12 January 2010

CUHK Wei Lun Public Lecture Presents ‘Rainstorms, Typhoons and Cold Surges in East Asia: Observation, Simulation and Impact of Climate Change’ by Prof. Gabriel Lau from Princeton University

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) will present the Wei Lun Public Lecture on ‘Rainstorms, Typhoons and Cold Surges in East Asia: Observation, Simulation and Impact of Climate Change’ by Prof. Gabriel Ngar-cheung Lau from Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Department of Geosciences, Princeton University tomorrow (13 January). Professor Lau is one of the contributing authors of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report which laid out the latest knowledge on the physical basis of global climate change. The IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice President Al Gore in 2007.

In his lecture, Professor Lau will review the current state of observations and computer models in climate and weather research. The applications of observational datasets and model tools that increase scientific understandings of various prevalent atmospheric phenomena in Asia are illustrated. Such meteorological features include the steady, continental-scale monsoons over South and East Asia, as well as higher-frequency fluctuations embedded in these background flow patterns. Of particular interest among the weather-scale systems in this region are diurnal (day/night) changes in precipitation and wind, Meiyu (Plum Rain) rain belts in early summer over China/Japan, typhoons over the tropical western Pacific and South/East China Seas, and wintertime cold air outbreaks over the East Asian seaboard. The fidelity of state-of-the-art models in reproducing this range of atmospheric phenomena is assessed by comparing their output with in situ and satellite observations. The possible influences of climate change in the 21st century on the behaviour of these phenomena are discussed.

Professor Lau is the lead scientist of the Climate Diagnostics Project at GFDL of NOAA. He concurrently serves as a Lecturer with the rank of Professor at the Department of Geosciences and Program of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at Princeton University. Professor Lau was born in Hong Kong and spent his youth here. He majored in physics at United College, CUHK, where he received the B.Sc. degree in 1974. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, and received the Ph.D. degree in atmospheric sciences in 1978. He then joined Princeton and has been associated with the research and teaching programs at GFDL throughout the past 31 years.

Professor Lau’s principal research interests are concerned with the behaviour of atmospheric and oceanic phenomena in various geographical regions, with typical time scales ranging from hours to several years. These features include day-night differences, day-to-day weather disturbances in warm and cold seasons, persistent flow structures, monsoonal circulations, and changes in the air-sea coupled system associated with El Nino. His primary research tools include datasets based on in situ observations and remote-sensing platforms, as well as output from experiments and simulations with numerical models. He has authored or coauthored over 100 publications in various scientific journals, and has been designated as a Highly Cited Researcher by the ISI Web of Knowledge.

The Wei Lun Visiting Professorship / Fellowship Scheme of CUHK was established through a generous donation by the Wei Lun Foundation Limited with the aim to invite eminent scholars from around the world to visit and give lecture at CUHK.

Prof. Gabriel Ngar-cheung Lau
Prof. Gabriel Ngar-cheung Lau