Ph.D. University of Toronto, 1974
Regional focus: Caribbean
Applied physical climatology, climatic change, water resources, micro- and bio-meteorology, the environmental and economic impact of climatic change, geophysical hazards, the Caribbean.
I am a climatologist and a geographer, so the world is my forte. I work at many spatial and temporal scales within climatology, from heat and moisture balances and land surface processes in the boundary layer to ENSO phenomena and precipitation in the western U.S. and climate change impacts in the Caribbean; from decadal to millennial scale climate fluctuations and change.
As a geographer, I concern myself not only with climate dynamics and change but also with the interactions between climate and climate change and human society. These interactions are exemplified at the intersections of extreme geophysical events and the human-use system—one of my areas of interest. I have written a book and articles on these interactions —the so-called natural hazards.
In the last few years my research has been concentrated on two major fronts: global warming and sea level rise and their impacts on Small Island States; and the parameterization of land surface processes for use in Global Climate Models. My work on Small Island States has been concentrated on the Greater Caribbean, while my land surface processes work is centered on some atmospheric boundary layer studies in Nuguini. In the former, attempts are being made to provide scenarios for planning sustainable development futures in a greenhouse gas-induced warmer world despite the climate system's non-linearities and future patterns of variability. The emphasis here is on the bio-productive systems and tourism.
In the latter, the impetus is to provide diurnal and seasonal terrestrial radiation balances, energy budgets and surface hydrology relations to evapotranspiration and subsurface heat fluxes in both homogeneous and complex terrain and to compare them to some mid-latitude results. In addition, parameterizations of surface processes including energy, mass, and momentum transfers that are used in GCMs were derived mainly in the extra-tropics during short, intensive measurement projects. By comparison, very few of these projects have been carried out in the tropics, thus creating a mid-latitude bias. Good empiricism requires that parameterizations be derived by careful observations and testing for many different conditions.
The issue of uncertainties as they affect policy and the political aspects of climate modeling methodology is my next area of research concentration.
Selected publications"Geography of Small Tropical Islands: Implications for Sustainable Development in a Changing World" in G.A. Maul (ed.) Small Island Oceanography, Washington, D.C.: AUG, Chapter 10, 1994.
"Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Eco-refugees: Crisis of Non-sustainable Development in the Greater Caribbean Region", Climate Institute Report, Washington, DC., 49 pp., 1994.
Climate and Climate Change. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 496 pp., 1996.
"Precipitation Distribution and Global Change", in Encyclopedia of Hydrology and Water Resources, R.W. Herschy. Volume Editor; London: Chapman & Hall, 1996.
"Caribbean Island States: Perils and Prospects in a Changing Global Environment," in Steven Letterman (ed.), Island States At Risk, New York: Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, 1997.
Global Environmental Change and the Politics of Uncertainty. Special Publication No. 5, Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: San Francisco, 1997.