Lorenzo M. Polvani

Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

216 S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4701

Tel(212) 854-7331
Fax(845) 365-8347

Polvani’s research encompasses many aspects of atmospheric and climate dynamics, including the physical response of the climate system to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide, the chemistry and dynamics of the stratosphere, Arctic and Antarctic climate change, and past and future climate impacts related to the Montreal Protocol.  He is particularly interested in quantifying and distinguishing the effects of anthropogenic forcings from natural climate variability. He also retains an interest in geophysical fluid dynamics, and occasionally dabbles in planetary atmospheres.

Research Interests

Atmospheric and climate dynamics, geophysical fluid dynamics, planetary atmospheres.

Polvani earned Bachelor and Master degrees in Physics from McGill University, and a Doctorate in Physical Oceanography from the MIT/Woods Hole Joint Program in 1988. He was an Instructor in Applied Mathematics at MIT before joining Columbia University, where he has been teaching for over 25 years.  He has received several teaching awards.


  • Affiliate Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 2004-present
  • Alliance Visiting Professor, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaisaeau, France, 2015
  • Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 2000-present
  • Professor of Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, 2000-present
  • Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, 1995-2000
  • Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, 1990-1995
  • Instructor in Applied Mathematics [non-tenure track], M.I.T., 1988-1990


  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • European Geosciences Union
  • American Physical Society
  • American Astronomical Society
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics


  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2019
  • Fellow, American Meteorological Society, 2015
  • Best Teacher of the Year, Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, 2012
  • Great Teacher Award, Society of Columbia Graduates, Columbia University 2008
  • Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, Columbia SEAS Alumni Association 1997


  • R. Chemke and L.M. Polvani: Opposite tropical circulation trends in climate models and in reanalyses, Nature Geoscience, 12, 528-532 (2019)
  • G. Chiodo, J. Oehrlein, L.M. Polvani, J. Fyfe and A.K. Smith: Insignificant influence of the 11-year solar cycle on the North Atlantic Oscillation, Nature Geoscience, 12, 94-99 (2019)
  • L.M. Polvani, A. Banerjee, A. Schmidt: Northern Hemisphere continental winter warming following the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption: Reconciling models and observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 6351-6366 (2019)
  • L.M. Polvani, M. Abalos, R. Garcia, D. Kinnison and W.J. Randel: Significant weakening of Brewer-Dobson circulation trends over the 21st century as a consequence of the Montreal Protocol, Geophys. Res. Lett., 45, 401-409 (2018)
  • M. Previdi and L.M. Polvani: Impact of the Montreal Protocol on Antarctic Surface Mass Balance and Implications for Global Sea-Level Rise, J. Climate, 30, 7247-7253 (2017)
  • G. Chiodo and L.M. Polvani: Reduction of climate sensitivity to solar forcing due to stratospheric ozone feedback, J. Climate, 29, 4651-4663 (2016)
  • E.A. Barnes and L.M. Polvani: CMIP5 projections of Arctic amplification, of the North American/North Atlantic circulation, and of their relationship, J. Climate, 28, 5254-5271 (2015)

For a complete list of Polvani's publications, visit his website.