Climate Dynamics and Impacts Unit

The UDIC is interested in research fields as diverse as Mediterranean and tropical climates, teleconnections and global climate dynamics, ENSO genesis and its predictability, the role of climate variability on the global carbon cycle and understanding, detecting and simulating climate impacts. We are particularly involved in understanding the ranges of climate sensitivity, in trying to decipher the ways ENSO impacts different regions – using both statistical and dynamic models – and the implications ENSO has for extremes and impacts on socio-economic factors.

We are also interested in understanding the origin of El Niño episodes, and how ENSO interacts with the tropical Atlantic and the extratropical Atlantic to modulate climate variability in the Mediterranean area and other regions in Africa and Asia. As an example, we are working on the interaction between ENSO and Southwest Asian monsoons, and how this interaction conditions both regional climate in the area and ultimately, hydrological extremes and the outbreak of infectious diseases. Interesting approaches include the development and implementation of new schemes for the parameterization of regional ocean models, to be used to improve the simulation skills of seasonal climate models (e.g. for the Mediterranean region, attempting to better simulate convective storms developing in late summer/early fall).

We are currently developing remote sensing and data fusion tools based on signal theory, in order to derive useful satellite information to be integrated into climate studies (in particular, though not exclusively, for hydrological extremes). In the area of climate and health, we are very active in trying to model extremes in climate and the way these translate to the health field through innovative approaches. For example, temperature extremes such as heat waves and their resulting impact on human mortality is an area we have successfully examined. A main focus of our research has also been centered on modeling climate-­driven infectious diseases (e.g. water-­borne diseases such as cholera, rotavirus, adenovirus, to vector-borne diseases such as malaria, cutaneous leishmaniasis, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever and dengue), for both endemic regions and in epidemic situations worldwide (such as the fringe areas of deserts and highlands). We have recently launched a new area of research devoted to modeling airborne diseases and their potential links to large-­scale atmospheric circulation patterns. 

General Objectives:

  • Identifying and understanding the physical and dynamic mechanisms that maintain climate patterns globally and regionally and the causes of their changes in time and space, in order to discover and understand the fundamentals of climate system predictability for interannual and longer timeframes, and evaluating the impact of human activity on the earth's climate and of the climate on societies and ecosystems.
  • A major objective of atmosphere-ocean science, and also of this research unit, is understanding how our atmosphere and oceans work together to produce the current climate, including its variations, and how that climate might change in the future.
  • In terms of climate impacts, the unit will work to identify key climatic and environmental players acting in each process, situation, time and space scales. It will use modeling to look at how interactions of internal dynamics of the impacted system can be predicted for the benefit of society. Main sectors include hydrology, agriculture and human health.
  • A new focus has emerged on the modelling of both climate and impacts in urban environments.

The active Research Groups at UDIC, are:

  • RG. Global Climate Variability
  • RG. Climate and Health
  • RG. Urban Climate and urbanization
  • RG. Mediterranean Climates and Extremes.

Research Themes