Gavin D. Madakumbura

Graduate Student Researcher

Center for Climate Science

Gavin is a PhD candidate at the UCLA Department of  Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. His research interests mainly lie in hydroclimatic variability, hydrological and climate modeling, detection-attribution and emergent constraints . He finished his MSc in Civil Engineering, specializing in global hydroclimatology, at the University of Tokyo in 2017. Before starting at UCLA in 2018, Gavin worked at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory on a project related to precipitation measurement missions. Gavin also holds an MSc in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from UCLA.

One of his ongoing research is focusing on studying how hydroclimatic changes with global warming affect vegetation stress and wildfires. He is investigating the hidden mechanisms through which prolonged precipitation deficits transfer to vegetation stress and ultimately forest dieback. In a related study, he is investigating the climate controls of the fire season onset in the Western US. In his research related to climate modeling, he is studying how to develop robust emergent constraints to reduce the uncertainty in future projections of climate models. He uses machine learning in an interpretable and physics guided manner to answer his research questions. 

In his previous research, Gavin has explored the impacts of the intensification of the hydrologic cycle and related benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, one of the stated goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. He has also explored long-range forecasting of Indian monsoon rainfall based on teleconnections and how these teleconnections change in a warming climate, and hydrological and regional climate modeling for improved streamflow simulation using numerical models.