Daniel Swain, PhD

Climate Scientist

Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

LaKretz Hall, Suite 300
619 Charles E Young Dr. E
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Weather West/California Weather Blog


Research Focus
As a climate scientist, I study the physics, dynamics, and impacts of the Earth’s changing climate system. I’m especially interested in how global warming is affecting the character and causes of regional climate extremes—including the atmospheric phenomena responsible for droughts, floods, and wildfires. My research embraces “climate complexity” by accounting for the nuanced spatial and temporal characteristics of our planet’s response to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. I also work to understand linkages between different elements of the broader Earth system, and how changing conditions in the tropics and polar regions may be affecting climate in geographically distant regions.

daniel swain
A simulated atmospheric river makes landfall.

My recent work seeks to understand the changing spatiotemporal character of precipitation, including the rising risk of regional “megafloods” in a warming climate. In addition, my colleagues and I have recently embarked on multiple research projects focused on understanding the climate-related factors driving the recent surge in wildfire activity in California.  A collective aim of both these research tracks is to develop empirically-supported approaches to natural hazard mitigation that benefit both society and the environment in an era of increasing climate whiplash. 

I currently hold joint appointments as a climate scientist within UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, a research fellow in the Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and as the California Climate Fellow at The Nature Conservancy

Science Communication and Outreach
I author the Weather West blog, which provides real-time perspectives on California and western North American weather, climate, and regional change. I also engage extensively with journalists and other partners to facilitate accessible, scientifically-informed media coverage surrounding climate change. In addition to serving as a climate and weather science liaison to print, radio, television, and web media outlets, I also review existing news articles for scientific accuracy as part of the Climate Feedback team. You can find me on Twitter @Weather_West.

Full curriculum vitae available here.