David Battisti is The Tamaki Endowed Chair of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. David received a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences (1988) from the University of Washington. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin until 1990. Since then, he has been on the Faculty in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, and has served as the Director of JISAO (1997-2003) and of the UW’s Earth Initiative (2003-2006). Battisti’s research is focused on understanding the natural variability of the climate system. He is especially interested in understanding how the interactions between the ocean, atmosphere, land and sea ice lead to variability in climate on time scales from seasonal to decades. His previous research includes coastal oceanography, the physics of the El Nino/Southern Osciallation (ENSO) phenomenon, midlatitude atmosphere/ocean variability and variability in the coupled atmosphere/sea ice system in the Arctic.
Battisti is presently working to improve the El Nino models and their forecast skill, and to understand the mechanisms responsible for the drought cycles in the Sahel, and the decade-to-decade changes in the climate of the Pacific Northwest, including how the latter affects the snow pack in the Cascades and coastal ranges from Washington to Alaska. He is also working on the impacts of climate variability and climate change on food production in Mexico, Indonesia and China.
Battisti’s recent interests are in paleoclimate: in particular, the mechanisms responsible for the remarkable “abrupt” global climate changes evident throughout the last glacial period.
Battisti has served on numerous international science panels, on Committees of the National Research Council. He served for five years as co-chair of the Science Steering Committee for the U.S. Program on Climate (US CLIVAR) and is co-author of several international science plans. He has published over 70 papers in peer-review journals in atmospheric sciences and oceanography, and twice been awarded distinguished teaching awards.