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Sarah Kapnick

Research Physical Scientist

Deputy Division Leader: Seasonal to Decadal Variability and Predictability Division

Curriculum vitae


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Contact Information:

phone (609) 452-6548


Sarah Kapnick

Dr. Sarah Kapnick is a research physical science and deputy division leader in the Seasonal to Decadal Predictability and Variability Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, NJ. Her research focuses on understanding the physical climate related to water, known as hydroclimate. She seeks to quantify the variability and predictability of precipitation, mountain snowpack, extreme storms, and water supply. Her work builds global climate models, prediction systems, and products for seasonal-to-decadal climate prediction and projection. Dr. Kapnick’s interests also include the broader impacts of weather and climate, with the goal of using climate information to build a more resilient society through improved climate risk quantification. Her interest in the financial impacts of weather and climate stem from her previous career in investment banking in New York City and her experience working at start-ups in California. Her work has been featured extensively in the media, including: New York Times, Popular Science, NPR, USA Today, Business Insider, Refinery29, and Vox.

Dr. Kapnick is an Editor for Earth’s Future and previously served as an Associate Editor for Water Resources Research. She presently serves as a science panelist for, on an advisory panel for the National Integrated Drought Information System, a member of NOAA’s Eastern Region Climate Team, and a Nominating Committee Member for the American Association of Advancement of Science. She is the 2017 recipient of the NOAA Albritton Outstanding Science Communicator Award and the 2015 American Geophysical Union Cryosphere Early Career Award. Her previous research appointments include serving as a visiting scientist at the University of Hamburg; a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow; and a visiting scientist in Princeton’s Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with a certificate in Leaders in Sustainability from the Institute of Environment and Sustainability from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with a certificate in Finance from Princeton University.


Recent Publications

  • Pascale, S., Kapnick, S.B., Delworth, T.L., Cooke, W.F., (2020). Increasing risk of another Cape Town “Day Zero” drought in the 21st century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.2009144117. [GFDL Highlight]
  • Hurwitz M., Baxter S., Brown B, Carman J, Dale J, Draper C, Horsfall F, Hughes M, Gerth J, Kapnick SB, Olheiser C, Olsen M, Stachelski C, Vincent M, Webb R, Zdrojewski J, 2020: Six Priorities for Investment in Snow Research and Product Development. In Press at Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0218.1
  • Delworth TL, et al, 2020: SPEAR – the next generation GFDL modeling system for seasonal to multidecadal prediction and projection. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 10.1029/2019MS001895.
  • Kirschbaum DB, Kapnick SB, Stanley T, Pascale S, 2020: Changes in extreme precipitation and landslides over High Mountain Asia, Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2019GL085347. doi:10.1029/2019GL085347. [NASA Story] [NOAA Story] [NASA Earth Observatory]
  • Johnson NC, Krishnamurthy L, Wittenberg AT, Xiang B, Vecchi GA, Kapnick SB, Pascale S, 2020: The impact of sea surface temperature biases on North American precipitation in a high-resolution climate model. Journal of Climate, 33, 2427-2447.
  • Qian Y, Murakami H, Hsu P-C, Kapnick SB, 2020: Effect of Anthropogenic Forcing and Natural Variability on the Occurrence of the 2018 Heatwave in Northeast Asia. [in “Explaining Extremes of 2018 from a Climate Perspective”]. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 101 (1), S77-82, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0156.1.
  • Barcikowska MJ, Kapnick SB, Krishnamurty L, Russo S, Cherchi A, Folland C, 2020: Changes in the summer Mediterranean climate contribution of large scale dynamics and local factors. Earth System Dynamics, 11, 161-181.