Atmospheres, Oceans, Ice, and Climate

  • Some particularly beautiful radiative transfer over the open ocean.

  • PhD student Grant MacDonald dyes a supraglacial stream red in Greenland.

  • Students consider the efficiency of engines in Professor Elisabeth Moyer's course on energy.

  • The Rossbypalooza group during the summer of 2016.

Research into the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and climate has a long and storied history at the University of Chicago. Carl-Gustaf Rossby, 1956 Time Man of the Year and arguably the most important figure in the development of modern meteorology, was the department chair in the 1940's. Later luminaries include Ted Fujita, after whom the tornado intensity scale is named. Additionally, although TC Chamberlin, founding chair of the department, is normally thought of as a geologist, he did important early glaciological work.

Our current research is exemplified by the relentless pursuit of truly fundamental problems in glaciology (MacAyeal), geophysical fluid dynamics (Jansen, Nakamura, and Shaw), climate dynamics and climate change (Abbot, Archer, JansenMoyer, and Shaw), and atmospheric chemistry (Moyer). Our methodologies range from pencil and paper theory to high-performance numerical simulation to analysis of satellite data to laboratory experiments. We form an integrated group that meets weekly for lively discussions in a journal club, and weekly during the summer for internal seminars by students and postdocs. We also have close connections and collaborations with scientists at Argonne National Laboratory, and close links to the Center for Robust Decision-making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP). Finally, we organize a yearly international workshop on climate dynamics for graduate students and postdocs called Rossbypalooza.