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Texas A&M University
O&M Building, Room 1205B
The Water Program
213 Teague Hall
MS 3408
College Station, Texas 77843
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Course Offerings:

Dr. Gerald R. North

Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography

Ph.D., Physics, University of Wisconsin, 1966

B.S., 1960, Physics, The University of Tennessee


North and his research group are interested in climate change and the determination of its origins. We work with simplified climate models which lend themselves to analytical study, estimation theory as applied to observing systems, and the testing of all climate models through statistical approaches. Often all three themes are combined for a particular application.

Over a period of 30 years, North and associates have studied a hierarchy of simplified models known as Energy Balance Climate Models (EBCMs). Both linear, nonlinear, and stochastic versions of these models have been shown to be good analogs to the real climate of the surface temperature field including the two dimensional seasonal cycle and the field of fluctuations. These models have very interesting properties from mathematical as well as physical points of view. For instance, multiple solutions occur for the present external conditions and their stability properties are amenable to analysis. Stochastic versions of the models are useful analogs to more comprehensive models making them a useful laboratory for preliminary analyses before expensive experiments are performed.

The group also collaborates with statisticians and mathematicians on problems of observing system error analysis. For example, we continue to be interested in the ground validation program and the sampling error problems for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission. We also are interested in the problem of estimating climate parameters (e.g., global average, spherical harmonic coefficients, space-time power spectra, EOFs, etc.) from observing systems consisting of a finite number of point gauges distributed over the globe or from satellite orbital observing systems. We also want to know how data from disparate sources can be optimally combined.

Most recent works have been along the lines of estimating the strengths of forced response signals in the climate system over the last century. We use various models for estimating the natural variability and the signal waveforms. Then we perform a signal analysis to determine the strengths of the greenhouse gas, the anthropogenic aerosol, the solar variability, and the volcanic signals. We are particularly interested in the 11-year solar cycle signal since it presents a rare opportunity to observe the sensitivity of climate to an external forcing at such a decadal frequency.

Research Interests

  • Modern and Paleo-Climate Analysis       
  • Satellite Remote Sensing, Mission Planning
  • Climate and Hydrology Modeling       
  • Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Science


  • Holder of the Harold J. Haynes Endowed Chair in Geosciences, 2003-2008
  • Head, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University. September 1995-2003.
  • Visiting Scientist. University of Reading.  Reading, UK.  June-July 1994.
  • Director of Climate System Research Program, Texas A&M University. September 1986 – 1999.
  • Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and of Oceanography, Texas A&M University.  September 1986 – present.
  • Adjunct Professor of Geography, Texas A&M University. March 1990-present.
  • Senior Consulting Scientist, Applied Research Corporation. Landover, MD. 1986-1993.
  • Senior Consulting Scientist, Applied Res. Corp. Technologies. College Station, TX. 1987-93.
  • Physical Scientist, AST (GS-15), Climate/Radiation Branch, NASA/GSFC. Greenbelt, MD. l978-86.
  • Lecturer/Adjunct Prof., Department of Meteorology. University of Maryland. College Park, MD. 1980-86.
  • Professor, Department of Physics. University of Missouri. St. Louis, MO. 1977-80.
  • Visiting Professor, Columbia University, Summer Lecture Program. NASA/Goddard  Institute for Space Studies. New York, NY.  July, 1979.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Physics. University of Missouri. St. Louis, MO.  1972-77.
  • Visiting Scientist, Main Geophysical Observatory. Leningrad, USSR.  May-July 1977.
  • Guest Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Woods Hole, MA. Summer 1976.
  • Senior Fellow, National Center for Atmospheric Research. Boulder, CO.  1974-75.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, University of Missouri. St. Louis, MO. 1968-72.
  • Research Associate, Department of Physics. University of Pennsylvania, PA.  1966-68.
  • Technician/Programmer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Oak Ridge, TN.  Sept. 1957-Aug. 1961.

Selected Publications

  • North, G. R., F. J. Moeng, T. J. Bell and R. F. Cahalan, 1982: Sampling Errors in the Estimation of Empirical Orthogonal Functions. Mon. Wea. Rev., 110, 699-706.
  • Simpson, J., R. F. Adler and G. R. North, 1988: Proposed Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Satellite.   Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 69, 278-295.
  • North, G. R., R. F. Cahalan and J. A. Coakley, 1981: Energy-Balance Climate Models.   Rev. Geophys. Sp. Phys., 19, 91-121.
  • North, G. R., 1975: Theory of Energy-Balance Climate Models. J. Atmos. Sci., 32,   2,033-2,043.
  • Short, D. A., J. G. Mengel, T. J. Crowley, W. T. Hyde and G. R. North, 1991: Filtering of Milankovitch Cycles by Earth’s Geography.   Quaternary Res., 35, 157-173.
  • North, G. R., J. G. Mengel and D. A.   Short, 1983: A Simple Energy Balance Model Resolving        the Seasons and the Continents: Application to the Astronomical Theory of the Ice          Ages.   J. Geophys. Res., 88, 6,576-6,586.
  • North, G. R., 1975: Analytical Solution to a Simple Climate Model With Diffusive Heat Transport.   J. Atmos. Sci., 32,1,301-1,307.
  • Bell, T. L., A. Abdullah, R. L. Martin and G. R. North, 1990: Sampling Errors for Satellite-Derived Tropical Rainfall: Monte Carlo Study Using a Space-Time Stochastic Model.   J. Geophys. Res., 95, 2,195-2,206.
  • Kedem, B., L. S. Chiu and G. R. North, 1990: Estimation of Mean Rain Rate: Application to Satellite Observations.   J. Geophys. Res., 95, 1,965-1,972.
  • North, G. R. and J. A. Coakley, 1979: Differences Between Seasonal and Mean Annual Energy Balance Model Calculations of Climate and Climate Change. J. Atmos. Sci., 36, 1,189-1,204.
  • Crowley, T. J., D. A. Short, J. G. Mengel and G. R. North, 1986: Role of Seasonality in the Evolution of Climate During the Last 100 Million Years. Science, 231, 579-584.

 Full list of publications in PDF for can be found here

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