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Equatorial Islands and the Continua of Ocean-Climate Variability

Event Type: 
Event Date: 
08 May 2017
EOS Seminar Room - N2-01B-28
Kris Karnauskas
About the speaker: 

Kris Karnauskas is a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Kris leads the Oceans and Climate Lab at CU Boulder (, which explores the dynamics of the coupled Earth system toward useful predictions of impacts ranging from marine ecosystems to human health. Prior to joining the CU Boulder faculty, Kris spent six years on the faculty of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography (also teaching at Boston College) followed by a sabbatical at the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL) in Paris, France. Kris completed his B.S. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ph.D. at the University of Maryland-College Park, both in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Ocean and Climate Physics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Kris currently serves as Editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans and on the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) of U.S. CLIVAR.

About the event: 

Despite being mostly unresolvable by current-generation global climate models, equatorial islands play an outsized role in setting the mean regional to basin-sale climate, influencing its variability, and determining the local response to global radiative forcing. In some cases, the local island-ocean circulation interactions may even override the regional-scale response to global warming, with important implications for tropical marine ecosystems and their conservation. The dynamics and climatic manifestations of such interactions will be discussed, with examples drawn from a wide range of spatial and temporal scales from intraseasonal variability to paleoclimatic changes during the Plio–Pleistocene transition.