Daniel Swain, PhD

NatureNet Postdoctoral Fellow

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 in California. My research seeks to embrace “climate complexity” by accounting for the nuanced spatial and temporal characteristics of our planet’s response to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

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

My recent efforts have focused on the broader climate context of the 2013-2016 California drought, with a particular focus on understanding extremely persistent regions of atmospheric high pressure over the Pacific Ocean (like the so-called “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge“)–which tend to cause severe dryness and warmth across the Pacific Southwest. I have also begun work on a new investigation into the changing character of California precipitation extremes in a warming world, especially those linked to concentrated plumes of atmospheric water vapor known as “atmospheric rivers.”

 

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 and other scientific topics. In addition to giving frequent interviews to print, radio, television, and web media outlets, I also review existing news articles for climate-related 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

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