Andrew Dessler

Andrew Dessler


Reta A. Haynes Chair in Geosciences

Climate change, remote sensing, climate change policy

  (979) 862-1427

  Eller O&M 1210B


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.


Ph.D., Harvard University 1994

B.A., Rice University 1986

Additional Information


Miscellaneous Stuff

I am a fellow of the AGU and AAAS
I am an editor of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
I am President-elect of the AGU's Global and Environmental Change section

Oped on the role of gov't in society (April 2020)
Oped on how climate change is remaking the world (Jan. 2020)
Stephen Schneider lecture at the 2019 AGU meeting
Oped on cutting regulations and climate change (Nov. 2019)
Oped on how we know humans are causing climate change (Oct. 2018)
Oped on the benefit of science to society (April 2017)
Seminar on the science of climate change to the TAMU Physics Department (Sept. 2015)
Senate hearing on climate change (testimony: writtenoral) (Jan. 2014)
Oped on climate change (Oct. 2013)
Oped in the Guardian on science advocacy (Sept. 2013)
Climate of Doubt & extended interview
Oped on climate change (Sept. 2011)
Houston PBS climate change discussion
Oped on climate change (July 2011)
Google Science Communications Fellowship
Seminar on the science of climate change to the TAMU Petroleum Eng. Department (Jan. 2011)
Interview with me in Nature 

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