Climate Sensitivity

Narrowing the uncertainty in how Earth's climate will change in the future is one of the most pressing problems in all of science. I try to contribute to these efforts by developing emergent constraints on Earth's climate sensitivity (i.e., links between something we can observe in today's climate and models' climate sensitivity), and by studying the climate system holistically in order to develop a more nuanced picture of how Earth's climate will evolve.


  1. Jeevanjee, N., Koll, D. D. B., and Lutsko, N. J. (2019) Simpson's Law and the Spectral Cancellation of Climate Feedbacks. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL093699. Link
  2. Lutsko, N. J., Popp, M., Nazarian, R. H., and Albright, A. L. (2021) Emergent Constraints on Regional Cloud Feedbacks Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL092934. Link
  3. Lutsko, N. J. and Popp, M. (2019) Probing the Sources of Uncertainty in Transient Warming on Different Time‐Scales. Geophysical Research Letters, 46: 11367 – 11377. Link
  4. Lutsko, N. J. (2018) The Relationship Between Cloud Radiative Effect and Surface Temperature Variability at ENSO Frequencies in CMIP5 Models. Geophysical Research Letters, 45: 10599 – 10608. Link
  5. Lutsko, N. J. and Takahashi, K. (2018) What Can the Internal Variability of CMIP5 Models Tell Us About Their Climate Sensitivity? Journal of Climate, 31(13): 5051 – 5069. Link

Climate Dynamics

I am interested in many questions in climate dynamics, though my work tends to focus on the atmosphere. Recently I have been interested in understanding the controls on temperature and heat stress extremes.


  1. Hell, M. C., Cornuelle, B. D., Gille, S. T., and Lutsko, N. J. (2021) Time-Varying Empirical Probability Densities of Southern Ocean Surface Winds: Linking the Leading Mode to SAM and Quantifying Wind Product Differences. Journal of Climate, 34(13): 5497 – 5522. Link
  2. Lutsko, N. J., (2021) The Relative Contributions of Temperature and Moisture to Heat Stress Changes under Warming. Journal of Climate, 34(3): 901 – 917. Link
  3. Lutsko, N. J., (2020) Testing the Limits and Breakdown of the Nonacceleration Theorem for Orographic Stationary Waves. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 77(5): 1513 – 1529. Link
  4. Lutsko, N. J., Baldwin, J. W., and Cronin, T. W. (2019) The Impact of Large-Scale Orography on Northern Hemisphere Winter Synoptic Temperature Variability. Journal of Climate, 32(18): 5799 – 5814. Link
  5. Lutsko, N. J., Marshall, J., and Green, B. (2019) Modulation of Monsoon Circulations by Cross-Equatorial Ocean Heat Transport. Journal of Climate, 32(13): 3471 – 3485. Link
  6. Lutsko, N. J. and Popp, M. (2018) The Influence of Meridional Gradients in Insolation and LongWave Optical Depth on the Climate of a Gray Radiation GCM. Journal of Climate, 31(10): 7803 – 7822. Link
  7. Lutsko, N. J. (2018) The Response of a Dry Atmosphere to ENSO-like Heating: Superrotation and the Breakdown of Linear Theory. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 75(1): 3 – 20. Link
  8. 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, 74(11): 3787 – 3797. Link
  9. 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
  10. 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

Tropical Dynamics

Clouds and convection are the largest source of uncertainty in climate projections. To help reduce this uncertainty, I am interested in developing new modeling frameworks for studying tropical dynamics, particularly the interactions between clouds and large-scale circulations. I also perform detailed investigations of key physical processes responible for this uncertainty, with the goal of producing results that can be directly applied in climate models.


  1. Popp, M., Lutsko, N. J. and Bony, S. (2020) Weaker Links Between Zonal Convective Clustering and ITCZ Width in Climate Models Than in Observations. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL090479. Link.
  2. Popp, M., Lutsko, N. J. and Bony, S. (2020) The Relationship Between Convective Clustering and Mean Tropical Climate in Aquaplanet Simulations. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 12:e2020MS002070.Link.
  3. Lutsko, N. J. and Cronin, T. W. (2018) Increase in Precipitation Efficiency with Surface Warming in Radiative-Convective Equilibrium. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 10: 2992 – 3010. Link.
  4. Popp, M. and Lutsko, N. J. (2017) Quantifying the zonal-mean structure of tropical precipitation. Geophysical Research Letters, 44(18): 9470 – 9478 2017GL075235. Link

Arctic Amplification

Arctic Amplification of warming is robustly seen in observations and in climate model simulations, even in quite simple models. Many factors have been suggested as contributing to Arctic Amplification, but the precise contributions each of these make is still unclear.


  1. England, M. R., Eisenman, I., Lutsko, N. J., and Wagner, T. J. W. (2021) The Recent Emergence of Arctic Amplification. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2021GL094086. Link.
  2. Henry, M., Merlis T. M., Lutsko, N. J., and Rose, B. E. J. (2021) Decomposing the Drivers of Polar Amplification with a Single-Column Model. Journal of Climate, 34(6): 2355 – 2365.Link.

Solar Geoengineering

Although I am opposed to the idea of using solar geoengineering to counteract the effects of increased CO2 concentrations, I do think it is worth studying. In particular, much of the geoengineering literature has focused on using comprehensive climate models, which can provide detailed simulations of potential geoengineering scenarios, at the expense of understanding. So I am interested in using established tools from climate science, like energy balance models and idealized atmospheric models, to study the potential impacts of solar geoengineering at a more basic level.


  1. Seeley, J. T., Lutsko, N. J., and Keith, D. W. (2020) Designing a Radiative Antidote to CO2.Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2020GL090876. Link
  2. Lutsko, N. J., Seeley, J. T. and Keith, D. W. (2020) Estimating Impacts and Trade‐offs in Solar Geoengineering Scenarios With a Moist Energy Balance Model. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL087290. Link