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Dr. Toby Ault

Assistant Professor

Toby Ault

1113 Bradfield Hall



Tropical Meteorology


PhD in Geoscience, University of Arizona, 2011
MS in Geoscience, University of Arizona, 2006
BS in Mathematics, University of Puget Sound, 2002


Coping with climate change during this century will require us to build new tools for anticipating "emergent" climate risks--i.e., hazards whose likelihood cannot be easily inferred from the historical record because they are the consequence of both natural climatic variations and climate change. Obvious examples of these kinds of hazards are heat waves, rainfall events, and severe or prolonged droughts. Even when underlying climatic influences are relatively minor however, phenomena with strong ecological or economic consequences can result. For example, small changes in spring and fall temperatures may have large implications on the growing season. This in turn influences the spread of certain pests and diseases, effecting both agricultural yields and human health. Thus far, Dr. Ault's research has coalesced around three areas of inquiry related to emergent climate risks: (1) estimating the risk of prolonged drought under climate change; (2) understanding the dynamics of seasonality, particularly spring; and (3) characterizing variations in the Tropical Pacific on timescales of decades to centuries, and their influence on global climate. His methods entail data synthesis from observational sources as well as numerical and statistical modeling. The nature of his work is therefore highly interdisciplinary, affording him the opportunity to collaborate closely not only with climate scientists and modelers, but with colleagues in many other disciplines, including geography, paleoclimatology, and ecology.

Instruction Focus

Tropical Meteorology

Selected Publications