SHANG-PING XIE, PH.D.
PROFESSOR OF CLIMATE, ATMOSPHERIC
SCIENCE AND PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY
Roger Revelle Chair in
Research focus: I study the physics
of climate variability and change, with
a focus on the phenomena of El Niño
and global warming.
Real-world impact: Climate change
is one of the biggest challenges facing
humanity. In 2013, I attended a United
Nations meeting where more than
100 national delegations approved a
major climate assessment report my
team authored. It was gratifying to
contribute to the global understanding
and discussion of climate change.
What surprises you still about
your subject area, and why? I am
often surprised at the far-reaching
impacts our research has on society.
In the 1980s, I built one of the first
computer models of El Niño as a
graduate student. It was a hot topic
for scientists, but few in the general
public knew the concept. El Niño’s
rapid ascent in fame amazes me.
Today, El Niño is everywhere.
Your research in one word?
Throughout history, whose chair
would you most want to sit in? Sir
Isaac Newton, the greatest scientist
who ever lived.