Dr. Alessandra Giannini

Pronouns: she/her

Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Columbia Climate School

Professeure des Universités (Full professor), Ecole normale supérieure-Université Paris Sciences et Lettres

24, rue Lhomond
75231 PARIS CEDEX 05


Born in Sarzana, Italy, in 1968, a year of joyful subversion throughout Western Europe, and the year of the Black Power protest at the Mexico City Olympics, Alessandra Giannini is old enough to recall the car-free Sundays of the global oil crisis, and the cholera epidemic in Naples of the early 1970s. She feels part of a European generation by necessity attuned to environmental issues.

After completing a Physics degree from the University of Milan, in 1995 she moved to New York and Columbia University to pursue studies in tropical climate dynamics, with the double intent of learning more about the workings of the climate system, and, by focusing on tropical climate, of learning how to do science that would be of potential use to society.

Alessandra Giannini has researched the dynamics of the impact of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation on tropical Atlantic variability, working on two regions particularly vulnerable to climate variability and change; the Brazilian Nordeste, and the islands of the Caribbean. The focus of her research is the Sahel. A paper that she
lead-authored in Science in 2003 conclusively attributed the persistence of drought in this region of Africa in the
1970s and 1980s to a warming of the global tropical oceans, challenging the widely held belief that the local populations were to be held responsible for this environmental disaster, hypothesized to have been brought about by rapid population growth and the consequent mismanagement of natural resources.

In 2017, Giannini was among the first batch of Make Our Planet Great Again laureates, and moved to the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique at l'Ecole normale supérieure-Université Paris Sciences et Lettres.

She continues to work on climate science, specifically on issues related to African climate change, and to be extremely interested in the policy implications of scientific findings, and in the role of science and scientists in our global society. See ale's personal IRI webpage for more info.



Selected publications (see here for a complete list)

Giannini, A., E.K. Ilboudo Nébié, D. Ba and O. Ndiaye, 2021. Livelihood strategies shape vulnerability of households' food security to climate in Senegal. Frontiers in Climate, 3, 731036, doi:10.3389/fclim.2021.731036

Giannini, A., 2021. Dérèglement climatique: le message du Sahel, essay in the June 2021 issue of Vu.es d'Ulm, the monthly newsletter of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, 1 June 2021

Giannini, A., A. Ali, C. P. Kelley, B. L. Lamptey, B. Minoungou and O. Ndiaye, 2020. Advances in the lead time of prediction of Sahel rainfall with the North American Multi-Model Ensemble. Geophys. Res. Lett., 47, e2020GL087341, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087341

Giannini, A. and A. Kaplan, 2019. The role of aerosols and greenhouse gases in Sahel drought and recovery. Climatic Change,152, 449-466, doi:10.1007/s10584-018-2341-9

Stith, M.-M., A. Giannini, J. del Corral, S. Adamo and A. de Sherbinin, 2016. A quantitative evaluation of the multiple narratives of the recent Sahelian "re-greening". Weather, Climate and Society, 8, 67-83, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0012.1

Giannini, A., R. Saravanan and P. Chang, 2003. Oceanic forcing of Sahel rainfall on interannual to interdecadal timescales. Science, 302, 1027-1030. Published online 9 October 2003. 10.1126/science.1089357