UCSB Geography Professor Charles Jones is quoted in an article regarding the South American monsoon in the latest AAAS journal Science. An in depth Climate Science summary of the article by Lizzie Wade, titled “Chasing South America’s monsoon,” points out that “When delegates from nearly 200 nations gather in Lima next week to begin laying the groundwork for a new international accord to curb global warming, few may realize that they’ve stepped into the middle of a climate mystery. In the late 1990s, researchers realized that tropical South America’s summer rainy season is driven by a complex monsoon system that affects a large swath of the continent, stretching from western Peru and northern Argentina across Amazonia to Brazil’s east coast. With the help of paleoclimate records like lake sediments, scientists are beginning to unravel the history and dynamics of the South American monsoon, even as they struggle to forecast how climate change may transform it.”
Wade’s full article goes on to state: “Understanding what drives the monsoon and why it varies from year to year is proving tricky. One obstacle is a lack of historical data. Researchers studying India’s monsoon have benefited from ‘rain gauges … that go back more than 100 years,’ says Charles Jones, a climate modeler at the University of California, Santa Barbara. ‘We don’t have [that] over the Amazon.’”
Dr. Jones, along with Professor Leila Carvalho, runs the UCSB Climate Variations and Change (CLIVAC) research group. CLIVAC is dedicated to further understanding the Earth’s present and future climates on different temporal and spatial scales. With this goal in mind, CLIVAC has been developing observational and modeling analyses in atmospheric sciences.