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Justin Wettstein

Justin Wettstein photo
Assistant Professor

Discipline: Physics of Oceans and Atmospheres
Office: Burt 314
Phone: 541-737-5177
Email: justinw@coas.oregonstate.edu

Research Interests

Atmospheric general circulation; modern and paleo climate dynamics; a process / mechanistic-based understanding of climate variability and change; statistical methods; climate and society

Current Research

My research interests in climate dynamics and especially in processes that influence the atmospheric general circulation are quite broad.  Those research interests are currently organized into the following four research themes:

1) Processes in the three-dimensional budget of atmospheric momentum: Some common approaches to characterizing variability and change oversimplify and blur the richness of three-dimensional structures in the atmospheric flow.  My research interest in this area is to objectively focus our view of regional and global-scale atmospheric variability and change over a wide range of time scales using observations and climate model experiments.  A key motivation is to ascribe physical interpretations to associated spatial and temporal variability in the atmospheric momentum budget.

2) Enhancing our mechanistic understanding of ocean-ice-atmosphere interactions: Observations and many climate model projections of the future indicate a number of consistent changes to various components of the anthropogenically-forced coupled climate system (e.g., Arctic sea ice, storm tracks, ocean circulation).  Investigating the temporal covariabiilty is a necessary first step to explore interesting interactions, but is insufficient to explore mechanistic interactions between different climate system components.  My research interest in this area applies additional analysis constraints to more clearly examine physical processes associated with these interactions.

3) Climate dynamics in a paleo context: Past changes to the geography, topography, bathymetry, and atmospheric composition led to fundamental reorganizations of the climate system in general and to the atmospheric circulation in particular.  By investigating robust indicators of paleoclimate from proxy-based records and comparing these with fully-coupled model experiments, we can explore not only the climates of the distant past, but also our own understanding of modern and future climate system sensitivity.  My research interest in this area is focused on large paleoclimate changes implied by proxy indicators and on model experiments with very different radiative properties.  My goal in this work is to examine the robustness of our observationally-based understanding of the atmospheric general circulation.

4) Climate, society, and efficient public policy: Climate variability and change imply a sequence of costs and benefits that accrue to different stakeholders at disparate points in time.  Climate mitigation and/or adaptation policies also convey time-varying social costs (or benefits), but are designed to decrease the negative (or increase the positive) impacts of climate variability and change.  In this simple framework, economically-efficient climate policy would consider the net present value of these two streams of costs and benefits to deliver the overall least-cost (or greatest-benefit) societal outcome.  My research in this area applies various methods to explore coupled climate-economic interactions in a variety of managed systems using observations and models.  This work is inherently collaborative and greatly enriched by partnerships with experts in related fields.

If you are a prospective graduate student or post-doc and are interested in research related to the categories above (or in atmospheric science in general), please feel free to get an overview of our program here or make contact with me directly.




Ph.D.  Atmospheric Sciences,  University of Washington  (2007)
M.P.A.  Evans School of Public Affairs,  University of Washington  (2007)
M.S.  Atmospheric Sciences,  University of Washington  (2003)
M.S.  Environmental Engineering and Science,  Stanford University  (1998)
B.S.  Environmental Engineering,  University of Oklahoma  (1997)

Graduate Students

Francesco S. R. Pausata, Ph.D. (2010) Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen [co-advisor]

Kristen Ravnestad, M.S. (2010) Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen [co-advisor]

Solbjørg Apeland, M.S. (2010) Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen [co-advisor]

Svetlana A. Sorokina, Ph.D. (2014) Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen [co-advisor]

Joshua Cuzzone, Ph.D. (2014) CEOAS, Oregon State University [committee member]

Michael (Mike) Kula, M.S. student: CEOAS, Oregon State University [primary advisor]

Sihan (Meredith) Li, Ph.D. student: CEOAS, Oregon State University [committee member]

Stefan Keiderling, Ph.D. student (stipendiat): Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen [committee member]

Kathie Dello, Ph.D. student: School of Public Policy, Oregon State University [committee member]


Adjunct Associate Professor in Large-scale Atmospheric Dynamics: Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen (Norway)

Affiliate faculty: School of Public Policy (Oregon State University)

Affiliate faculty: Water Resources Graduate Program (Oregon State University)




A current publication list will be added soon.

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