Prof. Adam Sobel

Pronouns: he/him

Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ocean and Climate Physics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

217 Seeley W. Mudd
Mail Code: 4701
New York, NY 10027


Adam H. Sobel studies weather and climate, with a focus on extreme weather events and a particular interest in the tropics. Phenomena include tropical cyclones, intraseasonal variability, precipitation, severe convection, and climate change, as well as a substantial effort in recent years in climate risk and impacts. Sobel’s research spans basic and applied prediction and risk assessment, and uses observations, theory, and numerical simulations with models spanning a hierarchy in complexity. He is particularly interested in the interactions between turbulent deep convection and large-scale atmospheric dynamics, as these are key to the qualitative and quantitative understanding and prediction of many modes of atmospheric behavior, including extreme precipitation events. He has developed novel methods for diagnosing these interactions, connecting high-resolution explicit simulations of cloud systems to simple theoretical representations of large-scale dynamics in order to extract essential mechanisms and understand the connections between weather and climate. In another line of work, with colleagues in both academia and the insurance industry, Sobel has been developing hybrid statistical-dynamical models, combining mechanistic understanding with inference from observational data, to assess the risk of rare but extremely damaging extreme weather events, particularly tropical cyclones, but also tornadoes and hail, extreme precipitation, and others.

Sobel also has a strong interest in science communication. He has written many op-eds for the mainstream media, as well as a book, Storm Surge (Harper-Collins, 2014) about Hurricane Sandy. Currently he hosts a podcast, Deep Convection, featuring wide-ranging conversations with other climate scientists.

Sobel received a BA in physics and music from Wesleyan in 1989 and a PhD in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998. He has received the Meisinger Award (2010) and Louis J. Battan Author’s Award (2014) from the American Meteorological Society, the Ascent Award from the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union (2014), and the Lamont-Doherty Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2010).


Only select projects listed below
Name Start Date End Date
Atlantic Climate Variability - Dynamics, Prediction and Hurricane Risk 7/1/17 6/30/18
AXA Award Research Project: Global Patterns of Extreme Precipitation 11/18/13 12/31/16
Collaborative Research: Tropical Cyclone Tracks in Present and Future Climates 9/1/11 8/31/16
Dynamics and Prediction of the Boreal Summer Intraseasonal Oscillation in the Maritime Continent 8/15/16 12/31/20
Future Changes in the Seasonal Cycle: Mechanisms and Implications 1/1/10 2/28/15
Idealized models for tropical climate dynamics 8/1/10 7/31/15
Intraseasonal Variability and Tropical Cyclones in the NASA GISS General Circulation Model 6/15/09 6/14/14
Intraseasonal variability and tropical cyclones in the NASA GISS General Circulation Model 7/1/13 6/30/17
Local Processes and Global Constraints in the Indian Monsoon 12/3/18 12/20/21
Madden Julian Oscillation - the Maritime Continent barrier and seamless verification 7/1/16 6/30/19
The Climate Change Signal in Hurricanes Today 10/1/18 9/30/20
The Madden Julian Oscillation and the Maritime Continent 4/1/16 3/31/19
The Madden-Julian Oscillation: Model Development and Diagnosis of Mechanisms 6/1/09 6/30/13
Towards a Better Understanding of the Relationship Between Climate Change and Tropical Cyclone 7/1/08 6/30/13
Tropical Cyclone Hazard Model Intercomparison Workshop 7/1/17 10/7/17
Tropical Cyclones and Climate - A Model Intercomparison Project 1/1/12 12/31/16
Tropical Cyclones in the GISS model at High Resolution 7/10/17 7/9/22
Type 1-L02170337: Collaborative Research: Use of Climate Information in International Negotiation for Adaptation Resources 11/29/10 3/31/15
Europe and Global Challenges - Research Proposal, Impact of intensified weather extremes on Europe's economy 10/1/18 9/30/22
Forced Precipitation Response in a Single Column Model with Parameterized Dynamics 3/1/20 2/28/23
Assessing and Informing Health System Resilience to Climate Change 11/1/19
Quantification of Climate Change Scenario Risk using Catastrophe Models 11/1/20 10/31/21
Global Tropical Loss Model 2/1/21 1/31/22
Assessing the Public Health Risk due to Tropical Cyclone Impacts on Petrochemical Facilities 6/15/23 6/14/26
Collaborative Research: NSFGEO-NERC: Hurricane Risk Amplification and Changing North Atlantic Natural Disasters 3/1/23 2/28/26
The Forced Trends in the Tropical Pacific and Global Tropical Cyclones in Earth System Models 9/1/22 8/31/25
Collaborative Research: Forced Trends in the Tropical Pacific and Global Tropical Cyclones 8/1/22 7/31/25
The Lancet Commission on COVID-19 Year 2 5/4/22 12/31/22


Only select publications listed below
Name Published Date
Data: An Investigation of Tropical Cyclone Development Pathways as an Indicator of Extratropical Transition 2022
Azimuthally Averaged Wind and Thermodynamic Structures of Tropical Cyclones in Global Climate Models and Their Sensitivity to Horizontal Resolution 2020
Aerosol versus Greenhouse Gas Effects on Tropical Cyclone Potential Intensity and the Hydrologic Cycle 2019
A Global Climatology of Extratropical Transition. Part I: Characteristics across Basins 2019
A Global Climatology of Extratropical Transition. Part II: Statistical Performance of the Cyclone Phase Space 2019
Moist Static Energy Budget Analysis of Tropical Cyclone Intensification in High-Resolution Climate Models 2019
Process-Oriented Evaluation of Climate and Weather Forecasting Models 2019
Tropical Cyclone Hazard to Mumbai in the Recent Historical Climate 2019
Tropical Cyclone Prediction on Subseasonal Time-Scales 2019
An empirical model relating U.S. monthly hail occurrence to large‐scale meteorological environment 2018
An Environmentally Forced Tropical Cyclone Hazard Model 2018
Dynamic amplification of extreme precipitation sensitivity 2018
Process-Oriented Diagnosis of Tropical Cyclones in High-Resolution GCMs 2018
Subseasonal Tropical Cyclone Genesis Prediction and MJO in the S2S Dataset 2018
Coupling with ocean mixed layer leads to intraseasonal variability in tropical deep convection: Evidence from cloud‐resolving simulations 2017
Factors Controlling Rain on Small Tropical Islands: Diurnal Cycle, Large-Scale Wind Speed, and Topography 2017
Role of the Convection Scheme in Modeling Initiation and Intensification of Tropical Depressions over the North Atlantic 2017
Seasonal Noise Versus Subseasonal Signal: Forecasts of California Precipitation During the Unusual Winters of 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 2017
Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Model Tracks in Present and Future Climates 2017
Autoregressive Modeling for Tropical Cyclone Intensity Climatology 2016
Human influence on tropical cyclone intensity 2016
Intercomparison of methods of coupling between convection and large‐scale circulation: 2. Comparison over nonuniform surface conditions 2016
Modeling the MJO in a cloud‐resolving model with parameterized large‐scale dynamics: Vertical structure, radiation, and horizontal advection of dry air 2016
Northern hemisphere tropical cyclones during the quasi-El Niño of late 2014 2016
Rapid intensification and the bimodal distribution of tropical cyclone intensity 2016
Role of Radiative–Convective Feedbacks in Spontaneous Tropical Cyclogenesis in Idealized Numerical Simulations 2016
Tropical cyclones and climate change 2016
Tropical cyclones in the GISS ModelE2 2016
Hurricanes and Climate: The U.S. CLIVAR Working Group on Hurricanes 2015
Intercomparison of methods of coupling between convection and large‐scale circulation: 1. Comparison over uniform surface conditions 2015
Probabilistic Multiple Linear Regression Modeling for Tropical Cyclone Intensity 2015
Projected Twenty-First-Century Changes in the Length of the Tropical Cyclone Season 2015
Regional Simulation of the October and November MJO Events Observed during the CINDY/DYNAMO Field Campaign at Gray Zone Resolution 2015
An Empirical Relation between U.S. Tornado Activity and Monthly Environmental Parameters 2014
Characteristics of tropical cyclones in high-resolution models in the present climate 2014
Impact of the Tropopause Temperature on the Intensity of Tropical Cyclones: An Idealized Study Using a Mesoscale Model 2014
Moist Static Energy Budget of the MJO during DYNAMO 2014
Radiative convective equilibrium over a land surface 2014
Seamless Precipitation Prediction Skill in the Tropics and Extratropics from a Global Model 2014
Testing the Performance of Tropical Cyclone Genesis Indices in Future Climates Using the HiRAM Model 2014
An Idealized Prototype for Large-Scale Land–Atmosphere Coupling 2013
Cloud-resolving simulation of TOGA-COARE using parameterized large-scale dynamics 2013
Moisture Modes and the Eastward Propagation of the MJO 2013
Tropical Intraseasonal Variability in Version 3 of the GFDL Atmosphere Model 2013
Understanding Hadley Cell Expansion versus Contraction: Insights from Simplified Models and Implications for Recent Observations 2013
Association of U.S. tornado occurrence with monthly environmental parameters 2012
A Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer HDO/H2O retrieval simulator for climate models 2012
Implementation of the Quasi‐equilibrium Tropical Circulation Model 2 (QTCM2): Global simulations and convection sensitivity to free tropospheric moisture 2012
Projected changes in the physical climate of the Gulf Coast and Caribbean 2012
Projected Changes in the Seasonal Cycle of Surface Temperature 2012
The Tropical Subseasonal Variability Simulated in the NASA GISS General Circulation Model 2012
A mechanism denial study on the Madden‐Julian Oscillation 2011
A Poisson Regression Index for Tropical Cyclone Genesis and the Role of Large-Scale Vorticity in Genesis 2011
Projected Future Seasonal Changes in Tropical Summer Climate 2011
Response of convection to relative sea surface temperature: Cloud-resolving simulations in two and three dimensions 2011
Intraseasonal Variability in an Aquaplanet General Circulation Model 2010
Revisiting the Influence of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation on Tropical Cyclone Activity 2010
Surface Fluxes and Tropical Intraseasonal Variability: a Reassessment 2010
Diagnosis of the MJO Modulation of Tropical Cyclogenesis Using an Empirical Index 2009
Single‐layer axisymmetric model for a Hadley circulation with parameterized eddy momentum forcing 2009
The Mechanics of Gross Moist Stability 2009
The role of the Sahara low in summertime Sahel rainfall variability and change in the CMIP3 models 2009
On the Wavelength of the Rossby Waves Radiated by Tropical Cyclones 2008
Regional modeling of decadal rainfall variability over the Sahel 2007
Relationship between the potential and actual intensities of tropical cyclones on interannual time scales 2007
Tropical cyclone genesis potential index in climate models 2007
Use of a genesis potential index to diagnose ENSO effects on tropical cyclone genesis 2007
Use of a Genesis Potential Index to Diagnose ENSO Effects on Tropical Cyclone Genesis 2007
The Big Brother Experiment and seasonal predictability in the NCEP regional spectral model 2006
Workshop on Tropical Cyclones and Climate, March 27-29, 2006 2006
Influence of the western North Pacific tropical cyclones on their large-scale environment 2005
Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Intensity and ENSO 2005
Formation of tropical storms in an atmospheric general circulation model 2004
Characteristics of Western North Pacific Model Tropical Cyclogenesis 2002
The Hadley Circulation and the Weak Temperature Gradient Approximation 2002
The Weak Temperature Gradient Approximation and Balanced Tropical Moisture Waves 2001