate variability; Climate impacts; Climate predictability; Ocean-Atmosphere interaction; extreme precipitation and flooding.

I am a Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, The Earth Institute, Columbia University. My research is concerned with characterizing and understanding climate variability and change using observations and global climate models. I am particularly interested in the role of the oceans in climate variability on time scales of years to decades. Throughout my career at Lamont I have mentored graduate and undergraduate students in their research. With my collaborators and students, I published extensively on the topics modern and paleo climate variability. I co-edited and contributed to the 2003 American Geophysical Union Monograph: The North Atlantic Oscillation: significance and environmental impact and was one of the authors of the 1995 National Academies report on Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Between 2003 and 2014 I served as the director of the Cooperative Institute for Climate Applications and Research (CICAR), a research partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Columbia University. I currently co-chair the CLIVAR working group on Decadal Climate Variability and Predictability and the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) scientific team responsible for the Grand Challenge on Near Term Climate Prediction. In 2013 I was elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2013.

List of degrees from highest to lowest:
Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences
Oregon State Univeristy
M.Sc., Meteorology
Tel Aviv Univeristy
B.Sc., Physics
Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
Honors & Awards: 
Fellow of the American Meteorological Society 2013

Lamont Projects:

Lamont/DEES Student List: 

Referenced in the Following News Items:

Selected Publications:

Understanding Pacific Ocean influence on interannual precipitation variability in the Sahel Pomposi, Catherine; Giannini, Alessandra; Kushnir, Yochanan: Lee, Dong-Eun GRL Volume: 43 (2016) 10.1002/2016GL069980
Dead Sea drawdown and monsoonal influences in the Levant during the last interglacial Torfstein, A.; Goldstein, S.L.; Stein, M.; Kushnir, Y.; Enzel, Y.; Haug, G. Earth and Planetary Science Letters Volume: 412 p.: 235-244 (2015)
Moisture Budget Analysis of SST-Driven Decadal Sahel Precipitation Variability in the 20th Century Pomposi, C.A.; Kushnir, Y; Giannini, A. Climate Dynamics (2014)
Mediterranean precipitation climatology, seasonal cycle, and trent as simulated by CMIP5 Kelley, Colin; Ting, Mingfang; Seager, Richard, Kushnir, Yochanan Geophysical Research Letters (2012)
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)
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
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
Classifying North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks by Mass Moments Nakamura, J; Lall, U; Kushnir, Y; Camargo, S J J Climate Volume: 22 Issue: 20 p.: 5481-5494 (2009)
Classifying North Atlantic tropical cyclones tracks by their mass moments Nakamura, J; Lall, U; Kushnir, Y; Camargo, S J J Climate Volume: 22 p.: 5481-5494 (2009)
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
Indian summer monsoon rainfall and its link with ENSO and Indian Ocean climate indices Ihara, C.; Kushnir, Y.; Cane, M. A.; De la Pena, V. H. International Journal of Climatology Feb Volume: 27 Issue: 2 p.: 179-187 (2007) Doi 10.1002/Joc.1394
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
Atlantic climate variability and predictability: A CLIVAR perspective Hurrell, J. W.; Visbeck, M.; Busalacchi, A.; Clarke, R. A.; Delworth, T. L.; Dickson, R. R.; Johns, W. E.; Koltermann, K. P.; Kushnir, Y.; Marshall, D.; Mauritzen, C.; McCartney, M. S.; Piola, A.; Reason, C.; Reverdin, G.; Schott, F.; Sutton, R.; Wainer, Journal of Climate Oct 15 Volume: 19 Issue: 20 p.: 5100-5121 (2006)
The physical basis for predicting Atlantic sector seasonal-to-interannual climate variability Kushnir, Y.; Robinson, W. A.; Chang, P.; Robertson, A. W. Journal of Climate Dec 1 Volume: 19 Issue: 23 p.: 5949-5970 (2006)
Regional and global atmospheric patterns governing rainfall in the southern Levant Ziv, B.; Dayan, U.; Kushnir, Y.; Roth, C.; Enzel, Y. International Journal of Climatology Jan Volume: 26 Issue: 1 p.: 55-73 (2006) Doi 10.1002/Joc.1238
Formation, mechanisms, and predictability of the Aleutian-Icelandic low seesaw in ensemble AGCM simulations Honda, M.; Kushnir, Y.; Nakamura, H.; Yamane, S.; Zebiak, S. E. Journal of Climate May 1 Volume: 18 Issue: 9 p.: 1423-1434 (2005)
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)
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)
Reduced space approach to the optimal analysis interpolation of historical marine observations: Accomplishments, difficulties, and prospects Kaplan, A.; Cane, M. A.; Kushnir, Y. Advances in the Applications of Marine Climatology p.: 199-216 (2003)
Atmospheric GCM response to extratropical SST anomalies: Synthesis and evaluation Kushnir, Y.; Robinson, W. A.; Blade, I.; Hall, N. M. J.; Peng, S.; Sutton, R. Journal of Climate Aug 15 Volume: 15 Issue: 16 p.: 2233-2256 (2002)
Deconstructing Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone variability: Influence of the local cross-equatorial sea surface temperature gradient and remote forcing from the eastern equatorial Pacific Chiang, J. C. H.; Kushnir, Y.; Giannini, A. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres Jan Volume: 107 Issue: D1-D2 p.: - (2002) Doi 10.1029/2000jd000307
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
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)
Interdecadal changes in the ENSO teleconnection to the Caribbean region and the North Atlantic oscillation Giannini, A.; Cane, M. A.; Kushnir, Y. Journal of Climate Volume: 14 Issue: 13 p.: 2867-2879 (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)
North Atlantic climate variability: Phenomena, impacts and mechanisms Marshall, J.; Kushnir, Y.; Battisti, D.; Chang, P.; Czaja, A.; Dickson, R.; Hurrell, J.; McCartney, M.; Saravanan, R.; Visbeck, M. International Journal of Climatology Dec Volume: 21 Issue: 15 p.: 1863-1898 (2001)
Seasonality in the impact of ENSO and the North Atlantic high on Caribbean rainfall Giannini, A.; Kushnir, Y.; Cane, M. A. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth Part B-Hydrology Oceans and Atmosphere Volume: 26 Issue: 2 p.: 143-147 (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)
Interannual variability of Caribbean rainfall, ENSO, and the Atlantic Ocean Giannini, A.; Kushnir, Y.; Cane, M. A. Journal of Climate Jan 15 Volume: 13 Issue: 2 p.: 297-311 (2000)
Interdecadal changes in eastern Pacific ITCZ variability and its influence on the Atlantic ITCZ Chiang, J. C. H.; Kushnir, Y.; Zebiak, S. E. Geophysical Research Letters Nov 15 Volume: 27 Issue: 22 p.: 3687-3690 (2000)
Dominant patterns of climate variability in the Atlantic Ocean during the last 136 years Tourre, Y. M.; Rajagopalan, B.; Kushnir, Y. Journal of Climate Aug Volume: 12 Issue: 8 p.: 2285-2299 (1999)
Analyses of global sea surface temperature 1856-1991 Kaplan, A.; Cane, M. A.; Kushnir, Y.; Clement, A. C.; Blumenthal, M. B.; Rajagopalan, B. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans Aug 15 Volume: 103 Issue: C9 p.: 18567-18589 (1998)
Observed decadal midlatitude and tropical Atlantic climate variability Rajagopalan, B.; Kushnir, Y.; Tourre, Y. M. Geophysical Research Letters Nov 1 Volume: 25 Issue: 21 p.: 3967-3970 (1998)
The recent increase in North Atlantic wave heights Kushnir, Y.; Cardone, V. J.; Greenwood, J. G.; Cane, M. A. Journal of Climate Aug Volume: 10 Issue: 8 p.: 2107-2113 (1997)
Interdecadal Variations in North-Atlantic Sea-Surface Temperature and Associated Atmospheric Conditions Kushnir, Y. Journal of Climate Jan Volume: 7 Issue: 1 p.: 141-157 (1994)