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Water vapor is arguably the most important gas in the atmosphere: it's the primary greenhouse gas, and when it condenses into clouds/rain, it releases a massive amount of latent heat, enough to raise the temperature of near-surface tropical air by 50°C (90°F). This latent heat release acts like "gasoline" for hurricanes and large scale circulations in the tropics and extratropics alike. Since warmer air can hold more moisture, water vapor content will rise rapidly with global warming (global increases of 10-25% are expected by 2100 in mid-range emissions scenarios).

My primary research focus is the effect of water vapor on the global circulation of the atmosphere. I've studied atmospheric energy fluxes, the strength and width of the Hadley circulation, the effect of moisture on midlatitude static stability, and the dynamics of convectively coupled tropical waves, often in simplified settings with the goal being a better understanding of how these phenomena work.

As tools for my research, I utilize everything from coupled climate models and cloud resolving models to highly idealized mathematical models (e.g, one-dimensional first baroclinic mode models of the Walker circulation). I wrote a simplified moist general circulation model during my graduate work at Princeton, which my collaborators and I have used to study the effect of moisture on midlatitude eddy scales, eddy intensities and the jet stream position, the effect of a hypohydrostatic rescaling on the general circulation of the atmosphere, and the role of methane condensation on cloud formation on Saturn's moon Titan in addition to some of the topics listed above.

I am greatly interested in applying the theoretical understanding developed from the simple and intermediate-complexity models to paleoclimate and global warming scenarios. Recent work has used these simple theories to show a surprising source of the double ITCZ problem, the most persistent bias of climate models.

A complete list of my publications can be found here.