Dr. Richard Seager

Palisades Geophysical Institute/Lamont Research Professor, Ocean and Climate Physics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Columbia Climate School

106 Oceanography
61 Route 9W
PO Box 1000
Palisades, NY 10964


I am a climate scientist at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. I was born in the United Kingdom and did my undergraduate studies at the University of Liverpool where I was introduced to atmospheric sciences, climate studies and oceanography. I moved to New York and Columbia to do my PhD under Mark Cane and Steve Zebiak in tropical atmosphere-ocean and climate dynamics. After a postdoc at the University of Washington I returned to Lamont and have been here ever since. My work concerns climate variability and change on timescales of weeks to millennia with a special focus on atmosphere-ocean interaction, the causes of droughts and hydro climate variability and change. My work uses numerical models, observations and proxy climate reconstructions from paleoclimate records and covers the globe.


Only select projects listed below
Name Start Date End Date
Collaborative Proposal: EarthCube Integration: Pangeo: An Open Source Big Data Climate Science Platform 9/1/17 8/31/21
Collaborative Research: EaSM2: Linking near-term future changes in weather and hydroclimate in western North America to adaption for ecosystem and water management 4/1/13 3/31/19
Continental Scale Droughts in North America: Their Frequency, Character and Causes Over the Past Millennium and Near Term Future 7/1/14 6/30/18
Coupled Model Biases in the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Distribution of the Global Tropics and their Influence on Climate Change Projections 3/15/17 2/28/21
Drought Onset and Termination across North America: Mechanisms and Predictability 7/1/17 6/30/21
Global Decadal Hydroclimate Variability, Predictability and Change: A Data-Enriched Modeling Study (GloDecH) 8/1/10 7/31/15
Impact of rising greenhouse gases on mid-latitude storm tracks and associated hydroclimate variability and change 9/15/10 9/14/14
Mechanisms of change in global ocean heat uptake 9/1/14 8/31/19
Mechanisms of Mediterranean Region Hydroclimate Variability and Change 9/1/17 8/31/21
Multi-Scale Climate Information for Agricultural Planning in Southeastern South America for Coming Decades 3/1/11 2/28/16
P2C2: North American Megadrought: Atmosphere-Ocean Forcing and Landscape Response from the Medieval Period to the Near-term Greenhouse Future 7/1/09 6/30/13
Predicting North American Hydroclimate Change and Variability on Interannual to Multidecadal Timescale 8/1/09 6/30/13
Quantifying Process-based Variability and Uncertainties in Ocean, Land, and Atmosphere Forcing 7/20/17 7/31/22
Reconstruction and Dynamics of Interhemispheric Hydroclimate Variability Between the Americas 6/15/16 5/31/19
Stratospheric and Tropical Influences on the Mid-Latitude Circulation Response to Rising Greenhouse Gases 8/15/13 6/30/18
The American midsummer Drought: Casual Mechanisms and Seasonal-to-Interannual Predictability 8/1/10 7/31/13
The Dynamical Machanisms and Potential Predictability of Indian and Pacific Ocean Influences on Seas 8/1/14 7/31/18
The Mechanisms and Predictability of Multi-Basin Influences on North American Drought 7/1/08 6/30/13
The Tropics Rule: A Symposium honoring Mark Cane's contribution to Climate Science 6/1/14 12/31/15
GCR: Collaborative Research: Disentangling Environmental Change and Social Factors as Drivers of Migration 10/1/19 9/30/23
Collaborative Research: Interhemispheric and Zonal Asymmetries of the ITCZ 2/1/20 1/31/23
Anticipatory Assessment: Future US Droughts Under the Influence of Evolving Modes of Variability and Long-Term Change 9/1/20 8/31/22
Regional Influences of Vegetation on Complex Droughts in North America 9/1/20 8/31/22
Decadal Regime Shifts in the Pacific Ocean: Mechanisms, Hydroclimatic Imprints, and Predictability 9/1/21 8/31/24
Changes in Impacts-relevant Climate in the the World’s Mediterranean Climate Regions: A Mechanisms-based Investigation of Atmosphere-Ocean-Land Processes across Seasons 12/15/21 11/30/24
Collaborative Research: Forced Trends in the Tropical Pacific and Global Tropical Cyclones 8/1/22 7/31/25
Collaborative Research: Response of the Upper Tropical Pacific Ocean to Greenhouse Gas Forcing in Observations and Models 8/15/22 7/31/25
The Role of Vegetation in Past and Future Global Hydroclimatic Change 8/15/21 8/14/24
LTER Palmer, Antarctica (PAL): Land-Shelf-Ocean Connectivity, Ecosystem Resilience and Transformation in a Sea-Ice Influenced Pelagic Ecosystem 1/1/20 8/31/21


Only select publications listed below
Name Published Date
An Unexpected Decline in Spring Atmospheric Humidity in the Interior Southwestern United States and Implications for Forest Fires 2024
Recent and near-term future changes in impacts-relevant seasonal hydroclimate in the world's Mediterranean climate regions 2024
Connecting the SST pattern problem with the hot model problem 2023
Large-Scale Stability and the Greater Horn of Africa Long and Short Rains 2023
Observed humidity trends in dry regions contradict climate models 2023
Ocean-forcing of cool season precipitation drives ongoing and future decadal drought in southwestern North America 2023
Climate dynamics preceding summer forest fires in California and the extreme case of 2018 2022
Equatorial Pacific pCO2 Interannual Variability in CMIP6 Models 2022
Framing the frame: Cause and effect in climate-related migration 2022
Mechanisms of a Meteorological Drought Onset: Summer 2020 to Spring 2021 in Southwestern North America 2022
Megadroughts in the Common Era and the Anthropocene 2022
Persistent discrepancies between observed and modeled trends in the tropical Pacific Ocean 2022
The impact of flooding on food security across Africa 2022
Understanding CMIP6 biased in the representation of the Greater Horn of Africa long and short rains 2022
Assessing ENSO summer teleconnections, impacts, and predictability in North America 2021
Atmosphere-ocean dynamics of persistent cold states of the tropical Pacific Ocean 2021
Changing hydroclimate dynamics and the 19th to 20th century wetting trend in the English Channel region of northwest Europe 2021
Disentangling the Regional Climate Impacts of Competing Vegetation Responses to Elevated Atmospheric CO2 2021
ENSO Teleconnections and Impacts on U.S. Summertime Temperature during a Multiyear La Niña Life Cycle 2021
Future Summer Drying in the U.S. Corn Belt and the Role of Midlatitude Storm Tracks 2021
Placing the east-west North American aridity gradient in a multi-century context 2021
Quantifying atmosphere and ocean origins of North American precipitation variability. Climate Dynamics 2021
Violent conflict exacerbated drought-related food insecurity between 2009 and 2019 in sub-Saharan Africa 2021
A quantitative hydroclimatic context for the European Great Famine of 1315-17 2020
Climate Variability and Change in Western U.S. Rangelands 2020
Divergent Regional Climate Consequences of Maintaining Current Irrigation Rates in the 21st Century 2020
Mechanisms of winter precipitation variability in the European-Mediterranean region associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation 2020
Prediction of seasonal meteorological drought onset and termination over the southern Great Plains in the North American Multimodel Ensemble 2020
Climate variability and change of Mediterranean-type climates 2019
Dynamics and Variability of the Spring Dry Season in the United States Southwest as Observed in AmeriFlux and NLDAS-2 Data 2019
Increased fall precipitation in the southeastern US driven by higher-intensity, frontal precipitation 2019
Investigating the Causes of Increased Twentieth-Century Fall Precipitation over the Southeastern United States 2019
Mechanisms of seasonal soil moisture drought onset and termination in the southern Great Plains 2019
Oceanic and radiative forcing of medieval megadroughts in the American southwest 2019
Strengthening tropical Pacific zonal sea surface temperature gradient consistent with rising greenhouse gases 2019
The role of the stratosphere in future mid-latitude climate projections 2019
Blue Water Trade-Offs With Vegetation in a CO2-Enriched Climate 2018
Climate and the Global Famine of 1876-78 2018
Dynamical and Thermodynamic Elements of Modeled Climate Change at the East African Margin of Convection 2018
Mechanism of Future Spring Drying in the Southwest U.S. in CMIP5 Models 2018
Revisiting the Leading Drivers of Pacific Coastal Drought Variability in the Contiguous United States 2018
Role of the equatorial Pacific SST forecast error in the late winter California precipitation forecast for the 2015-16 El Niño 2018
The Downward Influence of Uncertainty in the Northern Hemisphere Stratospheric Polar Vortex Response to Climate Change 2018
Trans-Pacific ENSO teleconnections pose a correlated risk to agriculture 2018
Whither the 100th meridian? The once and future physical and human geography of America's arid-humid divide. Part II: The Meridian Moves East 2018
Whither the 100th meridian? The once and future physical and human geography of America's arid-humid divide. Part I: the story so far 2018
Commentary on the Syria case: Climate as a contributing factor 2017
Comparing proxy and model estimates of hydroclimate variability and change over the Common Era 2017
Covariability of climate and streamflow in the Upper Rio Grande from interannual to interdecadal timescales 2017
Crop production variability in North and South America forced by life-cycles of the El Niño Southern Oscillation 2017
Decadal Drought Variability Over North America: Mechanisms and Predictability 2017
Is there a role for human-induced climate change in the precipitation decline that drove the California drought? 2017
Life cycles of agriculturally relevant ENSO teleconnections in North and South America 2017
No Access Are Glacials Dry? Consequences for Paleoclimatology and for Greenhouse Warming 2017
Precipitation, Temperature, and Teleconnection Signals across the Combined North American, Monsoon Asia, and Old World Drought Atlases 2017
The 2016 Southeastern U.S. Drought: An Extreme Departure From Centennial Wetting and Cooling 2017
The Curious Case of Projected Twenty-First-Century Drying but Greening in the American West 2017
Categorical representation of North American precipitation projections 2016
Causes of change in Northern Hemisphere winter meridional winds and regional hydroclimate 2016
El Niño's impact on California precipitation: seasonality, regionality, and El Niño intensity 2016
Global Meteorological Drought: A Synthesis of Current Understanding with a Focus on SST Drivers of Precipitation Deficits 2016
Internal ocean-atmosphere variability drives megadroughts in Western North America 2016
North American megadroughts in the Common Era: reconstructions and simulations 2016
On the role of tropical ocean forcing of the persistent North America west coast ridge of winter 2013/14 2016
Physical Mechanisms of the California Drought 2016
Predictability and prediction of persistent cool states of the Tropical Pacific Ocean 2016
The improbable but unexceptional occurrence of megadrought clustering in the American West during the Medieval Climate Anomaly 2016
Western boundary currents and climate change 2016
Are Simulated Megadroughts in the North American Southwest Forced? 2015
Bridging Past and Future Climate across Paleoclimatic Reconstructions, Observations, and Models: A Hydroclimate Case Study 2015
Causes of interannual to decadal variability of Gila River streamflow over the past century 2015
Causes of the 2011-14 California drought 2015
Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought 2015
Climatology, Variability, and Trends in the U.S. Vapor Pressure Deficit, an Important Fire-Related Meteorological Quantity 2015
Contribution of anthropogenic warming to California drought during 2012–2014 2015
Mark Cane: 2014 Fellow of The Oceanography Society 2015
Mediterranean Summer Climate and the Importance of Middle East Topography 2015
North American Pancontinental Droughts in Model Simulations of the Last Millennium 2015
Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era 2015
Projected changes in US rainfall erosivity 2015
Supplemental Data: Climatology, variability and trends in United States vapor pressure deficit, an important fire-related meteorological quantity 2015
The Annual Cycle of East African Precipitation 2015
The Rainfall Annual Cycle Bias over East Africa in CMIP5 Coupled Climate Models 2015
Urbanization causes increased cloud base height and decreased fog in coastal Southern California 2015
Winter-to-summer precipitation phasing in southwestern North America: A multicentury perspective from paleoclimatic model-data comparisons 2015
A Diagnosis of the Seasonally and Longitudinally Varying Midlatitude Circulation Response to Global Warming 2014
Atmosphere and ocean origins of North American droughts 2014
Causes and Implications of Extreme Atmospheric Moisture Demand during the Record-Breaking 2011 Wildfire Season in the Southwestern United States 2014
Causes and Predictability of the 2012 Great Plains Drought 2014
Causes of increasing aridification of the Mediterranean region in response to rising greenhouse gases 2014
Correlations between components of the water balance and burned area reveal new insights for predicting forest fire area in the southwest United States 2014
Dynamical and Thermodynamical Causes of Large-Scale Changes in the Hydrological Cycle over North America in Response to Global Warming 2014
Dynamical Causes of the 2010/11 Texas–Northern Mexico Drought 2014
Global Warming and 21st Century Drying 2014
Hydroclimate Variability and Change in the Prairie Pothole Region, the “Duck Factory” of North America 2014
North American Climate in CMIP5 Experiments: Part III: Assessment of Twenty-First-Century Projections 2014
Pan-Continental Droughts in North America over the Last Millennium 2014
The East African Long Rains in Observations and Models 2014
The worst North American drought year of the last millennium: 1934 2014
Atmospheric Circulation Response to an Instantaneous Doubling of Carbon Dioxide. Part II: Atmospheric Transient Adjustment and Its Dynamics 2013