Jackson is interested in the interpretation of modern and paleoclimate observational data in terms of the physics of the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and their coupling. His primary research tools are complex computer models of the climate system and various simplified models that are sometimes more useful for isolating processes of interest.

In collaboration with colleagues Mrinal Sen and Paul Stoffa at the Institute for Geophysics and Gabriel Huerta at the University of New Mexico, Charles is developing new methods that use modern and paleoclimate data to systematically and efficiently identify and quantify sources of climate model uncertainty. Charles is also interested in answering how glacial cycles occur and the processes that caused or amplified the episodes of extreme climate variability during the last glacial cycle (~120 to 10 thousand years ago). Charles has examined how the collapse of part of the Laurentide ice sheet, which covered Canada during the last glacial cycle, could facilitate episodes of climate variability on millennial time scales through its control over the atmosphere's circulation. He has worked closely with researchers at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory to model the climate system's response to continuous changes in Earth's orbital geometry over the last 165 thousand years.

Areas of Expertise

global warming, abrupt climate change, sea level rise, ocean mixing, Bayesian Inference, inverse modeling, simulation, climate projections, uncertainty quantification


Current Research Programs & Projects

Collaborative Project: The problem of bias in defining uncertainty in computationally enabled strategies for data driven climate model development

That Un-Certain Thing: Estimating Basal Geometry Uncertainties Important to Projections of Thwaites Glacier Dynamics

Optimization and Uncertainty Quantification of Ocean Boundary Layer Physics

Dynamics of Ice Sheets: Advanced Simulation Models, Large-Scale Data Inversion, and Quantification of Uncertainty in Sea Level Rise Projections

Uncertainty Quantification for Large-Scale Ice Sheet Modeling and Simulation

Searching for Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation Strength Threshold Leading to Abrupt Change of the African Monsoon


Select Past Research

Toward Robust Estimates of Climate Prediction Uncertainty

Collaborative Research: An inverse model study of abrupt climate change

Collaborative Research: Stochastic representation of parameter uncertainties within model predictions of future climate

Uncertainty in the Climate Modeling Process and Its Implications for Predictions of Global Warming and Water Resources

Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow - National Academy of Sciences (2006)

Young Investigator Award - Jackson School of Geosciences (2005 - 2006)

Advisor, Graduate Student, Gail Gutowski (2011)

Participant, Expert Meeting on Assessing and Combining Multi-Model Climate Projections, IPCC (2010)

Associate Editor, Associate Editor, Reviews of Geophysics (2005 - 2010)

Mentor, Postdoctoral Scientist, Christina Holland (2004 - 2006)

Advisor, Graduate Students, Yurun Liu (2004 - 2010)

Mentor, Postdoctoral Scientist, Faming Wang (2003 - 2005)

Contributed, Development of a topography-smoothing package, GFDL/NOAA's Flexible Modeling System (2002)

Associate Editor, Associate Editor, Geophysical Research Letters (2001 - 2004)

Mentor, Postdoctoral Scientist, Quiaozhen Mu (2001 - 2003)

Mentor, Postdoctoral Scientist, Youlong Xia (2001 - 2003)

Member, American Meterological Society

Member, American Geophysical Union

Graduate Students

Gail Gutowski, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
I am interested in better understanding uncertainty in climate predictions in order to reduce that uncertainty. My research explores the intersection of data and modeling efforts, in order to evaluate how uncertain models make use of uncertain data. My current projects focus on the contribution of ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctica) to rising sea level. I have been using the Community Earth System Model to evaluate the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet from pre-industrial times to 2100, focusing on the impact of model initialization on predictions. I also quantify observational uncertainty in ice-penetrating radar data collected by the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. I participated in Antarctic field work with the Geological Investigations of Marie Byrd Land Lithospheric Evolution (GIMBLE) project in austral summer 2012.