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Yuko Okumura, UTIG Research Associate
Yuko Okumura and her family

Yuko M. Okumura

Research Associate

Ph.D., Meteorology, University of Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii, 2005
M.S., Climate Dynamics, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, 2000
B.S., Geophysics, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, 1998

Curriculum Vitae (updated on 06/27/14)


Office number: 2.234
Email: yukoo at
Phone: 512-471-0383
Fax: 512-471-8844

Research Interests:

I grew up in Niihama on the island of Shikoku, Japan. While taking physics classes in high school, I became intrigued by the idea of explaining various natural phenomena with basic physical principles, and thus decided to major in geophysics for college. When I was applying for graduate school in 1997, the largest El Nino event in modern history was developing, affecting weather patterns worldwide. This event sparked my interest in climate dynamics. How do the tropical ocean and atmosphere interact to yield such a spectacular event? How do changes in tropical ocean temperatures affect weather in distant regions?

Topics of my research range widely from the seasonal cycle of the tropical Atlantic to multidecadal variability in Antarctic ice core records, but their background themes have always been rooted in what fascinated me in 1997 - tropical ocean-atmosphere interactions and atmospheric teleconnections. During recent years, I have broadened my horizons by applying my knowledge of modern climate dynamics to understand climate variability and change in the distant past and future.


Goff, J. A., L. Lugrin, S. P. S. Gulick, K. Thirumalai, and Y. Okumura, 2015: Oyster reef die-offs in stratigraphic record of Corpus Christi Bay, Texas possibly caused by drought-driven extreme salinity changes. Holocene, revised.

Xie, S.-P., Y. Kosaka, and Y. M. Okumura, 2015: Distinct energy budgets for anthropogenic and natural changes during global warming hiatus. Nature Geoscience, revised.

Partin, J. W., T. M. Quinn, C.-C. Shen, Y. Okumura, M. B. Cardenas, F. P. Siringan, J. L. Banner, K. Lin, and F. W. Taylor, 2015: Gradual onset and recovery of the Younger Dryas 'abrupt climate event' in the tropics. Nature Communications, in press.

Okumura, Y. M., 2013: Origins of tropical Pacific decadal variability: Role of stochastic atmospheric forcing from the South Pacific. J. Climate, 26, 9791-9796. [Article][Supplementary Material]

Hereid, K. A., T. M. Quinn, and Y. M. Okumura, 2013: Assessing spatial variability in ENSO event detection skill using coral geochemistry. Paleoceanography, 28, 14-23. [Article]

Tokinaga, H., S.-P. Xie, C. Deser, Y. Kosaka, and Y. M. Okumura, 2012: Slowdown of the Walker circulation driven by tropical Indo-Pacific warming. Nature, 491, 439-443. [Article]

Okumura, Y. M., D. Schneider, C. Deser, and R. Wilson, 2012: Decadal-interdecadal climate variability over Antarctica and linkages to the tropics: Analysis of ice core, instrumental, and tropical proxy data. J. Climate, 25, 7421-7441. [Article]

Schneider, D. P., Y. Okumura, and C. Deser, 2012: Observed Antarctic interannual climate variability and tropical linkages. J. Climate, 25, 4048-4066. [Article]

Grodsky, S. A., J. A. Carton, S. Nigam, and Y. Okumura, 2012: Tropical Atlantic biases in CCSM4. J. Climate, 25, 3684-3701. [Article]

Deser, C., A. S. Phillips, R. A. Tomas, Y. Okumura, M. A. Alexander, A. Capotondi, J. D. Scott, Y.-O. Kwon, and M. Ohba, 2012: ENSO and Pacific decadal variability in a 1300-year control integration of Community Climate System Model Version 4. J. Climate, 25, 2622-2651. [Article]

Chowdary, J. S., S.-P. Xie, H. Tokinaga, Y. M. Okumura, H. Kubota, N. C. Johnson, and X.-T. Zheng, 2012: Interdecadal variations in ENSO teleconnection to the Indo-western Pacific for 1870-2007. J. Climate, 25, 1722-1744. [Article]

Tokinaga, H., S.-P. Xie, A. Timmermann, S. McGregor, T. Ogata, H. Kubota, and Y. M. Okumura, 2012: Regional patterns of tropical Indo-Pacific climate change: Evidence of the Walker circulation weakening. J. Climate, 25, 1689-1710. [Article]

Schneider, D. P., C. Deser, and Y. Okumura, 2012: An assessment and interpretation of the observed warming of West Antarctica in the austral spring. Climate Dynamics, 38, 323-347. [Article]

Okumura, Y. M., M. Ohba, C. Deser, and H. Ueda 2011: A proposed mechanism for asymmetric duration of El Nino and La Nina. J. Climate, 24, 3822-3829. [Article]

Okumura, Y. M., and C. Deser, 2010: Asymmetry in the duration of El Nino and La Nina. J. Climate, 23, 5826-5843. [Article]

Hodson, D. L. R., R. T. Sutton, C. Cassou , N. Keenlyside, Y. Okumura, and T. Zhou, 2010: Climate impacts of recent multidecadal changes in Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperature: A multimodel comparison. Climate Dynamics, 34, 1041-1058. [Article]

Zhou, T., R. Yu, J. Zhang, H. Drange, C. Cassou, C. Deser, D. L. R. Hodson, E. SanchezGomez, J. Li, N. Keenlyside, X. Xin, and Y. Okumura, 2009: Why the western Pacific subtropical high has extended westward since the late 1970s. J. Climate, 22, 2199-2215. [Article]

Timmermann, A., L. Menviel, Y. Okumura A. Schilla, U. Merkel, O. Timm, A. Hu, B. Otto-Bliesner, and M. Schulz, 2009: Towards a quantitative understanding of millennial-scale Antarctic warming events. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29, 74-85. [Article]

Okumura, Y. M., C. Deser, A. Hu, A. Timmermann, and S.-P. Xie, 2009: North Pacific climate response to freshwater forcing in the subarctic North Atlantic: Oceanic and atmospheric pathways. J. Climate, 22, 1424-1445. [Article]

SanchezGomez E., C. Cassou, D. L. R. Hodson, N. Keenlyside, Y. Okumura, and T. Zhou 2008: North Atlantic weather regimes response to Indian-western Pacific Ocean warming: A multi-model study. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L15706, doi:10.1029/2008GL034345. [Article]

Xie, S.-P., Y. Okumura, T. Miyama, and A. Timmermann, 2008: Influences of Atlantic climate change on the tropical Pacific via the Central American Isthmus. J. Climate, 21, 3914–3928. [Article]

Timmermann, A., Y. Okumura,, S.-I. An, A. Clement, B. Dong, E. Guilyardi, A. Hu, J. H. Jungclaus, M. Renold, T. F. Stocker, R. J. Stouffer, R. Sutton, S.-P. Xie, and J. Yin, 2007: The influence of a weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation on ENSO. J. Climate, 20, 4899-4919. [Article]

Okumura, Y., and S.-P. Xie, 2006: Some overlooked features of tropical Atlantic climate leading to a new Nino-like phenomenon. J. Climate, 19, 5859-5874. [Article]

Okumura, Y., and S.-P. Xie, 2004: Interaction of the Atlantic equatorial cold tongue and the African monsoon. J. Climate, 17, 3589-3602. [Article]

Okumura, Y., S.-P. Xie, A. Numaguti, and Y. Tanimoto, 2001: Tropical Atlantic air-sea interaction and its influence on the NAO. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 1507-1510. [Atricle]