Director’s Research Group

We aim to advance our fundamental understanding of the dynamical processes governing Earth’s large-scale climate patterns and their responses to various external forcings, including greenhouse gases, aerosols, ozone depletion and recovery, Antarctic ice-sheet meltwater, among others. Many of these influences, originating from extratropical regions, have a significant impact on the spatial pattern of tropical climate. Thus, our particular focus lies in establishing connections between the tropics and the extratropics. To gain a dynamical understanding of the extratropics-to-tropics teleconnection, we need a holistic perspective on the global climate system, as it entails delving into the intricate interactions among different components of the Earth system, including clouds, atmospheric circulation, and ocean dynamics. Our research group tackles this complex challenge by utilising a range of tools from conceptual models to Earth System Models and even storm-resolving coupled models. We adopt different tools to distinguish the mechanisms responsible for the rapid adjustments during the initial period and the slower quasi-equilibrated state responses.

In recent years, our research has been centered on unraveling the intricate mechanisms that govern the tropical climate patterns. We grapple with specific questions, such as the perplexing challenge faced by climate models in accurately simulating historical trends in sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific. Observations indicate a significant cooling trend in the eastern tropical Pacific over the past three decades, a trend that starkly contrasts with the warming trend simulated by the majority of climate models. We critically reflect on this observation-model discrepancy and strive to comprehend the relative contributions of various forcing components in determining the observed trend and to discern why models fail to replicate it. This involves investigating whether the models are deficient in representing essential forced responses or if there are crucial processes that are missing in models.

Group members and publications

Research Scientist
B 309
Scientific Programmer
B 308
B 305
  • Barkhordarian, A., Nielsen, D., Olonscheck, D. & Baehr, J. (2024). Arctic marine heatwaves forced by greenhouse gases and triggered by abrupt sea-ice melt. Communications Earth and Environment, 5: 57. doi:10.1038/s43247-024-01215-y [publisher-version][supplementary-material]
  • Barros, A., Becker, T., Cardenas, M., Davidson, E., Gruber, N., Hofmann, E., Hudson, M., llangasekare, T., Kang, S., Montanari, A., Moreno, M., Nimmo, F., Paxton, L., Primeau, F., Salters, V., Schimel, D., Stevens, B., Su, H., Tierney, J., Trumbore, S., Wuebbles, D., Zeitler, P., Zhang, B. & Zhang, X. (2024). Thank You to Our 2023 Peer Reviewers. AGU Advances, 5: e2024AV001290. doi:10.1029/2024AV001290 [publisher-version]
  • Kang, S., Watanabe, M., Collins, M., Hwang, Y.-T., McGregor, S. & Stuecker, M. (2024). Remote mechanisms for shifting the tropical Pacific warming pattern. . EGU General Assembly 2024. Wien. 2024-04-14 - 2024-04-19 doi:10.5194/egusphere-egu24-3098 [abstract]
  • Kim, H., Kang, S., Pendergrass, A., Lehner, F., Shin, Y., Ceppi, P., Yeh, S.-W. & Song, S.-Y. (2024). Wetter East Asia and Western United States with projected delayed Southern Ocean warming. doi:10.21203/ [Preprint] [pre-print]
  • Liu, F., Li, X., Luo, Y., Cai, W., Lu, J., Zheng, X., Kang, S., Wang, H. & Zhou, L. (2024). Increased Asian aerosols drive a slowdown of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Nature Communications, 15: 18. doi:10.1038/s41467-023-44597-x [publisher-version]
  • Stevens, B., Adami, S., Ali, T., Anzt, H., Aslan, Z., Attinger, S., Bäck, J., Baehr, J., Bauer, P., Bernier, N., Bishop, B., Bockelmann, H., Bony, S., Bouchet, V., Brasseur, G., Bresch, D., Breyer, S., Brunet, G., Buttigieg, P., Cao, J., Castet, C., Cheng, Y., Dey Choudhury, A., Coen, D., Crewell, S., Dabholkar, A., Dai, Q., Doblas-Reyes, F., Durran, D., El Gaidi, A., Ewen, C., Exarchou, E., Eyring, V., Falkinhoff, F., Farrell, D., Forster, P., Frassoni, A., Frauen, C., Fuhrer, O., Gani, S., Gerber, E., Goldfarb, D., Grieger, J., Gruber, N., Hazeleger, W., Herken, R., Hewitt, C., Hoefler, T., Hsu, H.-H., Jacob, D., Jahn, A., Jakob, C., Jung, T., Kadow, C., Kang, I.-S., Kang, S., Kashinath, K., Kleinen-von Königslöw, K., Klocke, D., Kloenne, U., Klöwer, M., Kodama, C., Kollet, S., Kölling, T., Kontkanen, J., Kopp, S., Koran, M., Kulmala, M., Lappalainen, H., Latifi, F., Lawrence, B., Lee, J., Lejeun, Q., Lessig, C., Li, C., Lippert, T., Luterbacher, J., Manninen, P., Marotzke, J., Matsouoka, S., Merchant, C., Messmer, P., Michel, G., Michielsen, K., Miyakawa, T., Müller, J., Munir, R., Narayanasetti, S., Ndiaye, O., Nobre, C., Oberg, A., Oki, R., Özkan-Haller, T., Palmer, T., Posey, S., Prein, A., Primus, O., Pritchard, M., Pullen, J., Putrasahan, D., Quaas, J., Raghavan, K., Ramaswamy, V., Rapp, M., Rauser, F., Reichstein, M., Revi, A., Saluja, S., Satoh, M., Schemann, V., Schemm, S., Schnadt Poberaj, C., Schulthess, T., Senior, C., Shukla, J., Singh, M., Slingo, J., Sobel, A., Solman, S., Spitzer, J., Stier, P., Stocker, T., Strock, S., Su, H., Taalas, P., Taylor, J., Tegtmeier, S., Teutsch, G., Tompkins, A., Ulbrich, U., Vidale, P.-L., Wu, C.-M., Xu, H., Zaki, N., Zanna, L., Zhou, T. & Ziemen, F. (in press). Earth Virtualization Engines (EVE). Earth System Science Data, 16, 2113-2122. doi:10.5194/essd-2023-376 [publisher-version]
  • Timmreck, C., D'Agostino, R., Fang, S.-W., Ballinger, A., Hegerl, G., Kang, S. & Olonscheck, D. (2024). Relative role of land and ocean in shaping tropical hydroclimate after large volcanic eruptions. . EGU General Assembly 2024. Wien. 2024-04-14 - 2024-04-19 doi:10.5194/egusphere-egu24-6543 [abstract]
  • Wang, H., Zheng, X.-T., Cai, W., Han, Z.-W., Xie, S.-P., Kang, S., Geng, Y.-F., Liu, F., Wang, C.-Y., Wu, Y., Xiang, B. & Zhou, L. (2024). Atmosphere teleconnections from abatement of China aerosol emissions exacerbate Northeast Pacific warm blob events. PNAS, 121: e2313797121. doi:10.1073/pnas.231379712 [publisher-version]
  • Watanabe, M., Kang, S., Collins, M., Hwang, Y.-T., McGregor, S. & Stuecker, M. (2024). Possible shift in controls of the tropical Pacific surface warming pattern. Nature, 630, 315-324. doi:10.1038/s41586-024-07452-7
  • Kang, S., Yu, Y., Deser, C., Zhang, X., Kang, I.-S., Lee, S.-S., Rodgers, K. & Ceppi, P. (2023). Global impacts of recent Southern Ocean cooling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120: e2300881120. doi:10.1073/pnas.2300881120 [publisher-version][supplementary-material]
  • Kang, S., Ceppi, P., Yu, Y. & Kang, I.-S. (2023). Recent global climate feedback controlled by Southern Ocean cooling. Nature Geoscience, 16, 775-780. doi:10.1038/s41561-023-01256-6 [publisher-version]
  • Rugenstein, M., Dhame, S., Olonscheck, D., Wills, R., Watanabe, M. & Seager, R. (2023). Connecting the SST pattern problem and the hot model problem. Geophysical Research Letters, 50: e2023GL105488. doi:10.1029/2023GL105488 [publisher-version]
  • Watanabe, M., Iwakiri, T., Dong, Y. & Kang, S. (2023). Two competing drivers of the recent Walker circulation trend. Geophysical Research Letters, 50: e2023GL105332. doi:10.1029/2023GL105332 [publisher-version]
  • Xiang, B., Xie, S.-P., Kang, S. & Kramer, R. (2023). An emerging Asian aerosol dipole pattern reshapes the Asian summer monsoon and exacerbates northern hemisphere warming. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science: 77. doi:10.1038/s41612-023-00400-8 [publisher-version]


Sarah Kang, PhD

Phone: +49 (0)40 41173-437
sarah.kang@we dont want


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