Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


Richard Rood
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Richard B Rood


Dow Sustainability Distinguished Faculty Fellow

Graduate advisor
Program: Applied Climate

Concentration: Climate Impact Engineering

Office: 2525 Space Research Building
Phone: (734) 647-3530
Fax: (734) 936-0503


Ph.D., Meteorology, Florida State University
M.S., Meteorology, Florida State University
B.S., Physics, University of North Carolina


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I teach a class on climate change and the interface of climate change with all aspects of society. This has evolved into a class on climate change problem solving. This is a graduate class, taught in concert with the School of Natural Resources and Environment. The class includes business students, policy students, as well as students from several science and engineering departments. Because of this class, more and more, my research interests are on the use of information from climate projections in adaptation to global warming.  It's the future. Web link below.

     In 2014,  Paul Edwards, of the School of Information, and I introduced a new course called Climate Informatics.  The challenge of global climate change presents crucial issues that demand the expertise of both scientists and information professionals. Among these are: Retrieving and presenting complex climate data to non-expert users with specific needs; Building decision-support tools for planning and management; Communicating climate science to broader audiences through simulations, games, or educational software; Establishing reputation and trustworthiness for web-based information sources managing vast Earth system datasets, including curation, provenance, metadata,openness and reproducibility; Designing green IT, such as power-aware computing, smart controllers and smart grids.

     My current physical-climate research is focused on bridging the study of weather and climate.  With my graduate student Soner Yorgun we are investigating how the dynamical core impacts topographic precipitation.  We are investigating specific features, viewing them as objects, and whether they are represented in the same way in different model configurations and observations.  I was also co-advisor with Derek Posselt of Erika Roesler, who studied low-level Arctic clouds and their sensitivity to environmental parameters. Erika currently has a postdoc at Sandia National Laboratory.

     My student Evan Oswald investigated trends in extreme heat events using quality controlled station observations.  This work was extended to gridded datasets used in climate-model downscaling.  Our goal was to evaluate how well these gridded datasets represent historical trends and help to describe the uncertainty associated with projections of extreme heat in the future.  This research was  funded by Michigan's Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center.  Evan is now a PACE Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Vermont.

     My other graduated students include Jared Whitehead and Laura Briley.  Jared studied subgrid mixing in the set of dynamical cores supported by the Community Atmosphere Model.  He won an NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, and accepted a position at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  This research continues with Christiane Jablonowski and James Kent. Jared is now on the faculty at Brigham Young University.

     Laura finished her Masters degree at Northern Illinois University.  Her research focused on how well climate models represent precipitation in the Great Lakes region, and she developed a template to assist in the description of climate-model uncertainty.   She is currently working on, a problem-solving environment with the goal of supporting scientists and practitioners working together.  Laura is an example of a climate translator. 

     I also work on projects that couple climate models and hydrological models and that study the governance of Earth-science communities.  My main activity in the next year will be developing the National Climate Predictions and Projections Platform. 

     I write blogs for and  They address climate science and strategic approaches to climate-change problem solving.


Specializations and Research Interests

  • Use of climate information in planning and adaptation
  • Climate modeling
  • Stratospheric and tropospheric chemistry modeling
  • Data assimilation

Honors, Awards and Accomplishments

  • World Meteorological Organization, Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award
  • NASA Group Achievement Awards (SOLVE, Forecasting Group, SPADE, AASE)
  • NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal

Professional Service

  • Fellow, American Meteorological Society
  • Member, American Geophysical Union




Selection of Rood's Professional Publications

This selection includes links to the report that was written for the Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2000. It's an analysis and strategy for organizing climate modeling in the U.S. Some consider it a "computing report," but that's not all the authors intended. There is a PDF of my 1987 advection review and some of the other papers that people seem to ask for.

A Sampling of Prof. Rood's Non-scientific writings

If you need a photo, here they are.

Updated: 2017-02-20