Large-scale dynamics

Outside of the tropics, the dynamics of the troposphere can be separated into the problem of the zonally-symmetric circulation and the problem of the zonally-asymmetric circulation. I have worked on both problems using a variety of idealized models, like the Phillips 2-layer quasi-geostrophic model and the GFDL dry dynamical core; with a particular focus being connecting the models' internal variability to their linear responses. Where possible I compare my results with observational data.

Climate sensitivity

I have investigated the connection between comprehensive climate models' internal variability and their sensitivity, which could provide a new "emergent constraint" on Earth's sensitivity. A related question is understanding models' behavior on different frequencies, which is relevant for future climate changes as well as past variations of Earth's climate.

Papers in Progress

  1. Lutsko, N. J. and Adames, Á. F. Equatorial Superrotation During Strong La Niña Events. Under review at GRL.
  2. Lutsko, N. J., Held, I. M., and Takahashi, K. What can the internal variability of CMIP5 models tell us about their sensitivity? In preparation.


  1. Lutsko, N. J. The Response of a Dry Atmosphere to ENSO-like Heating: Superrotation and the Breakdown of Linear Theory. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. Accepted.
  2. Popp, M. and Lutsko, N. J. (2017) Quantifying the zonal-mean structure of tropical precipitation. Geophysical Research Letters. Accepted.
  3. Lutsko, N. J., Held, I. M., Zurita-Gotor, P. and O'Rourke, A. K. (2017). Lower Tropospheric Eddy Momentum Fluxes in Idealized Models and Reanalysis Data. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. Accepted.
  4. Lutsko, N. J. and Held, I. M. (2016). The Response of an Idealized Atmosphere to Orographic Forcing: Zonal vs Meridional Propagation. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 73(9):3701 – 3718. Link
  5. Lutsko, N. J., Held, I. M., and Zurita-Gotor, P. (2015). Applying the Fluctuation–Dissipation Theorem to a Two-Layer Model of Quasi-Geostrophic Turbulence. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 72(8):3161 – 3177. Link