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Christopher Skinner

image of Christopher Skinner
Christopher Skinner, Ph.D.Assistant Professor
  • College
    College of Sciences
  • Department
    Environmental Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Phone
    (978) 934-3901
  • Office
    Olney Hall - 301B
  • Email
  • Profile Links

Research Interests

Climate Change, Weather Extremes, Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions, Climate Modeling

I am interested in the intersection of climate change and climate impacts. In my research I use process-based numerical models (i.e. climate models) to study how perturbations to the earth system influence weather and climate events. The insights from this work can be used to better understand the role of climate and weather in shaping societies and ecosystems in the past, and to prepare for climate-related impacts in the future.


  • Ph D: Environmental Earth System Science, (2014), Stanford University
  • BS: Atmospheric Science, (2008), Cornell University

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Turner Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014) - University of Michigan
  • Graduate Student Award for Scholarly and Research Achievement (2013) - Stanford University
  • Centennial Teaching Assistant Award (2011) - Stanford University

Selected Publications

  • Thompson, A.J., Skinner, C.B., Poulsen, C.J., Zhu, J. (2019). Modulation of mid‐Holocene African rainfall by dust aerosol direct and indirect effects. Geophysical Research Letters, 46.
  • Skinner, C.B., Poulsen, C.J., Mankin, J.S. (2018). Amplification of heat extremes by plant CO2 physiological forcing. Nature Communications, 9(1).
  • Webb, M.J., Andrews, T., Bodas-Salcedo, A., Bony, S., Bretherton, C.S., Chadwick, R., Chepfer, H., Douville, H., Good, P., Kay, J.E., Klein, S.A., Marchand, R., Medeiros, B., Siebesma, A.P., Skinner, C.B., Stevens, B., Tselioudis, G., Tsushima, Y., Watanabe, M. (2017). The Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project (CFMIP) contribution to CMIP6. Geoscientific Model Development, 10(1) 359--384.
  • Chadwick, R., Douville, H., Skinner, C.B. (2017). Timeslice experiments for understanding regional climate projections: applications to the tropical hydrological cycle and European winter circulation. Climate Dynamics, 49(9-10) 3011-3029.
  • Skinner, C.B., Poulsen, C.J., Chadwick, R., Diffenbaugh, N.S., Fiorella, R.P. (2017). The Role of Plant CO2 Physiological Forcing in Shaping Future Daily-Scale Precipitation. Journal of Climate, 30(7) 2319-2340.
  • Skinner, C.B., Poulsen, C.J. (2016). The role of fall season tropical plumes in enhancing Saharan rainfall during the African Humid Period. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(1) 349-358.
  • Horton, D.E., Skinner, C.B., Singh, D., Diffenbaugh, N.S. (2014). Occurrence and persistence of future atmospheric stagnation events (4:8 pp. 698-703). Nature Climate Change
  • Skinner, C.B., Diffenbaugh, N.S. (2014). Projected changes in African easterly wave intensity and track in response to greenhouse forcing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(19) 6882--6887.
  • Skinner, C.B., Diffenbaugh, N.S. (2013). The contribution of African easterly waves to monsoon precipitation in the CMIP3 ensemble. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118(9) 3590-3609.
  • Skinner, C.B., Ashfaq, M., Diffenbaugh, N.S. (2012). Influence of Twenty-First-Century Atmospheric and Sea Surface Temperature Forcing on West African Climate. Journal of Climate, 25(2) 527-542.
  • Ashfaq, M., Skinner, C.B., Diffenbaugh, N.S. (2011). Influence of SST biases on future climate change projections. Climate Dynamics, 36(7-8) 1303-1319.
  • Skinner, C.B., DeGaetano, A.T., Chabot, B.F. (2010). Implications of twenty-first century climate change on Northeastern United States maple syrup production: impacts and adaptations. Climatic Change, (3-4) 685.

Selected Presentations

  • The impact of CO2-driven vegetation changes on wildfire risk - 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 2017 - San Francisco, California
  • The role of plants in shaping climate - Northwestern University, October 2017 - Evanston, IL
  • Amplification of heat extremes by CO2 physiological forcing - 2017 American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, January 2017 - Seattle, Washington
  • A process-based understanding of regional climate responses to CO2 forcing - CFMIP Meeting on Cloud Processes and Climate Feedbacks, June 2015 - Monterey, California
  • Response of regional climate to global forcing: The role of synoptic-scale weather systems in shaping climate change over West Africa - Turner Lecture Series, February 2014 - Ann Arbor, MI
  • African easterly waves in CMIP5: Response to enhanced radiative forcing and implications for Atlantic tropical cyclone activity - 4th International Summit on Hurricanes and Climate Change, June 2013 - Kos, Greece

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Collaborative Research -- Elucidating the drivers and consequences of changes in atmospheric rivers from the last glacial maximum to the present day (2019), Grant - National Science Foundation
    Skinner, C.B. (Principal)