Daniel Swain, PhD

Assistant Researcher

Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Center for Climate Science


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

Weather West/California Weather Blog

Bio

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 and floods. 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–especially across the American West.

A simulated “atmospheric river” storm makes landfall along the West Coast. (Adapted from Swain et al. 2015)

My recent work seeks to understand the changing character precipitation, including the rising risk of regional “megafloods” as the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere increases. In addition to better understanding the thermodynamic and dynamic changes to the atmosphere responsible for shifting hydroclimatic extremes, a key aim of this research is to develop empirically-supported, multi-benefit approaches to natural hazard adaptation in an era of increasing climate whiplash. 

I currently hold joint appointments as a Researcher 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 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 scientifically informed yet broadly accessible 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.

 

Full curriculum vitae available here.

 

Projects

The Future of Extreme Precipitation in California

Our researchers are investigating the effects of climate change on heavy precipitation events in the state. Specifically, we're focusing on atmospheric rivers, moisture-laden filaments of air that move across oceans and produce heavy precipitation when they make landfall. Understanding how atmospheric rivers are affected in a changing climate is key to smart water planning in the future.

Publications

On the Connection Between Global Hydrologic Sensitivity and Regional Wet Extremes

C.W. Thackeray, A.M. DeAngelis, A. Hall, D.L. Swain, X. Qu

Published Work | 2018 | Geophysical Research Letters


Characterizing the spatial scales of extreme daily precipitation in the United States

D. Touma, A.M. Michalak, D.L. Swain, N.S. Diffenbaugh

Published Work | 2018 | Journal of Climate


Increasing precipitation volatility in twenty-first-century California

D.L. Swain, B. Langenbrunner, J.D. Neelin, and A. Hall

Published Work | 2018 | Nature Climate Change


Remote linkages to anomalous winter atmospheric ridging over the northeastern Pacific

D.L. Swain, D. Singh, D.E. Horton, J.S. Mankin, T.C. Ballard, N.S. Diffenbaugh

Published Work | 2017 | Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres


Quantifying the influence of global warming on unprecedented extreme climate events

N. S. Diffenbaugh, D. Singh, J. S. Mankin, A. Charland, D. E. Horton, M. Haugen, D .L. Swain, B. Rajaratnam, D. Touma

Published Work | 2017 | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Recent Amplification of the North American Winter Temperature Dipole

D. Singh, D. L. Swain, J. S. Mankin, D. E. Horton, L. N. Thomas, B. Rajaratnam, N. S. Diffenbaugh

Published Work | 2016 | Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres


Trends in Atmospheric Patterns Conducive to Seasonal Precipitation and Temperature Extremes in California

D. L. Swain, D.E. Horton, D. Singh, N. S. Diffenbaugh

Published Work | 2016 | Science Advances


Evaluation of Non-hydrostatic Simulations of Northeast Pacific Atmospheric Rivers and Comparison to In-situ Observations

D.L. Swain, B. Lebassi-Habtezion, N.S. Diffenbaugh

Published Work | 2015 | Monthly Weather Review


Anthropogenic Warming has Increased Drought Risk in California

N.S. Diffenbaugh, D.L. Swain, D. Touma

Published Work | 2015 | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Contribution of Changes in Atmospheric Circulation Patterns to Extreme Temperature Trends

D.E. Horton, N.C. Johnson, D. Singh, D.L. Swain, B. Rajaratnam, N.S. Diffenbaugh

Published Work | 2015 | Nature



The Extraordinary California Drought of 2013-2014: Character, Context, and the Role of Climate Change

D.L. Swain, M. Tsiang, M. Haugen, D. Singh, A. Charland, B. Rajaratnam, N.S. Diffenbaugh

Published Work | 2014 | Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society