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Climate Dynamics News Archive


Joseph Levy was preparing for a season of scientific research in Antarctica last week when he got the call: Stand down. Dr. Levy, a research associate at UT Austin’s Institute for Geophysics, is studying the climate history of the dry valleys of Antarctica by analyzing buried ice sheets that have been frozen since the last ice age…

Variations in the rate of global warming since the 1970s were not caused by atmospheric changes that affect how much solar radiation reaches the Earth’s surface, a new study says.Over the past century, rising greenhouse gas levels have caused global average temperatures to increase, climate scientists Kaicun Wang and Robert Dickinson write in the Proceedings…

For the first time, scientists have documented an acceleration in the melt rate of permafrost, or ground ice, in a section of Antarctica where the ice had been considered stable. The melt rates are comparable with the Arctic, where accelerated melting of permafrost has become a regularly recurring phenomenon, and the change could offer a…

AUSTIN, Texas — In a development that will help predict potential sea level rise from the Antarctic ice sheet, scientists from The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics have used an innovation in radar analysis to accurately image the vast subglacial water system under West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier. They have detected a swamp-like…

Scientists have discovered the cause for an observed slowdown in the Walker Circulation (WC) over the past 60 years, and in the process boosted their confidence in atmospheric models. The WC is a wind pattern in the tropical Pacific that, as it changes from year to year, spawns floods and droughts in North America and…

Linking Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change

Hurricane Sandy was dubbed a “Super storm” for its unusual formation. Kerry Cook, a climate scientist at the Jackson School, calls it a hybrid that was “drawing energy from the warm tropical Atlantic, but also from strong temperature gradients associated with the jet stream and the cold front.” Cook cautions against making any direct connection…

Climatologist Rong Fu prefers a bird’s eye view of the Earth’s climate. That’s “birds,” as in satellites, which she uses to study climate processes in remote areas such as the Amazon, the Tibetan Plateau, and tropical oceans. This perspective helps Fu understand how climate changes in these remote areas could have an impact closer to…

The Jackson School of Geosciences’ programs in climate research and education will benefit tremendously from several new high profile faculty and researchers including Kerry Cook. Her research focuses on how Earth’s surface structures—including topography, water, soil, vegetation, geology and human development—affect atmospheric circulation and precipitation and how those impacts in turn affect surface structures. She…

When Robert Dickinson began working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado in 1968, global climate models were crude and wildly inaccurate. “The code I worked with covered Los Angeles with snow,” he laughs. “That was a problem with modeling how frost forms on the ground.” He eventually concluded that the…

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