CGCS Directory

Prof. Kerry A. Emanuel

Professor Emeritus



Research Interests:
Professor Emanuel's research group is investigating possible links between global climate and tropical cyclone activity, focusing on the possible role of tropical cyclones in driving oceanic heat fluxes. Other research activities include research on tropical cyclone genesis, environmental control of tropical cyclone intensity, the role of cumulus convection in regulating atmospheric water vapor and clouds, and the development of new techniques for assimilating nonlinear coherent structures into numerical models.

Selected Publications:  [View research papers]

Lu, P., N. Lin, K. Emanuel, D. Chavas, and J. Smith, 2018: Assessing hurricane rainfall mechanisms using a physics-based model: Hurricanes Isabel (2003) and Irene (2011)J. Atmos. Sci., 75, 2337-2358, doi:10.1175/jas-d-17-0264.1.

Nystrom, R. G., F. Zhang, E. B. Munsell, S. A. Braun, J. A. Sippel. Y. Weng, and K. Emanuel, 2018: Predictability and dynamics of Hurricane Joaquin (2015) explored through convection-permitting ensemble sensitivity experiments. J. Atmos. Sci., 75, 401-424.

Wing, A. A., K. Emanuel, C.E. Holloway and C. Muller, 2017: Convective self-aggregation in numerical simulations: A reviewSurv. Geophys. DOI 10.1007/s10712-017-9408-4.

Emanuel, K., 2017: Assessing the present and future probability of Hurricane Harvey’s rainfallProc Net. Acad. Sci., doi/10.1073/pnas.1716222114.

Garner, A. J., M. E.  Mann, K. A. Emanuel, R. E. Kopp, N. Lin, , R. B. Alley, B. P. Horton, R. M. DeConto, J. P. Donnelly, and D. Pollard, 2017:Impact of climate change on New York City’s coastal flood hazard: Increasing flood heights from the preindustrial to 2300 CE. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., doi/10.1073/pnas.1703568114.

Bony, S., and co-authors: EUREC4A, 2017: A field campaign to elucidate the couplings between clouds, convection and circulation. Surv. Gephys. DOI 10.1007/s10712-017-9428-0

Agard, V. and K. Emanuel, 2017: Clausius–Clapeyron scaling of peak CAPE in continental convective storm environments. J. Amos.Sci., 74, 3043-3054.

Gilford, D. M., S. Solomon, and K. A. Emanuel, 2017: On the seasonal cycles of tropical cyclone potential intensityJ. Clim., 30, 6085-6096.

Emanuel, K., and F. Zhang, 2017: The role of inner-core moisture in tropical cyclone predictability and practical forecast skill. J. Atmos. Sci.74, 2315-2324.

Pausata, F. S. R., K. A. Emanuel, M. Chiacchio, G. T. Diro, Q. Zhang, L. Sushama, J.C. Stager, and J. P. Donnelly, 2017: Tropical cyclone activity enhanced by Sahara greening and reduced dust emissions during the African Humid PeriodProc. Nat. Acad. Sci., doi/10.1073/pnas.1619111114.

Emanuel, K., 2017: A fast intensity simulator for tropical cyclone risk analysisNat. Hazards, DOI 10.1007/s11069-017-2890-7.

Emanuel, K., 2017: Will global warming make hurricane forecasting more difficult? Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 98, 495-501.

Zhang, L., K. B. Karnauskas, J. P. Donnelly, and K. Emanuel, 2017: Response of the North Pacific tropical cyclone climatology to global warming: Application of dynamical downscaling to CMIP5 modelsJ. Clim., 30, 1233-1243.

Romero, R., and K. Emanuel, 2017: Climate change and hurricane-like extratropical cyclones: Projections for North Atlantic polar lows and medicanes based on CMIP5 modelsJ. Clim30, 279-299.

Korty, R. L., K. A. Emanuel, M. Huber, and R. A. Zamora, 2017: Tropical cyclones downscaled from simulations with very high carbon dioxide levelsJ. Clim30, 649-667.

Kossin, J. P., K. A. Emanuel, and G. A. Vecchi, 2016: Comment on ‘Roles of interbasin frequency changes in the poleward shifts of the maximum intensity location of tropical cyclones’. Environ. Res. Lett., 11, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/6/068001

Emanuel. K., and F. Zhang, 2016: On the predictability and error sources of tropical cyclone intensity forecastsJ. Atmos. Sci, 73, 3739-3747

Balaguru, K., G. R. Foltz, L. R. Leung, and K. A. Emanuel, 2016: Global warming-induced upper-ocean freshening and the intensification of super typhoons. Nature Comm., DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13670.

Kossin, J. P., K. A. Emanuel, and S. J. Carmargo, 2016: Past and projected changes in western North Pacific tropical cyclone exposureJ. Climate29, 5725-5739.

Zhang, F. and K. Emanuel, 2016: On the role of surface fluxes and WISHE in tropical cyclone intensificationJ. Atmos. Sci., 73, 2011-2019.

O’Neill, M. E., K. A. Emanuel, and G. R. Flierl, 2016: Weak jets and strong cyclones: Shallow-water modeling of giant planet polar capsJ. Atmos. Sci., 73, 1841-1855.

Reed, A. J., M E. Mann, K. A. Emanuel, N. Lin, B. P. Horton, A.C. Kemp, and J. P. Donnelly, 2015: Increased threat of tropical cyclones and coastal flooding to New York City during the anthropogenic era.  Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 112, 12610-12615.

Reed, A. J., M. E. Mann, K. A. Emanuel, and D. W. Titley, 2015: An analysis of long-term relationships among count statistics and metrics of synthetic tropical cyclones downscaled from CMIP5 models. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos.120, 7506-7519. Copyright 2015, American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.

Wing, A.A., K. Emanuel, and S. Solomon, 2015: On the factors affecting trends and variability in tropical cyclone potential intensityGeophys. Res. Lett.42, 8669–8677. Copyright 2015, American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.

Walsh, K. and co-authors, 2015: Hurricanes and climate: The U.S. CLIVAR Working Group on HurricanesBull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 96, 997-1017.

Emanuel, K., 2015: Effect of upper-ocean evolution on projected trends in tropical cyclone activityJ. Clim.28, 8165-8170.

Balaguru, K., G. R. Foltz, L R. Leung, E. D'Asaro, K. A. Emanuel, HJ. Liu, and S. E. Zedler, 2015: Dynamic Potential Intensity: An improved representation of the ocean’s impact on tropical cyclonesGeophys. Res. Lett., 42, 6739–6746.

Lin, N. and K. Emanuel, 2015: Grey swan tropical cyclonesNature Clim. Change, doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2777. Supplementary information.

Chavas, D. R., N. Lin, and K. Emanuel, 2015: A model for the complete radial structure of the tropical cyclone wind field. Part I: Comparison with observed structure. J. Atmos. Sci.72, 3647–3662.

Dwyer, J. D.,  S. J. Camargo, A. H. Sobel, M. Biasutti, K. A. Emanuel, G. A. Vecchi, M. Zhao, and M. K. Tippett, 2015: Projected Twenty-First-Century Changes in the Length of the Tropical Cyclone SeasonJ. Climate28, 6181–6192. doi:

O'Neill, M. E., K. A. Emanuel, and G. R. Flierl, 2015: Polar vortex formation in giant planet atmospheres due to moist convection. Nature Geo., 8, 523-526.

Neumann, J. E., K. A. Emanuel, S. Ravela, L. C. Ludwig, and C. Verly, 2015: Risks of coastal storm surge and the effect of sea level rise in the Red River Delta, Vietnam. Sustainability, 7, 6553-6572

Kowch, R. and K. Emanuel, 2015: Are special processes at work in the rapid intensification of tropical cyclones? Mon. Wea. Rev., 143, 878-882.

Daloz, A.S., and co-authors, 2015: Cluster analysis of downscaled and explicitly simulated North Atlantic tropical cyclone tracksJ. Climate28, 1333-1361.

Cronin, T. W., K. A. Emanuel, and P. Molnar, 2014: Island precipitation enhancement and the diurnal cycle in radiative-convective equilibriumQuart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., doi:10.1002/qj.2443

Neumann, J. E., K. Emanuel, S. Ravela, L. Ludwig, P. Kirshen, K. Bosma, and J. Martinich, 2014: Joint effects of storm surge and sea-level rise on US coasts: New economic estimates of impacts, adaptation, ad benefits of mitigation policyClim. Change128, doi 10.1007/s10584-014-1304-z

Garman, D., K. Emanuel, and B. Phillips, 2014: Breaking the climate deadlockIssues in Science and Technology30, 75-82.

Lin, N., P. Lane, K. A. Emanuel, R. M., Sullivan, and J. P. Donnelly, 2014: Heightened hurricane surge risk in northwest Florida revealed from climatological-hydrodynamic modeling and paleorecord reconstruction. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 119, 8606–8623, doi:10.1002/2014JD021584.

Vincent, E. M., K. A. Emanuel, L. Matthieu, J. Vialard, and G. Madec, 2014: Influence of upper ocean stratification interannual variability on tropical cyclones. J. Adv. Mod. Earth Sys., 6, DOI: 10.1002/2014MS000327.

Kossin, J. P., K. A. Emanuel, and G. A. Vecchi, 2014: The poleward migration of the location of tropical cyclone maximum intensityNature509, 349-352.

Vergados, P., Z. J. Luo, K. Emanuel, and A. J. Mannucci, 2014: Observational tests of hurricane intensity estimations using GPS radio occultations. J. Geophys. Res., 119, 1936-1948, DOI: 10.1002/2013JD020934.

Chavas, D. R., and K. A. Emanuel, 2014: Equilibrium tropical cyclone size in an idealized state of axisymmetric radiative–convective equilibriumJ. Atmos. Sci., 71, 1663-1680.

Aerts, C. J. H. J., W. J. W. Botzen, K. Emanuel, N. Lin, H. de Moel, and E. O. Michel-Kerjan, 2014: Evaluating flood resilience strategies for coastal megacitiesScience344, 473-475.

Wing, A. A., and K. A. Emanuel, 2014: Physical mechanisms controlling self-aggregation of convection in idealized numerical modeling simulationsJ. Adv. Model. Earth Sys., 6, doi: 10.1002/2013MS000269.

Emanuel, K., A. A. Wing, and E. M. Vincent, 2014: Radiative-Convective InstabilityJ. Adv. Model. Earth Sys., 6, doi: 10.1002/2013MS000270.

Bony, S., B. Stevens, I. H. Held, J. F. Mitchell, J.-L. DuFresne, K. A. Emanuel, P. Friedlingstein, S. Griffies, and C. Senior, 2013: Carbon dioxide and climate: Perspectives on a scientific assessment. In Climate Science for Serving Society, Springer, pp 391-413.

Zhu, L., S. M. Quiring, and K. A. Emanuel, 2013: Estimating tropical cyclone precipitation risk in TexasGeophys. Res. Lett., 40, 6225–6230, doi:10.1002/2013GL058284.

Sieron, S. B., F. Zhang, and K. A. Emanuel, 2013: Feasibility of tropical cyclone intensity estimation using satellite-borne radiometer measurements: An observing system simulation experimentGeophys. Res. Lett., 40, 5332–5336, doi:10.1002/grl.50973.

Strazzo, S., J. B. Elsner, J.C. Trapnier, and K. A. Emanuel, 2013: Frequency, intensity, and sensitivity to sea surface temperature of North Atlantic tropical cyclones in best-track and simulated data. J. Adv. Model. Earth Sys., 5, doi: 10.1002/jame.20036.  

Khairoutdinov, M, and K. Emanuel, 2013: Rotating radiative-convective equilibrium simulated by a cloud-resolving modelJ. Adv. Model. Earth Sys., 5, doi: 10.1002/2013MS000253.  

Cronin, T. W., and K. A. Emanuel, 2013: The climate time scale in the approach to radiative-convective equilibrium. J. Adv. Model. Earth Sys., 5, doi:10.1002/jame.20049.  

Emanuel, K.A., 2013: Downscaling CMIP5 climate models shows increased tropical cyclone activity over the 21st century. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 110, doi/10.1073/pnas.1301293110.

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Contact Information

t: 617-253-2462


B.S., Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT, 1976
Ph.D., Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1978

Courses taught:
Global Warming Science (edX) 
Global Warming Science (12.340) [Undergrad]
Quasi-balanced Circulations in Oceans and Atmospheres (12.803) [Graduate]
Tropical Meteorology (12.811) [Graduate]
Climate Physics and Chemistry (12.842) [Graduate]
Atmospheric and Oceanic Modeling (12.950) [Graduate]