Understanding and modeling
our changing planet


I am an Assistant Professor at UCLA, joint between the Department of Statistics and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Previously, I was an Applied Scientist at Descartes Labs in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico, and an Advanced Study Program post-doctoral fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research working with Clara Deser. I completed my PhD, advised by Peter Huybers, in 2015 in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department at Harvard University.

My research focuses on developing physical and statistical models for climate variability and change, with a particular interest in the weather-climate continuum. My most recent work is on the role of internal variability versus anthropogenic forcing in multidecadal climate trends, as well as changes in and causes of extreme temperature events.

News & Updates

4 December 2018: I'm heading to AGU in Washington, DC next week, and will be giving a talk on the Observational Large Ensemble on Wednesday at 11:20am in session GC32B. Looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues; let me know if you want to sit down and chat science.

1 November 2018: First day at UCLA!

29 August 2018: Check out the US CLIVAR Research Highlight on our Observational Large Ensemble papers.

1 June 2018: A couple new papers accepted regarding the influence of internal variability on climate signals. Check out McKinnon and Deser, Internal variability and regional climate trends in an Observational Large Ensemble to read about using statistical resampling methodologies to quantify the influence of internal variability on temperature and precipitation trends, and Deser et al., How well do we know ENSO’s climate impacts over North America, and how do we evaluate models accordingly? to read about the role of atmospheric internal variability in our estimates of the extratropical response to ENSO in both observations and models.

16 May 2017: Eastern United States heat wave predictions for 2018 are live! They are updated in realtime on the PEP predictions page.

16 April 2018: I'll be giving a special ClimaTea in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department at Harvard on April 16 on "Internal variability, uncertainty, and the Observational Large Ensemble". More information here.

18 January 2018: I'm excited to announce that I'll be the keynote speaker at the 10th Annual Women in Technology Celebration hosted by the New Mexico Technology Council. Join us on March 8 to celebrate women in tech across the state! Update: Please find the text of my speech here.

28 December 2017: Another paper, authored by myself and Clara Deser, submitted to Journal of Climate. We've extended the Observational Large Ensemble (OLENS) to the global land areas, all seasons, and temperature, precipitation, and sea level pressure. Read the submitted draft here. Output from OLENS is freely available here; please play with it and let me know what you discover!

15 November 2017: New paper, led by Clara Deser, submitted to Journal of Climate. Check out the submitted draft here to learn more about the contribution of internal variability to our understanding of the surface climate response to ENSO.

16 August 2017: Had a great time giving an AGU-style talk at the CESM tutorial in Boulder about the development and use of the "Observational Large Ensemble".

15 June 2017: New paper out in Journal of Climate that introduces the "Observational Large Ensemble" whose variability is constrained by the observations. The ensemble can be used to understand the contribution of "climate noise" to, e.g., variability in trends, as well as for model validation. Check it out! PDF, online