Leadership & Advisory Committee

Adam Sobel
Director and Chief Scientist

This initiative is led by Dr. Adam Sobel, a leading scientist in the study of extreme weather and climate. Dr. Sobel has authored or coauthored more than a hundred articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has won several major awards, including the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, the Meisinger Award from the American Meteorological Society, the AXA Award in climate and extreme weather, and the Ascent Award from the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Sobel received his PhD in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a tenured professor at Columbia University, in the departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics.

Suzana Camargo
Executive Director

Suzana Camargo is a Lamont Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in the Division of Ocean and Climate Physics. Dr. Camargo received her Ph.D. in Physics from Munich Technical University and a B.S. and M.Sc. in Physics from São Paulo University in Brazil. Camargo research studies various aspects of climate variability and climate change, in particular tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and their relationship with the climate. Recently, Camargo was one of the co-leaders of the US CLIVAR Hurricane Working Group.

Michael Tippett
Chief Data Scientist

Michael Tippett is a Lecturer in Discipline in Applied Mathematics at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. His research focuses on the predictability and variability of the climate system, with emphasis on the application of statistical methods to data from observations and numerical models. Dr. Tippett has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Mathematics from New York University, and a B.S. in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, Raleigh.


The Advisory Committee:

The Initiative’s Advisory Committee is made up of faculty experts from across Columbia’s schools and centers. The Advisory Committee serves as a coordinated body to organize our intellectual resources internally on this problem across a wide range of Columbia schools, departments, and units. The Committee aims to cultivate external partners and supporters, and enhance existing Columbia research projects and networks. It aims to grow the Initiative, and also maintain, over the long-term, existing strengths in the face of declining federal agency budgets.

Mark Cane
G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences

Mark Cane is the G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences in Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia University, where he also holds joint appointment in the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and serves as a member of the IRI’s International Science and Technical Advisory Committee. Cane received his Ph.D. in Meteorology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975. With his colleague Dr. Stephen Zebiak, Mark devised the first numerical model able to simulate El Niño and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a pattern of interannual climate variability centered in the tropical Pacific but with global consequences. In 1985 this model was used to make the first physically based forecasts of El Niño.Dr. Cane has been honored with the Sverdrup Gold Medal of the American Meteorological Society (1992), the Cody Award in Ocean Sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (2003), and the Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International Award from the World Meteorological Organization (2009), and the Maurice Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union (2013).  He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society; the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the Oceanography Society, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the National Academy of Sciences. His current research is focused on the variations in the paleoclimate record, especially abrupt changes, and on the impact of climate variability on human activities, especially agriculture and health.

George Deodatis
Chair, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

George Deodatis has written over one hundred thirty technical papers published in journals and conference proceedings. In recognition of his scholarly contributions in the field, he has received the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability (IASSAR) Junior Research Prize, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Walter Huber Research Prize. His research interests are in the area of probabilistic methods in civil engineering and engineering mechanics where he has contributed in developing theories and methodologies for simulation of stochastic processes and fields to model uncertain earthquake/wind/wave loads and material/soil properties, reliability and safety analysis of structures, stochastic mechanics, stochastic finite element analysis, earthquake engineering, structural dynamics, random vibrations, and risk assessment and management of civil infrastructure systems subjected to natural and technological hazards. He has received many awards for his work as a professor.

Michael Gerrard
Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Michael B. Gerrard is an Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School; is director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law; and teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy law. He is also Associate Chair of the faculty of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. From 1979 through 2008 he practiced environmental law in New York, most recently as partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter LLP. Upon joining the Columbia law faculty in 2009, he became Senior Counsel to the firm. A prolific writer in environmental law and climate change, Gerrard twice received the Association of American Publishers’ Best Law Book award for works on environmental law and brownfields. He has written or edited eleven books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the leading work in its field (second edition published in 2014, co-edited with Jody Freeman) and the twelve-volume Environmental Law Practice Guide. Gerrard was the 2004-2005 chair of the American Bar Association’s 10,000-member Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. He also chaired the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Lisa Goddard
Director, International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Lisa Goddard is the director of the IRI and an adjunct associate professor within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Columbia University. She has been involved in El Niño and climate forecasting research and operations since the mid-1990s. She has extensive experience in forecasting methodology and has published papers on El Niño, seasonal climate forecasting and verification, and probabilistic climate change projections. Currently leading the IRI’s effort on near-term climate change, Goddard oversees research and product development aimed at providing climate information at the 10-20 year horizon and how that low frequency variability and change interacts with the probabilistic risks and benefits of seasonal-to-inter-annual variability. She also developed and oversees a new national post-doctoral program, the Post-docs Applying Climate Expertise Program (PACE), which explicitly links recent climate PhDs with decision making institutions. Goddard holds a PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences from Princeton University and a BA in physics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Timothy Hall
Senior Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Timothy Hall is a senior scientist with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia University. His research interests include hurricane risks, tracer transport in the ocean and atmosphere, the carbon cycle, and climate variability and impacts. Dr. Hall received a B.A. in Physics from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University.

Radley Horton
Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research

Dr. Radley Horton is an Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University and his research interests include: regional climate projections, sea level rise, extreme climate events, loss of Arctic sea ice and its implications, and adaptation to climate variability and change. Radley is a Convening Lead Author for the Third National Climate Assessment, Northeast Chapter. He is also Deputy Lead for NASA’s Climate Adaptation Science Investigator Working Group, charged with linking NASA’s science to its institutional stewardship. He served as the Climate Science Lead for the New York City Panel on Climate Change, and is a Co-Lead for the NOAA-funded Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast. Radley is also the Columbia University lead for the Department of Interior-funded Northeast Climate Science Center. Radley has also been a Co-leader in the development of a global research agenda in support of the United Nations Environmental Program’s Programme on Vulnerability, Impacts, and Adaptation (PROVIA) initiative. Radley teaches in Columbia University’s Sustainable Development department.

Jesse Keenan
Research Director, Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE)

Jesse M. Keenan is the Research Director for the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE.) and Adjunct Professor of Real Estate Development at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. Working with cities across the globe, Keenan currently leads research in climate change adaptation of the built environment across a variety of scales from building design to regional planning practices. Keenan has previously held various teaching, research and visiting appointments at the University of Miami, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and Joint Center for Housing Studies, the University of Amsterdam and The Bauhaus Academy. Keenan’s research has partnered with a variety of global actors, including Google, Goldman Sachs, Audi, Airbnb, UN-Habitat, Hulic Co., Ltd., Open Society Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, among others. Keenan is the author of NYC 2040: Housing the Next One Million New Yorkers (Columbia University Press) and the forthcoming book Blue Dunes: Resiliency by Design (Columbia University Press).

Upmanu Lall
Director, Columbia Water Center

Dr. Upmanu Lall is the Director of the Columbia Water Center and the Alan and Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering at Columbia University. He has broad interests in hydrology, climate dynamics, water resource systems analysis, risk management and sustainability. His current research covers 3 major initiatives that are developed through the Columbia Water Center. The Global Water Sustainability Initiative is focused on an assessment of global water scarcity and risk. The Global Flood Initiative is motivated by the desire to predict and manage floods at a global scale recognizing their climate drivers, and supply chain impacts. Dr. Lall has pioneered the application of techniques from (a) nonlinear dynamical systems, (b) nonparametric methods of function estimation and their application to spatio-temporal dynamical systems, (c) Hierarchical Bayesian models, (d) systems optimization and simulation and (e) the study of multi-scale climate variability and change as an integral component of hydrologic systems. He has been engaged in high-level public and scientific discussion through the media, the World Economic Forum, and with governments, foundations, development banks, and corporations interested in sustainability.

Marc Levy
Deputy Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)

Marc Levy serves as Deputy Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), a unit of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is a political scientist specializing in the human dimensions of global environmental change. He has worked closely with the U.S. government and the United Nations on climate-security problems, and is currently a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Fifth Assessment. In addition to researching climate-security connections, Levy explores methods for predicting emerging infectious disease risk and for measuring sustainable development, and is leading a project in Haiti to reduce vulnerability to disaster risks by integrating ecology and economic development goals on a watershed scale.

Alison Miller
Deputy Executive Director, The Earth Institute
Alison Miller is Deputy Executive Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University. She is also the Associate Director of the Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management at the Earth Institute. From 2007-2010, Miller worked as a business development and investor relations associate for an asset management firm, where she worked with institutional clients and consultants. She has previously worked with New York City’s Division of Energy Management, providing project management support for energy efficiency projects. Miller has also worked as a consultant to the New York Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, where she evaluated and advised on electric vehicle policy. She is the co-author of the new book, Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to a Cleaner Economy (2015) with Steven Cohen and William Eimicke; and has co-authored papers and studies on climate policy, sustainability, and management and policy analysis. She received her B.A. in Economics and International Relations from the University of Delaware and her M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

David Madigan
Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

David Madigan received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Sciences and a Ph.D. in Statistics, both from Trinity College Dublin. He has previously worked for AT&T Inc., Soliloquy Inc., the University of Washington, Rutgers University, and SkillSoft, Inc. He has over 100 publications in such areas as Bayesian statistics, text mining, Monte Carlo methods, pharmacovigilance and probabilistic graphical models. He is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

Ben Orlove
Senior Research Scientist, International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Dr. Ben Orlove is an anthropologist by trade.He has conducted field work in the Peruvian Andes since the 1970s and more recently in Burkina Faso and Bhutan. His early work focused on agriculture, fisheries and rangelands. More recently Dr. Orlove has studied climate change and glacier retreat, with an emphasis on water, natural hazards and the loss of iconic landscapes. In addition to numerous academic articles and books, he has published a memoir and a book of travel writing. Dr. Orlove teaches in the School of International and Public Affairs, as well as the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Master’s Program in Climate and Society, for which he also serves as Director. He is also a Senior Research Scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, and one of the four co-directors of the Center for Research in Environmental Decisions.

Irwin Redlener
Director, National Center for Disease Preparedness

Dr. Irwin Redlener is a recognized national leader in disaster preparedness and the public health ramifications of terrorism and large-scale catastrophic events. He and his team have developed major programs to enhance public health and health systems readiness with respect to disasters. He has written and spoken widely on the response to Hurricane Katrina, U.S. readiness for pandemics and the concerns of children as potential targets of terrorism. Dr. Redlener has also had more than three decades of experience providing healthcare to medically underserved children in rural and urban communities throughout the U.S. As founder and president of the Children’s Health Fund, he is a renowned advocate for access to healthcare for all children. He has been a formal and informal adviser to the president and various cabinet members since 1993, over the last few years working with key members of the U.S. Congress on disaster preparedness and child health access. In 1993 & 1994, Dr. Redlener served as special consultant to the National Health Reform Task Force for the Clinton White House. He has taught medical students in rural Honduras and has led or assisted in international disaster relief in Central America and Africa. Dr. Redlener has also created a series of direct medical relief programs and public health initiatives in the Gulf region ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

David Yao
Piyasombatkul Family Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR)

David Yao joined the IEOR Department in 1983, and became a full-time professor in 1988. He has been an IEEE fellow and has authored or coauthored over 160 refereed publications, three books, and five edited volumes. Yao is the stochastic models area editor of Operations Research, and has served on the editorial board of several other leading journals. A principal investigator of over two dozen research grants and contracts, Yao has conducted extensive scientific and consulting work in semiconductor manufacturing, computer systems scheduling, Internet and Web-server performance optimization, and supply chain management. He is a holder of four U.S. patents in manufacturing operations and supply-chain logistics. Among the awards he has received, are the Outstanding Paper Prize (2003) from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Franz Edelman Award (1999) from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award (1999) from IBM, and the Guggenheim Fellowship (1991/92) from the Guggenheim Foundation.