David M Wright, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

University of Michigan

College of Engineering Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering


As humans, we interact with our environment on daily to monthly time scales. This makes it difficult for us to directly relate to the topic of climate, and an extension climate change, which occurs on a time scale of decades to centuries. In recent media coverages of severe weather events, the question "Was this storm caused by climate change?" has been asked numerous times but has yet to be fully answered by the scientific community. This question arises from the need to try to relate changes happening on a very long time scale, like climate change, to daily weather patterns which humans are most familiar. To begin to answer this question we need a better understanding of the relationship between changes in storm-scale components and climate.

Great Lakes
MODIS image of the Great Lakes on March 23, 2019
GLERL Modis Images

My research focuses on trying to answer this question by understanding the sensitivity of mesoscale atmospheric features to changes in surface components predominately in the Great Lakes region and how this information can be used to improve forecasts and simulations. The lakes play a major role in the climate of the region by both creating and modifying weather patterns. By understanding the sensitivity of weather phenomena to the lakes, we can begin to better understand the regional atmsopheric dynamics, how climate change is influencing weather, and improve weather forecasts over the region.