Research in the McKinnon group sits at the nexus of climate science and statistics. We are interested in questions that span the weather-climate divide, shed light on the interactions between natural variability and human-caused climate change, and link to downstream human and biological impacts.

  • 📌 Interested in joining the McKinnon group? Head over to the Group page and scroll down to read about opportunities and openings.
  • May 2023: Congratulations to Hannah Myint for being awarded the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center Natural Resources Workforce Development Fellowship!
  • April 2023: Hannah Myint was selected for the UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Program to support her research on climate and wildfire.
  • February 2023: Group alum Sam Baugh will be joining the Penn State Statistics Department as an assistant professor in the fall. Congratulations, Sam!
  • December 2022: Congratulations to Hannah Myint for being awarded the UCLA IoES John Fellowship!
  • September 2022: A busy month for papers out of the McKinnon group! Check out Kong et al., JClim to learn about land surface controls on temperature variability, Horowitz et al., JClim to learn about the role of the land and atmosphere for US heat waves, Baugh and McKinnon, Annals of Applied Statistics to learn about statistical models for ocean heat content, and McKinnon and Simpson, GRL to learn about the probability of the record-breaking 2021 Pacific Northwest heat wave. PDFs of all papers are available on the Publications page.
  • May 2022: Congratulations to Dr. Samuel Baugh for successfully defending his dissertation! In August, Sam will begin a post-doc in the CASCADE group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, working on advancing methods in detection and attribution.
  • January 2022: Congratulations to PhD candidate Sam Baugh for the acceptance of his first PhD paper, Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling of Ocean Heat Content and Its Uncertainty (preprint here), in Annals of Applied Statistics, AND for being awarded the NSF Post-doctoral Fellowship in Statistics!
  • December 2021: Professor Karen McKinnon is now jointly appointed with the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences!
  • October 2021: Professor Karen McKinnon was selected as a 2021 Packard Fellow for Science and Engineering. Read more from UCLA here, and about all the Packard Fellows here.
  • September 2021: Welcome to Dr. Suqin Duan, the newest member of the McKinnon group! Suqin is joining our NSF-funded project on the land surface and atmospheric contribution to daily temperature variability and extremes.
  • August 2021: Congratulations to post-doc Wenwen Kong on being awarded an Institute for Digital Research and Education Postdoctoral Fellowship in recognition of her work that features "innovative and computationally based solutions to research problems with a potentially broad impact to the campus".
  • June 2021: Professor Karen McKinnon was selected as a UCLA Hellman Fellow to support new work on marine heat waves.
  • June 2021: Our new paper, Hot extremes have become drier in the United States Southwest, is out. We find that summertime specific humidity has been decreasing over the past seven decades in the semi-arid Southwest, particularly on the hottest days, which is bad news for fire risk. Coverage in the New York Times and LA Times.
  • June 2021: Congratulations to Sam Baugh for being awarded a Dissertation Year Fellowship and a Summer Mentored Research Fellowship to support the last year+ of his PhD research! Sam's research is on developing spatial models for climate data, including ocean heat content. Find out more at his website.
  • March 2021: Congratulations to Russell Horowitz for completing his masters thesis, Circulation and Soil Moisture Contributions to United States Heatwaves!
  • October 2020: Welcome to Dr. Wenwen Kong, the newest member of the McKinnon group! Wenwen joins us as an NSF-funded postdoctoral scholar, and will be working on understanding the role of the land surface in influencing temperature variability and extremes.
  • May 2020: New paper roundup! McKinnon and Poppick develop a method to quantify changes in daily temperature-humidity relationships; Deser and the Large Ensemble Working Group present a perspective on the utility of large climate model ensembles; and Elsworth et al. apply the Observational Large Ensemble methodology to ocean chlorophyll concentrations.
  • January 2020: Professor Karen McKinnon is awarded an NSF grant through the Climate and Large Scale Dynamics division, "The factors governing daily near-surface air temperature variability over land". See grant information here.
  • November 2019: Statistics graduate student Sam Baugh passes his qualifying exams, and advances to candidacy. Congratulations Sam!
  • June 2019: Undergraduate Chris Reed wins the Glickfeld Excellence in Environmental Research Award to support his senior thesis research on the sensitivity of California crops to climate variability. Congratulations Chris!

Group news