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Mark A. Cane

G. Unger Vetlesen Professor Emeritus of Earth and Climate Sciences; Professor Emerutus of Applied Physics and Applied Math; Special Research Scientist in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
School: 
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Department: 
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics Department, Earth and Environmental Sciences Department
Office: 
105B Oceanography, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY 10964
Email: 
mcane@ldeo.columbia.edu
Phone: 
845-365-8344
Appointments
  • Deputy Director, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Department Chair Earth & Enviromental Science
  • Associate Director, The Earth Institute
Biography

Like so many other oceanographers, I was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the days before the Dodgers left and precipitated the decline of American civilization. I was lucky enough to work on the tropical oceans in the era when we came to understand and predict El Niño and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the now famous pattern of interannual climate variability with well-publicized global consequences. Together with then student Steve Zebiak, I devised the first numerical model able to simulate ENSO, and in 1985 we used this model to make the first physically based forecasts of El Niño. Over the years the Zebiak-Cane model has been the primary tool used by many investigators to enhance understanding of ENSO.

Making predictions led to asking what to do with them. So I began to work on the impact of El Niño and other climate variability on human activity, especially agriculture and health. My 1994 paper (with student Gidon Eshel) on the strong effect of El Niño on the maize crop in Zimbabwe has been influential in prompting decision makers to consider climate variability. This line of inquiry led to the creation of the International Research Institute for Seasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction, housed here at Lamont.

While I continue to work on numerical models, equatorial dynamics, El Niño, prediction of climate variations and climate impacts, and global climate issues, my main interests at present are explaining the variations in the paleoclimate record, especially the astoundingly strong abrupt changes and the succession of droughts over the past millennium.

Research & Other Works
Article
The East African Long Rains in Observations and Models
Article
Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought
Article
Enhanced sensitivity of persistent events to weak forcing in dynamical and stochastic systems: Implications for climate change
Article
Zonal Momentum Balance in the Tropical Atmospheric Circulation during the Global Monsoon Mature Months
Article
Links between tropical rainfall and North Atlantic climate during the last glacial period
Article
A Theory for El Niño and the Southern Oscillation
Article
Equatorial oceanography
Article
On Equatorial Dynamics, Mixed Layer Physics and Sea Surface Temperature
Article
On the Sensitivity of Numerical Weather Prediction to Remotely Sensed Marine Surface Wind Data: A Simulation Study
Article
Reflection of low-frequency equatorial waves at arbitrary western boundaries
Article
A Note on Low-Frequency Equatorial Basin Modes
Article
A Numerical Model for Low-Frequency Equatorial Dynamics
Article
A Model of the Semiannual Oscillation in the Equatorial Indian Ocean
Article
El Niño
Article
Experimental forecasts of El Niño
Article
The Near Surface Equatorial Indian Ocean in 1979. Part I: Linear Dynamics
Article
On the Prediction of the El Niño of 1986-1987
Article
A Model EI Niño-Southern Oscillation
Article
Oceanographic Events During El Niño
Article
Modeling Sea Level During El Niño
Article
Hindcasts of Sea Level Variations during the 1982–83 El Niño
Article
On the dynamics of equatorial currents, with application to the Indian Ocean
Article
An Experiment in Institutional Transformation: The NSF ADVANCE Program for Women at the Earth Institute at Columbia University
Article
Changes in storm tracks and energy transports in a warmer climate simulated by the GFDL CM2.1 model
Article
The role of linear wave refraction in the transient eddy-mean flow response to tropical Pacific SST anomalies
Article
Righting the Balance: Gender Diversity in the Geosciences
Report
Current Approaches to Seasonal to Interannual Climate Predictions
Article
Predictability and prediction of persistent cool states of the Tropical Pacific Ocean
 
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