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Paul J. Kushner

Professor, Dept. of Physics, University of Toronto

Models and Theory of the Atmosphere's Response to Global Warming

Paul KushnerThe human-induced increase in greenhouse gas concentrations will do more to the Earth's climate than simply make it warmer: it will also change global winds and weather patterns, the distribution of storms, regional growing seasons, and so on. But the specifics of these changes to the atmospheric general circulation are surprisingly hard to predict, even though global climate models can simulate the atmosphere and the Earth's climate with increasing accuracy.

My research within the University of Toronto Centre for Global Change Science focuses on two questions:

  • What do climate models predict about changes to winds and weather patterns around the world as a result of greenhouse warming? We run state of the art climate models and use data from research centres around the world in this work. We have found that the answer to this question often depends on which climate model you are using.
  • How can we make sense of these predictions given what we know about the physics of the atmospheric general circulation? Climate change presents a challenge for our understanding of how the physical climate system functions. Our research tries to explain the dynamics of climate change, for example by analyzing climate forecasts from the point of view of the theory of the atmospheric general circulation.

To learn more about my research, please visit my website.