Dr. De-Zheng Sun: Climate Dynamicist


Dr. De-Zheng Sun 's research aims to understand the stability of the climate system under anthropogenic forcing, addressing questions such as whether we will have stronger and more frequent El Niño events1, or whether the whole planet may undergo a Venus-style, run-away instability in response to anthropogenic forcing2. Dr. Sun approaches these questions through the use of a hierarchy of mathematical models for the climate system3.

Dr. Sun received his Ph.D. in Meteorology from MIT and has worked in leading climate modeling centers including the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) at Princeton, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and through the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) at Boulder. He taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in the area of global change science in University of Colorado at Boulder, and has won many grant awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Among the many original contributions to the advancement of climate science by Dr. Sun and his collaborators are (1) the ocean thermostat theory for the regulation of the tropical maximum SST, (2) the diabatic and nonlinear origin of El Niño, and (3) rectification of ENSO into the mean state as a mechanism for climate variability on the decadal and longer time-scales. Dr. Sun has published his work in Science, J. Climate, and many other prominent journals.

Dr. Sun is a Senior Research Scientist within the career track of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder. He is also a member of the research faculty of Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC), University of Colorado at Boulder.

Research Interests

Teaching Interests

Courses taught in University of Colorado

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Curriculum Vitae



Office: N242, SEEC, 4001 Discovery Dr., Boulder, CO 80303. Tel: 303-735-2032; Fax: 303-492-3524; Email: dezheng.sun@colorado.edu