Uma Bhatt, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences,
University of Alaska Fairbanks


Backgound - I majored in Mechanical Engineering as an undergraduate and was planning to attend graduate school in the area of alternate energy. After finishing my BS degree, I joined the U.S. Peace Corps and served as a high school math teacher in Kenya for two years (1983-85). The dramatic drought in East Africa during this time and the amazing atmospheric phenomena I experienced at our rural secondary school made me decide to pursue a graduate degree in Atmospheric Sciences. This has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made! We are living through a particularly exciting time in atmospheric sciences as our understanding of the components of the earth system (e.g., biology, chemistry, geology, physics, human dimensions, and policy) lead to more holistic thinking for addressing climate change. Atmospheric science requires strong math, computer, personal-communication and science skills. If you think you are interested in pursuing a career in this field, do not hesitate to contact me or any of the other Atmospheric Sciences faculty at UAF. UAF has excellent resources (extensive library resources, supercomputer center, and experts on polar processes in a variety of areas) and is a place where a resourceful student can excel. Doing research and teaching is a bit like the Peace Corps, namely "The toughest job you will ever love".

Research Interests - My research specialty is "Climate Variability". This research aims to understand how one component of the climate system impacts another (e.g. ocean and atmosphere) and attempts to explain why something happens. It is critical to understand the natural variability of the climate system in order to address climate change due to 'anthropogenic' forcing. I use models, primarily Global Climate Models (GCMs), and observations in my research. One may see some interesting relationship in the observations and then use a model to try to understand the 'mechanism' behind this behavior. The climate is a very complex system and each bit of research we do serves to unravel a small piece of (or sometimes complicate) the climate puzzle.

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