Regional climate change in the Subtropics


Using a combination of numerical and theoretical approaches, I look at regional contrasts in climate and rainfall over the subtropics.

Subtropical regions cover nearly a half of Earth's surface area and are characterized by extreme regional contrasts in climate - for example, between monsoon areas and deserts - which make predicting regional climate change challenging. Comprehensive climate models often disagree on the magnitude--and sometimes even on the sign--of simulated rainfall or surface temperature changes in the subtropics with global warming, limiting the ability of governments and international organizations to anticipate the effects of climate change on agriculture, infrastructure, and ecosystems.

My research uses atmospheric fluid dynamics and its interaction with land surface and oceans to explain present-day regional climate and predict its sensitivity to various climate forcings (e.g. insolation change on orbital timescales, greenhouse gas concentration change, etc.). I identify environmental factors--local or remote--that are most important in driving regional climate trends in the subtropics, and quantify the influence of particular regions on the climate variability of the rest of the tropics, both in the present-day climate and in a warming world.

Other academic interests include past climates (e.g. Snowball Earth), and climate on extraterrestrial planets or satellites (i.e. atmospheric circulations on Titan or Jupiter). In my spare time, I play saxophone in a band, travel back home to the French Alps, and explore the trails of the closest mountain ranges.

About me:

I am a climate scientist who studies the dynamics of Earth's atmosphere at regional and planetary scales. I am currently a research scientist in the Earth Science department at the Barcelona Super-computing Center. I received my PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering at Caltech in 2013, where I worked with Tapio Schneider on the dynamics of Earth’s Hadley circulation. Later I did a postdoc at the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University, working with Bill Boos.


Carrer de Jordi Girona, 29, 08034 Barcelona, Spain

xavier.levine (at)

Banner image: Monthly-mean NVDI for September 2016 (NOAA view data imagery portal from the Environmental Visualization Laboratory)