Lorenzo M. Polvani

Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Applied Mathematics / Earth & Environmental Sciences
Office: 216 S.W. Mudd
Mail: 200 S.W. Mudd, Mail Code: 4701
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 1-212-854-7331
Email: lmp@columbia.edu

Polvani’s research encompasses many aspects of atmospheric and climate dynamics, including the physical response of the climate system to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide, the chemistry and dynamics of the stratosphere, Arctic and Antarctic climate change, and past and future climate impacts caused of the Montreal Protocol. He is particularly interested in quantifying and distinguishing the effects of anthropogenic forcings from natural climate variability. He also retains an interest in geophysical fluid dynamics, and occasionally dabbles in planetary atmospheres.

Polvani earned Batchelor and Master degrees in Physics from McGill University, and a Doctorate in Physical Oceanography from the MIT/Woods Hole Joint Program in 1988. He was an Instructor in Applied Mathematics at MIT before joining Columbia University, where he has been teaching for over 25 years. He has received several teaching awards.

Research Specialty

Atmospheric and climate dynamics, geophysical fluid dynamics, planetary atmospheres

Research Areas

Atmospheric Science, Ocean and Climate Physics, Modern and Future Climate


Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, 1988

Professional Experience

• Affiliate Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 2004-present
• Alliance Visiting Professor, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaisaeau, France, 2015
• Visiting Scholar, Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences, New York University, 2006
• Visiting Scientist, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton NJ, 2001-2002
• Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 2000-present
• Senior Staff Member, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, 2000-present
• Professor of Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, 1996-present
• Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, 1995-2000
• Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, 1990-1995
• Instructor in Applied Mathematics [non-tenure track], M.I.T., 1988-1990

Professional Affiliations

• American Meteorological Society
• American Geophysical Union
• European Geosciences Union
• American Physical Society
• American Astronomical Society
• Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Honors & Awards

• Best Teacher of the Year, Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, 2012
• Great Teacher Award, Society of Columbia Graduates, Columbia University 2008
• Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, Columbia SEAS Alumni Association 1997

for an updated list, please refer to www.columbia.edu/~lmp/pubs.html

L.M. Polvani, L. Wang, V. Aquila and D.W. Waugh: The impact of ozone depleting substances on tropical upwelling, as revealed by the absence of lower stratospheric cooling since the late 1990s, J. Climate, 30, 2523-2534 (2017)

M. Previdi and L.M. Polvani:  Anthropogenic Impact on Antarctic Surface Mass Balance, Currently Masked by Natural Variability, to Emerge by Mid-Century, Environ. Res. Lett., 11, 094001 (2016)

L.M. Polvani, S.J. Camargo and R.R. Garcia: The importance of the Montreal Protocol in mitigating the potential intensity of tropical cyclones, J. Climate, 29, 2275-2289 (2016)

N. Calvo, L.M. Polvani and S. Solomon:  On the surface impact of Arctic ozone extremes, Environ. Res. Lett., 10, 094003 (2015)

E.A. Barnes and L.M. Polvani:  CMIP5 projections of Arctic amplification, of the North American/North Atlantic circulation, and of their relationship, J. Climate, 28, 5254-5271 (2015)

K.M. Grise and L.M. Polvani:  Theresponse midlatitude jets to increased CO2: Distinguishing the roles of sea surface temperature and direct radiative forcing, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 6863-6871 (2014)

K.M. Grise and L.M. Polvani:  Is climate sensitivity related to dynamical sensitivity? A Southern Hemisphere perspective, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 534-540 (2014)

Y. Wu, L.M. Polvani and R. Seager:  The importance of the Montreal Protocol in protecting the earth's hydroclimate, J. Climate, 26, 4049-4068 (2013)

E.A. Barnes and L.M. Polvani:  Response of the midlatitude jets, and of their variability, to increased greenhouse gases in the CMIP5 models, J. Climate, 26, 7117-7135 (2013)

K.M. Smith, L.M. Polvani and D.R. Marsh:  Mitigation of 21st century Antarctic sea ice loss by stratospheric ozone recovery, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L20701 (2012)

C.M. Bitz and L.M. Polvani:  Antarctic climate response to stratospheric ozone depletion in a fine resolution ocean climate model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L20705 (2012)

L.M. Polvani and S. Solomon:  The signature of ozone depletion on tropical temperature trends, as revealed by their seasonal cycle in model integrations with single forcings, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D17102 (2012)

L.M. Polvani, D.W. Waugh, G.J.P. Correa and S.-W. Son: Stratospheric ozone depletion: the main driver of 20th Century atmospheric circulation changes in the Southern Hemispher, J. Climate, 24, 795-812 (2011)

A.P. Showman and L.M. Polvani:  Equatorial superrotation on tidally locked exoplanets, Astrophys. J., 738:71 (2011)

O. Martius, L.M. Polvani and H.C. Davies:  Blocking precursors to stratospheric sudden warming events, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L14806 (2009)

L.M. Polvani and J.G. Esler:  Transport and mixing of chemical airmasses in idealized baroclinic life cycles, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D23102 (2007)

A.J. Charlton and L.M. Polvani:  A new look at stratospheric sudden warmings. Part I. Climatology and modeling benchmarks, J. Climate, 20, 449-469 (2007)

L.M. Polvani and P.J. Kushner:  Tropospheric response to stratospheric perturbations in a relatively simple general circulation model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 29, no. 7 (2002)

A. Kuo and L.M. Polvani:  Time-dependent fully nonlinear geostrophic adjustment, J. Phys. Ocean., 27, 1614-1634 (1997)

L.M. Polvani, J.C. McWilliams, M. Spall and R. Ford:  TThe coherent structures of shallow water turbulence: deformation radius effects, cyclone/anticyclone asymmetry and gravity wave generation, Chaos, 4, 177-186 (1994)

D.G. Dritschel and L.M. Polvani:  The roll-up of vorticity strips on the surface of a sphere, J. Fluid Mech., 234, 47-69 (1992)

L.M. Polvani, J. Wisdom, E. deJong and A. Ingersoll:  Simple dynamical models of Neptune's Great Dark Spot, Science, 249, 1393-1398 (1990)

L.M. Polvani, G.R. Flierl and N.J. Zabusky:  Filamentation of Unstable Vortex Structures via Separatrix Crossing: a Quantitative Estimate of Onset Time, The Physics of Fluids A, 1, 181-184 (1989)


Polvani in the news

·       Including Ozone Complexities in Climate Change Projections

·       By Mid-Century, More Antarctic Snowfall May Partially Offset Sea-Level Rise

·       Without the Montreal Protocol, More Intense Tropical Cyclones

·       Ozone-protection treaty Had Climate Beneifts, Too, Study Says

·       Ozone hole might slightly warm the planet

·       Study Links Ozone Hole to Climate Shifts

·       A tug of war on the jet stream

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