Prof. James C. McWilliams
leads a group with ongoing research in such fields of regional ocean modeling,
geostrophic turbulence, and vortex interactions. A center of effort
within the group includes development and application of the UCLA Regional Oceanic Modeling System (ROMS).
Climate variability involves strong interactions among
climate systems, and certain phenomena, such as El Niño, that arise from
interactions and that could not exist in the individual systems alone. The
Systems Interactions (CSI) group, led by Prof. J. David Neelin, develops
theory and modeling aimed at understanding these interactions. The group specializes in the application of hierarchical
climate modeling: building a hierarchy of models of successively less complexity,
until the phenomenon has been distilled down to its essential elements.
The more complex models aim to simulate the phenomena, while the simpler
models allow theoretical understanding. Many climate research groups make
some use of hierarchical modeling; a particular concern of this group is
to practice it systematically and attempt to make the derivation of the simpler
and intermediate complex members of the hierarchy as clean as possible.
The Theoretical Climate Dynamics (TCD)
group, led by Prof. Michael Ghil, studies climate dynamics on all time scales -- from intraseasonal,
through interannual and interdecadal, to millennial -- using the methods
of dynamical systems theory. They apply these methods to observations,
numerical models, and experiments concerning the climate system -- the
atmosphere, ocean, bio- and cryosphere -- through collaboration with researchers
in North America and on other continents.