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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

Sarah Kapnick’s research focuses on the mechanisms controlling the hydroclimate, with an emphasis on: precipitation, extreme storms, mountain snowpack, and climate finance. 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 and Electorate Nominating Committee Member for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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.