Hurricane Climate Variability and Change

National Hurricane Center’s forecasts and operations as well as climate variability and change.

Chris Landsea, Ph.D.

Branch Chief, Tropical Analysis & Forecast Branch National Hurricane Center

Christopher W. Landsea is the branch chief of the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. The branch generates wind and wave forecasts for the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, tropical North Atlantic Ocean, and tropical northeastern Pacific Ocean. The TAFB supports the Hurricane Specialist Unit at NHC by providing tropical cyclone position and intensity estimates based on the Dvorak technique.

Dr. Landsea received his Bachelor’s Degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of California Los Angeles (1987) and his Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Atmospheric Science for Colorado State University (1991, 1994). His graduate  work  was  undertaken  with  Dr.  Bill Gray, one of the world’s leading experts on hurricanes and tropical meteorology. Dr. Landsea’s main expertise is in seasonal forecasting of hurricanes, in hurricane climate variability and change, and in testing applied research projects for possible use in weather forecasting. He currently is leading up a re-analysis of the Atlantic hurricane database. 1992’s Hurricane Andrew was officially upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane at landfall in southeastern Florida as part of this project.

While a Research Meteorologist at the Hurricane Research Division (HRD) from 1995 through 2005, Landsea participated in the HRD Hurricane Field Program by flying in the NOAA Orion P-3 aircraft into and in the NOAA Gulfstream IV jet around 15 Atlantic hurricanes (including Gilbert, Opal, Georges, Charley, Jeanne, Ivan, and Katrina) for research and forecasting purposes. He served  as the Science and Operations Officer at NHC from 2005 to 2018. He has published more than 60 peer reviewed articles in the journals Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Climatic Change, EOS, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Climate, Journal of Insurance Regulation, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, Monthly Weather Review, Natural Hazards Review, Nature, Nature Geoscience, Science, Tell us Weather, Weather and Forecasting, and several book chapters.

Dr. Landsea is a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the  National Weather Association and the  American Geophysical Union. He served as the Chair of the AMS Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones for the years 2000-2002. Dr. Landsea was the recipient of the AMS’s Max A. Eaton Prize for the Best Student Paper given at the 19th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology in May 1991 and was co-recipient of the AMS’s Banner I. Miller Award given for the best contribution to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting at the May 1993 meeting of the 20th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology.

Dr. Landsea is the 2000 co-recipient of a U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal  “for issuing the accurate and first official physically­ based Atlantic seasonal hurricane outlooks for the 1998/1999 seasons, based upon new research; the 2002 AMS’ Editor’s Award for reviews  for  the journal Weather and Forecasting; the 2009 co­ recipient of the National Hurricane Conference’s Outstanding Achievement Award for  Meteorology for development of the Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook product at NHC; and the 2011 co-recipient of a Department of Commerce Gold Medal “for excellence in research and data stewardship leading to a more confident assessment of the influence of human-induced climate change on hurricanes”. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Bulletin of the  American Meteorological Society as its subject matter  editor in tropical meteorology.

Recent Advances in Drought Monitoring and Prediction Research and Tools

New research including drought-wildfire connections, snow droughts, and the importance of atmospheric thirst in 21st century; applications of research through new cloud computing technology and publicly available tools.

Dr. Daniel McEvoy

Regional Climatologist, Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center

Dan McEvoy serves as the Regional Climatologist for the Western Regional Climate Center and is a faculty member with the Desert Research Institute’s Division of Atmospheric Science. He holds a PhD in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. McEvoy primarily works on hydroclimatolgy research and data applications in the western US with a focus on drought monitoring, climate-wildfire connections, and subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction.

 

Climate Model Evaluation

Statistical methods in climate science: natural and human “fingerprints” in observed climate records.

Dr. Ben Santer

UCLA’s Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering as a Visiting Researcher

Research
Ben Santer is an atmospheric scientist. He recently retired from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and is now a Visiting Researcher at UCLA’s Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering. He studies natural and human “fingerprints” in observed climate records. His early research contributed to the historic 1995 conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”. He served as lead author of a key chapter of that report. Since 1995, Ben has identified human fingerprints in atmospheric temperature and water vapor, ocean heat content, sea surface temperature in hurricane formation regions, and many other climate variables.

Education
Ben holds a doctorate in Climatology from the University of East Anglia, England. After completing his Ph.D. with Prof. Tom Wigley in 1987, he spent five years at the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany. While at the Max-Planck Institute, he worked with Prof. Klaus Hasselmann on developing and applying climate fingerprint methods. Ben was at Lawrence Livermore’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison from 1992 until October 2021.

Other information
Ben has received a number of awards for his research. These include a MacArthur Fellowship (1998), membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2011), and the Procter Prize (2019). The most significant awards are the friendships he has made during his career. In addition to his research, he cares deeply about the communication of climate science to a wide range of audiences. He writes for the Scientific American blog and has appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers”.

Together with Chip Duncan and Dr. Hernando Garzon, Ben is a member of “The Three Tenors of Climate Change”. The Tenors are devoted to the task of improving public understanding of the science and impacts of human-caused climate change. In his spare time, Ben is an avid rock-climber and mountaineer.

 

Changing Risk of Compound Extremes in a Warming Climate

Extreme events affecting multiple regions simultaneously can have cascading impacts on several interconnected societal sectors, disaster management resources and an individual ability to avoid impacts. New research on the physical causes and observed increases in various types of compound extremes: wildfire, co-occurring air pollution, humidity conditions and globally-concurrent heatwaves.   

Deepti Singh

Assistant Professor, School of the environment, Washington State University Vancouver

Deepti is an assistant professor in the School of the Environment at Washington State University. Prior to joining WSU, she received her Ph.D from Stanford University in 2015 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University from 2015-2018. Her research aims to advance our understanding of climate hazards affecting vulnerable communities with the goal of providing actionable information for designing policies, risk-management, and adaptation planning. She studies the influence of human activities on weather and climate events occurring on local to global scales. Her research identifies the physical drivers of compound climate extremes and their impacts on agriculture, public health, and water resources using a combination of observations, paleoclimate evidence, remote sensing data, and global climate model simulations.

Deepti was recognized as a Kavli ‘Frontiers of Science’ Fellow by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2015 and was named a Grist 50 Fixer in 2019.

When not immersed in extremes, she dedicates her time towards climate change outreach with K-12 students and community groups, and efforts to increase diversity in STEM.  She also enjoys swimming, bike rides, hiking, and volunteering with animal rescues.

Twitter handle @climatechirper

Atmospheric Rivers Scale to Characterize the Strength and Impacts

Overall magnitude and impacts of atmospheric rivers from a forecast and observation perspective. Discuss application of the AR Scale, along with new products/tools the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes utilizes (i.e. Oct. 24, 2021 AR 5 that impacted Northern California).

Chad Hecht 

Meteorologist at the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD

Chad is a meteorologist and forecaster at the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. CW3E focuses on providing 21st Century water cycle science, technology, and outreach to support effective policies and practices that address the impacts of extreme weather and water events on the environment, people, and economy of Western North America.

As a forecaster, Chad is part of a team of meteorologist at the center that regularly issues outlooks that focus on the forecast uncertainty and impacts associated with atmospheric rivers that bring both beneficial and hazardous precipitation to the U.S. West. The team regularly produces forecast tools that focus on atmospheric river characteristics that aim to communicate the uncertainty and potential impacts of an impending storm. Chad also leads a team of forecasters during Atmospheric River Reconnaissance, a field campaign that utilizes the NOAA G-IV and Air Force Reserves C-130 Hurricane Hunter aircraft to sample Eastern Pacific storms before they make landfall for the purposes of data assimilation and scientific observation.

Chad’s research primarily focuses on the processes and forecast evaluations of extreme precipitation driven by atmospheric rivers. Before CW3E, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Geoscience, focusing in Atmospheric Science, from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York and a Master’s in Applied Meteorology from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Panel Presentation: West Coast Wildfires

Including Dixie; Caldor Fire at South Tahoe; fire behavior management; smoke impacts; new technology; Sierra-at-Tahoe’s challenges & resilience, example for U.S. ski areas on USFS lands

 

Ryan Walbrun

Assistant Chief, CAL FIRE

Lead Meteorologist-National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area with over 20 years of experience.

Ryan has been an Incident Meteorologist (IMET) since 2003, providing on-site forecast services to Incident Management Teams across the West: Montana, Idaho, Nevada and most often in California with nearly 60 wildfire missions. This past summer he worked on the nearly 1 million acre Dixie Fire.  In recent years he served on the 2019 Kincade fire and 2016 Soberanes fire, helping the office earn NOAA Bronze Model awards.

Ryan is also a course instructor for the Advanced Fire Behavior Interpretation course, taught every two years at the National Advanced Fire & Resource Institute located in Tucson Arizona.

Prior to joining the National Weather Service, Walbrun provided training and technical support to Broadcast Meteorologists and also spent time In Boston forecasting for utility and other industries such as ski resorts.   He earned his degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has completed Master level coursework at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California.

Ryan is fortunate enough to call Kirkwood his home mountain where he skis with his wife and two children who ski competitively throughout the Tahoe Basin.

John Rice

General Manager, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort

John has worked in ski area management throughout his entire 42 year career, holding management positions at Squaw Valley USA, Sierra Summit, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain, and currently serves as General Manager of Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort. 

He graduated from California State University, Chico with a BA in Recreation Administration, and has completed executive development programs at the University of California Berkeley.

John is a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), and the Society for Human Resource Professionals (SHRM).  He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Lake Valley Fire Protection District, the California Ski Industries Association (CSIA), and has served as a past board member on the NSAA (National Ski Areas Association), the SIA (Ski Industries of America Snowboard Committee) and the Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation.  As a motivational speaker John has delivered keynote and topical presentations to a variety of groups and clubs.

He is known for his work in bringing the sport of snowboarding to the ski resort industry in the 1980’s, and is credited with building the first full time snowboard terrain park in the US.  He does consulting and expert witness work in terrain parks and ski area operations, at resorts in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.   

John is an avid skier/boarder, fly fisherman, a professional musician playing in a local Tahoe band called Preacher’s Pickers, and enjoys all forms of outdoor recreation in his free time.    

Climate Change on the Local Level: Tahoe’s Experience

Jesse Patterson

Chief Strategy Officer, League to Save Lake Tahoe

The League to Save Lake Tahoe, the oldest and largest environmental nonprofit dedicated exclusively to environmental preservation in the Lake Tahoe Basin. 

Since 2012, Jesse has overseen all aspects of the League’s programs, including natural resources, policy, community engagement and communications. He is also responsible for the League’s strategic planning and serves as the primary spokesperson with the media and public.

Jesse received his Master of Environmental Science and Management from the Donald Bren School at UCSB and a Bachelor of Science in aquatic biology from UCSB. Prior to joining the League, Jesse was a marine biologist for an interdisciplinary research group at UCSB. His group’s work was used to design and monitor California’s network of Marine Protected Areas. He also spent five years co-leading the Environmental Protection Agency for a Native American Tribe in Southern California, and served with the California Coastal Commission as an assistant biologist.

The nexus for all of Jesse’s work is the intersection of applied science, policy development and community engagement for the betterment of the environment and the people who depend on it. 

Originally from the Central Coast of California, Jesse has been fortunate to spend the last nine years raising a family in Lake Tahoe. When not working, you can find him doing anything and everything outside. He is particularly fond of surfing, snowboarding, SCUBA diving and mountain biking. 

 

Moderator / Conference MC

Rob Mayeda

Meteorologist KNTV, NBC San Jose/Bay Area

Rob provides weekend forecasts and contributes to weekday weather coverage for NBC Bay Area. He also produces and reports on weather-related news specials including the award-winning “On Thin Ice” a report on climate change affecting Alaska’s glaciers.  The American Meteorological Society recognized “On Thin Ice” with its “Excellence in Scientific Reporting” award for “highlighting the importance of climate change’s relevance to future impacts to the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Rob’s career in broadcast news began off camera as an ABC News production associate for “20/20” and “Primetime Live.” He later joined the local news assignment desk at KNBC in Burbank where he worked in news special projects also seen on CNBC.

Before calling NBC Bay Area home, Rob worked at KIRO (CBS) in Seattle and at KCRA (NBC) in Sacramento where he spent three years as a morning and weekend weather anchor. Rob was also a weather anchor and reporter in San Luis Obispo and Palm Desert.

Rob holds the American Meteorological Society‘s Television Seal of Approval #1682 earned Emmy awards in 2015, 2011, and 2002 from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, San Francisco Chapter.

He completed his Master of Science degree in Geosciences (Meteorology/Geology/Hydrology) from Mississippi State University. Rob is also a graduate of the University of Arizona where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and English. 

In time away from NBC Bay Area, Rob is a guest lecturer at Cal State East Bay in Hayward for meteorology, geology and planetary science courses.

His community work includes the Lupus Foundation of Northern California as a former board member, annual emcee for the 5K Walk/Run and has travelled to Washington D.C. with the Lupus Research Institute to raise lupus awareness at congressional meetings. He was recently honored in 2015 with the LFNC’s “Top Media Ally” award at the annual Purple Ribbon Gala, and spends time assisting LupusLA at events during the year.

Rob and wife Sarah recently welcomed two fraternal twin boys Christopher Samuel and Jonathan Daniel into the family, they enjoy living in the Tri-Valley along with two Cavalier King Charles spaniels “Barkley” and “Riley”.

Social media updates available @RobMayeda on Twitter and Facebook.