Kerry Emanuel's Group

Professor Kerry Emanuel's group works on problems related to tropical circulation and climate.

100 synthetic Atlantic hurricane tracks generated by a technique developed by our research group. Colors denote peak storm wind speed. We generate tens of thousands of such tracks for the current and future climates and use them to help assess hurricane risk - image: K. Emanuel



The climate of the Tropics is strongly influenced by cumulus convection, which is the dominant mechanism for transporting water from its source at the surface into the free troposphere and which also controls the vertical temperature profile through its upward transport of moist enthalpy.  Yet the representation of cumulus convection in weather forecast and climate models, whose resolution is far too coarse to directly simulate cumulus clouds, remains highly challenging.  A better understanding of moist convection and better ways to represent convection in models are major foci of Professor Emanuel's research team.

Compared to the weather systems of middle and high latitudes, those found in the Tropics are not nearly as well understood, and the skill of forecasts of tropical weather and climate correspondingly lags that of higher latitude weather and climate. Our group is engaged in research to better understand and predict such tropical phenomena as monsoons, the Madden-Julian Oscillation, easterly waves, cloud clusters, and tropical cyclones. We are also investigating the relationship between tropical cyclones, cloud clusters, and climate, including the possible feedback of clusters and cyclones on the climate system.