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Andrew Dessler
Andrew Dessler
(979) 862-1427
(979) 862-4466
Eller O&M 1210B
Texas A&M University
O&M Building, Room 1210B
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
MS 3150
College Station, Texas 77843


Ph.D., Harvard University 1994

B.A., Rice University 1986

Andrew Dessler

Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
Reta A. Haynes Chair in Geosciences

Research Interests

Climate Change and Water Vapor

The thread that runs through all of my group's research is the water molecule. In its vapor form, water is our atmosphere's most important greenhouse gas. In the form of clouds, it represents another powerful moderator of our climate. Few constituents are as important to the atmosphere, as hard to understand, or as interesting. The complexity of water and its multiple interconnections with other parts of the atmospheric/oceanic system means that water cannot be studied by itself, but must be understood as part of a larger, more complex system. In all cases, the goal of our work is two-fold: improve our understanding of the physics of the atmosphere, and provide "yardsticks" with which to test of the validity and accuracy of global climate models.

Climate Change Policy

I spent 2000 as a Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (photo). While there, I became aware of a profound lack of understanding among policymakers and the general public about how science works and how to interpret the conflicting claims one often hears in policy debates. Based on that experience, I wrote a book that uses examples from the climate change arena to explain how science is used and misused in the policy arena. 

Atmospheric Chemistry

I spent most of my early career studying the chemistry of the stratosphere. This included working on balloon- and aircraft-borne water vapor and ozone instruments as well as analyzing satellite measurements of the trace species that control stratospheric ozone chemistry.  I still have a keen interest in stratospheric water vapor, but I have not worked on stratospheric ozone chemistry in a long, long time.

Selected Publications

  • Dessler, A.E., M.R. Schoeberl, T. Wang, S.M. Davis, and K.H. Rosenlof, Stratospheric water vapor feedback,Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 110, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1310344110, 18,087-18,091, 2013. 
  • Dessler, A.E., A determination of the cloud feedback from climate variations over the past decade, Science, 330, DOI: 10.1126/science.1192546, 1523-1527, 2010.
  • Dessler, A.E., Energy for air capture, Nature Geosci., 2, DOI: 10.1038/ngeo691, 811, 2009.
  • Dessler, A.E., and S. Wong, Estimates of the water vapor feedback during the El Nino Southern Oscillation, J. Climate, 22, 6404-6412, 2009.
  • Dessler, A.E., and Sherwood, S.C.  A matter of humidity, Science, 323, 1020-1021, DOI: 10.1126/science.1171264, 2009.
  • Fueglistaler, S., Dessler, A.E., Dunkerton, T.J., Folkins, I., Fu, Q. and Mote, P.W. The tropical tropopause layer,Rev. Geophys., 47, RG1004, DOI: 10.1029/2008RG000267, 2009.
  • Dessler, A.E., Zhang, Z, and Yang, P. The water-vapor climate feedback inferred from climate fluctuations, 2003-2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L20704, DOI: 10.1029/2008GL035333, 2008.
  • Dessler, A.E., Hanisco, T.F. and Fueglistaler, S. Effects of convective ice lofting on H2O and HDO in the tropical tropopause layer. J. Geophys. Res. 112, D18309, DOI: 10.1029/2007JD008609, 2007.
  • Minschwaner, K., and Dessler, A.E. Water vapor feedback in the tropical upper troposphere: Model results and observations. J. Climate 17, 1272-1282, 2004.
  • Complete list of publications and reprints

Additional Information


Miscellaneous Stuff

Interview with me in Nature 
Seminar on the science of climate change to the TAMU Petroleum Eng. Department (Jan. 2011)
Google Science Communications Fellowship
Oped on climate change (July 2011)
Houston PBS climate change discussion
Oped on climate change (Sept. 2011)
Climate of Doubt & extended interview
Opeds in the Guardian on science advocacy: Aug. 2013 and Sept. 2013
Oped on climate change (Oct. 2013)
Senate hearing on climate change (testimony: writtenoral) (Jan. 2014)
Seminar on the science of climate change to the TAMU Physics Department (Sept. 2015)
Oped on the benefit of science to society (April 2017)

Oped on how we know humans are causing climate change (Oct. 2018)

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