I am a Lamont Research Professor at Columbia University. I was trained as an atmospheric dynamicist and my primary research goal is to understand how the physical system works. I also often collaborate outside my primary field to produce research of direct relevance to the management of climate variability and adaptation to climate change. My research happens in a university setting and, as such, it is inextricably linked to my activities as a teacher and mentor to the next generation of climate scientists.
Intense storms and aridity in the Sahel.
© 2006 Guichard/Kergoats/CNRS Photothèque.
The Sahel spans the width of North Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia. It's a semi-arid region that experience its short rainy season during northern summer, in association with the West African monsoon. Rainfall variability in the region is large and consequential. I have long worked on understanding the natural and anthropogenic drivers of drought and the trustworthiness of model projections for the coming decades. You can read my take on the state of the science in this review.
An idealized tropical continent in an aquaplanet
Sometimes comprehensive climate models are as difficult to make sense of as the reality that they aim to simulate. But idealizations can bring out the essence of a phenomenon or reveal the reasons why different models simulate it differently. I have co-led an international Model Intercomparison Project that aims to use idealized simulations to understand the behavior of tropical rainfall when ocean and land interact and under global warming. We have some neat results on the origin of polar amplification and the equatorial cold tongue. And more research is forthcoming.
I currently teach "Dynamics of Climate Variability and Change" in the MA in Climate and Society
Browse a summer school lecture, a long-format seminars, and short conference presentations
There are research opportunities for undergraduate students throughout the year. Columbia students can do research for credit or for pay. Students from other universities may come for summer internships.
My PhD students have come from the Departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences or Applied Physics and Applied Math. I also mentor students in the Master of Arts in Climate and Society.
Lamont offers postdocs a vibrant community of peers–whether working on federally funded grants or their own fellowship projects– and unique support to further their careers by leading grant proposals.
I was born and raised in Udine, Italy. I went to college in Trieste to study Physics and eventually fell in love with climate science. Thanks to good mentors at ICTP, COLA, and CMCC, I ended up getting my PhD in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. I came to Lamont in 2004 as a postdoc and never left. I live in NYC with my husband, my son, and my cat Emma. If you want to hear the whole story and more, you can listen to Adam Sobel's Deep Convection podcast.
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