Eric Salathe

Climate Impacts Group

Thinking globally, acting locally

Eric SalatheEric Salathé has been a member of the Climate Impacts Group at JISAO since 1999. His research focuses on understanding regional climate change and developing regional climate scenarios in support of applications research within the Climate Impacts Group.

Simulations of global climate change and variability are critical to formulating quantitative adaptation strategies to respond to changes in the local climate. Global models, however, represent atmospheric and surface parameters at a horizontal resolution of approximately 300 km. This resolution is much too coarse for simulating regional processes such as precipitations and stream flows that determine the effects of climate on regional systems. Furthermore, global models do not account for surface features, such as topography and land use, that determine much of the significant climate features at regional scales.

Statistical methods have been successfully employed for hydrologic applications by the Climate Impacts Group, and are currently the principal method for developing regional climate scenarios. However, these methods cannot capture the changes in the climate that result from interactions and feedbacks between the large-scale atmospheric state and mesoscale processes. Until recently, regional models have not been able to usefully improve on statistical downscaling mainly due to the coarser grid spacing unable to resolve these interactions at the regional scale.

The CSES Climate Impacts Group, in collaboration with researchers in the Department of Atmospheric Science, has undertaken research to develop a state-of-the-art high-resolution regional climate model for the Pacific Northwest. This project is aimed at addressing the shortcomings of statistical downscaling and coarse-resolution regional models. The resulting scenarios of future climate change should account for physical interactions in the climate system at all spatial scales.

Eric and his familyBefore joining JISAO, Eric studied upper-tropospheric moisture and its feedbacks to the climate. Most of his work in this field has been in using satellite remote sensing data to understand various aspects of this problem. Eric   has an ongoing interest in understanding the transport of moisture into the subtropics using satellite data, conventional meteorological data, and atmospheric model results. This research was conducted in the Atmospheric Sciences department at UW and at the Climate and Radiation Branch at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Eric spent January 2008 as a visiting scientist in Thailand to assist in the development of regional climate modeling at the Chiang Mai University and speaking at the Thai Research Fund. Eric worked primarily with Thai scientist Prof. Jiemjai Kreasuwan and her research group.
 Prof. Jiemjai and her students were gracious hosts, provided Eric, and his family with several tours of northern Thailand and Bangkok during their one-month visit.

In his spare time, Eric is a cycling enthusiast. A few years ago, that meant climbing mountain passes. Things have become more tame recently, as cycling now includes his daughters Antonia (7) and Helena (4).