User Profile

Name: Michael Ghil
Member Since: October 22nd, 2007
Member Name: Michael.ghil

Present Positions: Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), since July 1994; Professor, Département Terre-Atmosphère-Océan (TAO), Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), since September 2002, and Head, TAO Department, since July 2003;

Current Research Interests: Atmospheric Sciences, Climate Dynamics, Dynamical and Complex Systems Theory, Estimation Theory, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Numerical Methods, Physical Oceanography, Statistical Methods, Remote Sensing and Applications.

Other Professional Activities: Advisor, Applied Mathematical Sciences Series, Springer-Verlag, New York/Heidelberg/Berlin, 1981–97; Editor, The Fluid Mechanics of Astrophysics & Geophysics, Francis & Taylor; Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cal Tech/NASA; University of California (Systemwide) Committee on Research, Oakland, 1988–91; Chair, Scientific Advisory Council, Climate System Modeling Program, NSF/UCAR, 1988–99; Climate Research Committee, National Research Council (NRC), 1989–98; Visiting Committee, Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres; Board of Governors, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, 1995–2000.

Experience:  1. Director, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, UCLA, July 1992–June 2003. 2. Chairman, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, UCLA, Sept. 1988–June 1992.  3. Professor of Climate Dynamics, July 1985–June 1994. 3.  Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU, September 1971–May 1987, Research Assistant (1971–1975) to Research Professor (1982–1987), via intermediate appointments.  4.  NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, August 1975–September 1976, National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Research Associate.  5.  Israel Armed Forces, November 1967–August 1971, classified position.  6.  Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 1966–1971, Research Assistant to Instructor.

Honors and Awards: Honorary Member, Academy of Sciences, Romania (AOS-R), 2008; P. D. Thompson Lecturer, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo., 2007; Lorenz Lecture, American Geophysical Union, 2005; Foreign Member, Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW), 2005; L. F. Richardson Medal, European Geosciences Union, 2004; Highly Cited in the Geosciences (ISI Web of Science,, 2004–present; G. Lemaître Chair, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, 2004; Honorary Member, Academy of Technological Sciences, Romania (AST-R), 2004; Associate (=Honorary Member), Royal Astronomical Society, 2002; Foreign Member, Academia Europaea, 1998; 1997 Visiting Chair and Medal, Collège de France, Paris; Elf-Aquitaine/CNRS Chair and Medal, Académie des Sciences, Paris, 1996; Condorcet Chair and Medal, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, 1995; Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 1995; NSF Special Creativity Awards, 1993–1995 and 1998–2000; Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ministère de la Recherche et de l'Espace, France, 1992; Guggenheim Fellow, 1991-92; Fellow, American Meteorological Society, 1988; Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, 1985–present.


Recent Most Important Publications (out of a dozen books and over 250 refereed articles and chapters in books):

1.     Ghil, M., and S. Childress, Topics in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Atmospheric Dynamics, Dynamo Theory and Climate Dynamics, Springer-Verlag, New York/Berlin/Tokyo, 485 pp., 1987.

2.     Ghil, M., K. Ide, A. F. Bennett, P. Courtier, M. Kimoto, and N. Sato (Eds.), 1997: Data Assimilation in Meteorology and Oceanography: Theory and Practice, Meteorological Society of Japan and Universal Academy Press, Tokyo, 496 pp.

3.     Ghil, M., and E. Simonnet, 2008: Nonlinear Climate Theory, Cambridge Univ. Press, London/New York, in preparation.

4.     Ghil, M., and R. Vautard, 1991: Interdecadal oscillations and the warming trend in global temperature time series, Nature350, 324–327.

5.     Ghil, M. and P. Malanotte-Rizzoli, 1991: Data assimilation in meteorology and oceanography, Adv. Geophys.33, 141–266.

6.     Ghil, M., 1994Cryothermodynamics: The chaotic dynamics of paleoclimate, Physica D, 77, 130–159.

7.     Jin, F.-f., J. D. Neelin and M. Ghil, 1994:  El Niño on the Devil's Staircase: Annual subharmonic steps to chaos, Science264, 70–72.

8.     Jiang, S., F.-F. Jin, and M. Ghil, 1995:  Multiple equilibria, periodic, and aperiodic solutions in a wind-driven, double-gyre, shallow-water model, J. Phys. Oceanogr.25, 764–786.

9.     Plaut, G., M. Ghil and R. Vautard, 1995: Interannual and interdecadal variability in 335 years of central England temperatures, Science268, 710–714.

10.   Chen, F., and M. Ghil, 1996: Interdecadal variability in a hybrid coupled ocean-atmosphere model, J. Phys. Oceanogr.,  26, 1561–1578.

11.   Weeks, E. R., Y. Tian, J. S. Urbach, K. Ide, H. L. Swinney, and M. Ghil, 1997:  Transitions between blocked and zonal flows in a rotating annulus with topography.  Science278, 1598–1601.

12.   Varadi, F., M. Ghil, and W. M. Kaula, 1999: Jupiter, Saturn and the edge of chaos, Icarus139, 286–294.

13.   Ghil, M., and A. W., Robertson, 2000: Solving problems with GCMs: General circulation models and their role in the climate modeling hierarchy. Ch. 10 in General Circulation Model Development: Past, Present and Future, D.  Randall  (Ed.), Academic Press, San Diego, pp. 285–325.

14.   Ghil, M., 2001: Natural climate variability, in Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, T. Munn  (Ed.), Vol. 1 (M. MacCracken and J. Perry, Eds.), J. Wiley & Sons, Chichester/New York, pp. 544–549.

15.   Ghil, M., and A. W. Robertson, 2002: "Waves" vs. "particles" in the atmosphere's phase space: A pathway to long-range forecasting? Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 99 (Suppl. 1), 2493–2500.

16.   Dijkstra, H. A., and M. Ghil, 2005: Low-frequency variability of the large-scale ocean circulation: A dynamical systems approach, Rev. Geophys., 43, RG3002, doi:10.1029/2002RG000122.

17.   Ghil, M., M. D. Chekroun, and E. Simonnet, 2008: Climate dynamics and fluid mechanics: Natural variability and related uncertainties, Physica Ddoi:10.1016/j.physd.2008.03.036 , Physica D237, 2111–2126, available online.

18.   Ghil, M., I. Zaliapin, and B. Coluzzi, 2008: Boolean delay equations: A simple way of looking at complex systems, Physica D, in press.


Synergistic Activities

1.      Chaired the Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) of the Community Climate System Modeling Program (CCSM; 1988–99) and continues as a member of the CCSM Advisory Board (CAB; 1999– ).

2.      Helped formulate the scientific basis for U.S. climate-research programs on the decade-to-century time scale (NRC, 1995: Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales, Martinson, D., K. Bryan, M. Ghil, M. Hall, T. R. Karl, E. S. Sarachik, S. Sorooshian, and L. D. Talley, Eds., National Academy Press,Washington, D.C., 630 pp.).

3.      Organized two international schools of relevance to the proposed research: (i)“Mathematical and Physical Tools for Climate Dynamics,” January 1998, Centre de Physique Théorique, Les Houches, France; (ii) “Bifurcations and Pattern Formation in Atmospheric and Ocean Dynamics,” June 1998, Val d’Aosta, Italy.

4.      Member of the Organizing Committee of the IMA Thematic Year on Mathematics in the Geosciences 2001–02 and Co-Organizer of Workshops #1, #3 and #10.

5.      Initiated and led a transcontinental collaboration to develop, maintain and continue improving the SSA-MTM Toolkit (Ghil M., M. R. Allen, M. D. Dettinger, K. Ide, D. Kondrashov, M. E. Mann, A. W. Robertson, A. Saunders, Y. Tian, F. Varadi, and P. Yiou, 2002: Advanced spectral methods for climatic time series, Rev. Geophys., 40(1), pp. 3.1–3.41, 10.1029/2000GR000092;


Ph.D. Advisor: Prof. Peter D. Lax (Abel Prize Laureate), Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU.


Former Ph.D. students: K. Bhattacharya (1979), S. E. Cohn (1982), D. P. Dee (1983), B. Legras (1983), A. P. Mullhaupt (1984), P. Pestiaux (1984), H. Le Treut (1985), G. Wolansky (1985), G.-H. Hsu (1986), M. Kimoto (1989), H. Sakuma (1989), F. Varadi (1989), C. L. Keppenne (1989), S. L. Marcus (1990), R. Todling (1992), S. Jiang (1994), P. Yiou (1994), C. M. Strong (1994), Z. Hao (1994), Y. Sezginar Unal (1994), F. Chen (1995), D. Paillard (1995), M. D. Dettinger (1997), Y.-d. Tian (1999), S. Koo (2001), G. Bellon (2004), Y. Zhang (2006), K. Strounine (2007); S. Teinturier (2007); total = 29.


Former post-docs and junior visitors: K. P. Bube (1978–80), M. Buys (1983), S. E. Cohn (1982–85), J. J. Tribbia (1984), R. N. Miller (1985), G. Wolansky (1985), H. Itoh (1986), P. Pestiaux (1987), R. Vautard (1987–89), D. Müller (1986–90), C. Penland (1988–89), M. Kimoto (1990–91), F.-f. Jin (1988–93), K. Ide (1990–92), R. Fu (1991–93), A. W. Robertson (1992–93), S. Speich (1992–94), Z.-j. Zhang (1993­–95), C. M. Strong (1994–95), P. Billant (1995–96), F. Chen (1995–96), P. Yiou (1996-97), K.-I. Chang (1997–98), F. Lott (1997–98), A. Wirth (1997–99), G. Loeper (1998), M. Boiseau (1998–99), L. Sushama  (1999–2000), Y. Tian (1999–2000), C.-j. Sun (1998–2000), S. Kravtsov (1998–2001), E. Simonnet (2001–02), G. Bellon (2001–02), S. Conil (2003–05), B. Coluzzi (2005– ), S. Brachet (2005– ), A. Groth (2007–); total = 37.


Major Grant Support

1.      Estimating Earth’s Climate by Assimilating Satellite Observations of the Ocean and Atmosphere With a Coupled Earth System Model, NASA, 2005–2008.

2.      Predictive Understanding of the Oceans’ Wind-Driven Circulation on Interdecadal Time Scales (R. Temam, co-P.I.), Department of Energy, Climate Change Prediction Program, 2004–2007.

3.      Collaborative research: Robust climate projections and stochastic stability of dynamical systems, Department of Energy, 2007–2010.

4.      Extreme Events: Causes and Consequences (E2-C2), European Commission, Project No. 12975 (NEST).


Please visit the Web site of the Theoretical Climate Dynamics (TCD) group,, for further information.