Skip to content

Sarah Kapnick

Research Physical Scientist

Deputy Division Leader: Seasonal to Decadal Variability and Predictability Division

Curriculum vitae


Google Scholar

Contact Information:

phone (609) 452-6548


Sarah Kapnick

Sarah Kapnick’s research focuses on the mechanisms controlling the hydroclimate, with an emphasis on: precipitation, extreme storms and mountain snowpack. Dr. Kapnick’s work answers questions about current weather and deviations in the climate system relating to the water cycle, which can result in mitigable disruptions, and thus are paramount to resource planning and development. Dr. Kapnick’s research utilizes “big data” from both observations and models, to understand how the climate system has varied in the past and present, and what we might expect in the future.

Dr. Kapnick received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Mathematics with a Certificate in Finance and her Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with a Certificate from the Institute of Environment and Sustainability. She is the recipient of the American Geophysical Union Cryosphere Section Early Career Award for 2015 and NOAA OAR Daniel L. Albritton Outstanding Science Communicator Award for 2017. She presently serves as an Associate Editor of Water Resources Research.

Recent Publications

  • Ludquist J, Hughes M, Gutmann E, Kapnick SB, 2019: Our skill in modeling mountain rain and snow is by- passing the skill of our observational networks. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, doi:10.1175/ BAMS-D-19-0001.1.
  • Pu B, Ginoux P, Kapnick SB, Yang X, 2019: Seasonal prediction potential for springtime dustiness in the U.S. Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2019GL083703.
  • Pascale S, Pohl B, Kapnick SB, Zhang H, 2019: On the Angola Low interannual variability and its role in modulating ENSO effects in southern Africa. Journal of Climate, 32, 24783-4803.
  • Catalano AJ, Broccoli AJ, Kapnick SB, Janoski TP, 2019: High-Impact Extratropical Cyclones along the Northeast Coast of the United States in a Long Coupled Climate Model Simulation. Journal of Climate, 32, 2131-2143.
  • Yang X, Jia L, Kapnick SB, Delworth T, Vecchi GA, Gudgel R, Underwood S, Zeng F, 2018: On the seasonal prediction of the western United States El Niño precipitation pattern during the 2015/16 winter. Climate Dynamics, 51, 3765-3783.
  • Janoski TP, Broccoli AJ, Kapnick SB, Johnson NC, 2018: Effects of Climate Change on Wind-Driven Heavy Snowfall Events over Eastern North America. Journal of Climate, 31, 9037-9054.
  • van der Wiel K, Kapnick SB, Vecchi GA, Smith J, Milly PCD, Jia L, 2018: Characteristics and future changes of 100-year Mississippi floods in a global climate model. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 19, 1547-1563.
  • Pascale S, Kapnick SB, Bordoni S, Delworth TL, 2018: The influence of CO2 forcing on the North American monsoon moisture surges, Journal of Climate, 31, 7949-7968.
  • Barcikowska M, Kapnick SB, Feser F, 2018: Impact of large-scale circulation changes in the North Atlantic sector on the current and future Mediterranean winter hydroclimate. Climate Dynamics, 50, 2039-2059.
  • Krishnamurthy L, Vecchi GA, Yang X, van der Wiel K, Balaji V, Kapnick SB, Jia L, Zeng F, Paffendorf K, Underwood S, 2018: Causes and probability of occurrence of extreme precipitation events like Chennai 2015. Journal of Climate, 31, 3831-3848.
  • Wrzesien M, Durand M, Pavelsky T, Kapnick SB, Zhang Y, Guo J, Shum CK, 2018: A new estimate of North American mountain snow accumulation from regional climate model simulations. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(3), 1423-1432.
  • Kapnick SB, Yang X, Vecchi GA, Delworth TL, Gudgel R, Malyshev S, Milly PCD, Shevliakova E, Underwood S, Margulis S, 2018: Potential for Western United States Seasonal Snowpack Prediction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115(6), doi:10.1073/pnas1716760115. [NOAA Story]; [GFDL Story]; [ Story]; [Princeton Story]