MIT EAPS Directory

Kerry A. Emanuel

Professor Emeritus

Kerry Emanuel is a prominent meteorologist and climate scientist who specializes in moist convection in the atmosphere, and tropical cyclones. His research interests focus on tropical meteorology and climate, with a specialty in hurricane physics. His interests also include cumulus convection, the role of clouds, water vapor, and upper-ocean mixing in regulation of climate, and advanced methods of sampling the atmosphere in aid of numerical weather prediction.

Emanuel received an S.B. degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences and a Ph.D. in Meteorology (1978) both from MIT. After completing his doctorate, he joined the faculty of the Atmospheric Sciences department of the University of California at Los Angeles where he remained for three years, with a brief hiatus filming tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas.

In 1981 he joined the faculty of the Department of Meteorology at MIT and was promoted to Full Professor in 1987 in what had since becomes the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). In 1989 he assumed directorship of EAPS Center for Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, a post he held until 1997. Subsequently he chaired the EAPS Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate from 2009 to 2012. He is co-founder of the MIT Lorenz Center, a climate think tank which fosters creative approaches to learning how climate works.

Professor Emanuel is the author or co-author of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and three books, including Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes, published by Oxford University Press, and What We Know about Climate Change, published by the MIT Press.



For a complete, up-to-date list of publications, see here

Sroka, S., and K. Emanuel, 2022: Sensitivity of sea-surface enthalpy and momentum fluxes to sea spray microphysicsJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans127, e2021JC017774,

Zhu, L., K. Emanuel, and S. M. Quiring, 2021: Elevated risk of tropical cyclone precipitation and pluvial flood in Houston under global warmingEnvironmental Research Letters16, 094030,

Lin, J., and K. Emanuel, 2021: On the effect of surface friction and upward radiation of energy on equatorial waves. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences

Emanuel, K., 2021: Nuclear fear: The irrational obstacle to real climate actionBull. Atomic Scien., 77, 285–289,

Studholme, J., A. V. Fedorov, S. K. Gulev, K. Emanuel, and K. Hodges, 2021: Poleward expansion of tropical cyclone latitudes in warming climatesNature Geoscience, 1–15,

Emanuel, K., 2021: Atlantic tropical cyclones downscaled from climate reanalyses show increasing activity over past 150 yearsNature Communications12, 7027,

Rousseau-Rizzi, R., and K. Emanuel, 2021: A Weak Temperature Gradient Framework to Quantify the Causes of Potential Intensity Variability in the Tropics. Journal of Climate, 1–48,

Emanuel, K., 2021: Response of global tropical cyclone activity to increasing CO2 : Results from downscaling CMIP6 modelsJ. Climate, 34, 57-70, doi:10.1175/jcli-d-20-0367.1

Chang, D., S. Amin, and K. Emanuel, 2020: Modeling and parameter estimation of hurricane wind fields with asymmetryJ. App. Meteor. Clim., 59, 687-705, doi:10.1175/jamc-d-19-0126.1

Marsooli, R., N. Lin, K. Emanuel, and K. Feng, 2019: Climate change exacerbates hurricane flood hazards along us Atlantic and gulf coasts in spatially varying patternsNat Commun10, 3785, doi:10.1038/s41467-019-11755-z. Supplementary information

Tao, D., K. Emanuel, F. Zhang, R. Rotunno, M. M. Bell, and R. G. Nystrom, 2019: Evaluation of the assumptions in the steady-state tropical cyclone self-stratified outflow using three-dimensional convection-allowing simulations. J. Atmos. Sci., 76, 2995-3009, doi:10.1175/jas-d-19-0033.1

Google Scholar Profile


Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017) | Heritage Award, Deerfield Academy (2012) | Honorary Doctorate, Augsburg College (2009) | Member, National Academy of Sciences (2007) | The David B. Stone Medal, New England Aquarium (2007) | Bernhard Haurwitz Memorial Lecturer, American Meteorological Society (2007) | Louis J. Battan Author’s Award, American Meteorological Society (2007) | The Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, American Meteorological Society (2007) | Fellow, American Meteorological Society (1995) | The Banner I. Miller Award (with Richard Rotunno), American Meteorological Society (1992) | The Meisinger Award, American Meteorological Society (1986)