Department of Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Students' Distinguished Visiting Lecture

Lecture: "El Niño, and the Rise of the Pacific as Global Climate Pacemaker"

Shang-Ping Xie

Professor Shang-Ping Xie

Prof. Shang-Ping Xie
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California San Diego

April 7, 2016 (Thursday)

7:30-8:30 pm,
Kane Hall 220







About the Lecture

When Charles Darwin stepped on the Galapagos of the eastern Pacific in 1835, he saw “an arid volcanic soil” and leafless vegetation. Unknown to Darwin is that every few years, rain storms of El Niño transform the islands into a lush landscape. El Niño effects are far-reaching, causing droughts that keep wild fires raging for months in Indonesia and driving the storm track from the Pacific Northwest to California. Prolonged cooling of the tropical Pacific temporarily slowed down global surface warming in the early 21st century while atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has continued to rise, exceeding 400 ppm for the first time since Homo sapiens walked the Earth. The lecture surveys the scientific advances that transformed our view of the equatorial Pacific from a remote ocean to the great pacemaker of global climate.

About the Speaker

Shang-Ping Xie is a professor of climate science and holds the Roger Revelle Chair in environmental science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. His research concerns ocean-atmosphere interactions, climate variability and change. His work contributes to answering such fundamental questions as how climate varies both naturally and in the face of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, how preferred patterns of climate variability form, and how predictable climate is. He was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, and named as a highly cited researcher by Thomson Reuters in 2014. More information on Prof. Xie can be found at

Sponsored by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

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