James Rising

James Rising.jpg

James Rising is an interdisciplinary modeler, studying the feedback between environmental and human systems, and focusing on the impacts of climate change and the water-energy-food nexus.  Dr. Rising draws upon analytical and empirical approaches from multiple fields and develops computational and statistical models to understand integrated global challenges.  Prior to joining the University of Chicago, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Energy & Resources Group at UC Berkeley after receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia University's program in Sustainable Development.  He previously taught within MIT's Experimental Study Group and at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. Until recently, he worked as a software developer, working with over a dozen companies on audio and video processing, social networks, and artificial intelligence.



Matz Haugen

Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Statistics

University of Chicago

I currently do research on extreme event characterization, modeling and forecasting using geological data like climate models and observations. For example, are days of extreme temperatures getting more frequent? Or is the annual temperature profile more variable with the current post-industrial climate forcings compared to the pre-industrial era? To answer these questions I look at climate model output, e.g. Global Circulation Models, using different starting conditions and see how their behavior changes statistically.

Related to this is also the desire to incorporate a more statistical framework with the current deterministic climate models. This involves for example adaptive grid sizes and time steps dependent on desired spatio-temporal resolution.

Chen Chen

Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago

Chen received her PhD in Climatology from the department of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University, and is currently involved at the Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy at Computation Institute, as well as the research network of statistical methods for atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

Her research interests include climate variabilities and impacts, climate change sensitivity, modeling and diagnostics, predictability and forecast, geophysical fluid dynamics (rotating horizontal convection).

Jiali Wang


Postdoctoral appointee, Climate & Atmospheric Science Department, Argonne National Laboratory




Jiali received her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2012.

Her capabilities include: downscaling of climate models to regional and local scales; big data analysis; regional modeling of atmospheric physics and extreme climate/weather events; evaluation of model performance by applying statistical technologies; assessment of urban climate impacts.

Delphine Deryng

Postdoctoral Scholar, Computation Institute, University of Chicago

Adjunct Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies & Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research


Areas of Expertise:

  • Agricultural systems and climate change
  • Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability
  • The water-energy-food nexus
  • Modeling uncertainty and robust decision making

Delphine Deryng's research deals with global environmental change issues with a particular interest in agricultural systems and implications for food security. She develops and uses process-based crop modeling tools to explore the interaction between climate, crops and land use decision. She conducts multiple research activities as part of the AgMIP Global Gridded Crop Model Intercomparison (GGCMI) initiative exploring the role of extreme weather events on global crop yield and better understanding the effects of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on crop water productivity. In addition, she currently leads the first Regional Gridded Crop Modeling Activity (RGCMA) to assess the potential impacts of irrigated crop production on ground water resources in India under climate change using an ensemble of gridded models and regional climate and agricultural datasets.

Prior joining RDCEP, Delphine worked on southern Africa’s hydro-economy and water security as a Research Associate at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics (2014-2015).

Delphine holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia (2014) and a Masters in Geography from McGill University (2009). She joined the Computation Institute in November 2015.

Research Projects

AgGRID | InterSectoral Impacts Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (ISI-MIP) | The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) | The Global Gridded Crop Model Intercomparison

Selected Publications

  • Deryng D, Elliott J et al. (in review, submitted to Nature Climate Change) “Regional disparities in the beneficial effects of rising CO2 emissions on crop water productivity”
  • Conway D, Archer E, Deryng D et al. (2015) “Climate and Southern Africa’s water-energy-food nexus”, Nature Climate Change 5, 837–846 (2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2735
  • Deryng D (2014) “Climate change impacts on crop productivity in global semi-arid areas and selected semi-arid economies”, working paper, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London
  • Deryng D, Conway D, Ramankutty N et al. (2014) “Global crop yield response to extreme heat stress under multiple climate change futures”, Environmental Research Letters, 9, 034011, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/3/034011
  • Rosenzweig C, Elliott J, Deryng D et al. (2014) “Assessing agricultural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(9), pp.3268–3273. doi:10.1073/pnas.1222463110
  • Elliott J, Deryng D et al. (2014) “Constraints and potentials of future irrigation water availability on agricultural production under climate change”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(9), pp.3239–3244. doi:10.1073/pnas.1222474110
  • Deryng D, Sacks, WJ, Barford CC, and Ramankutty N (2011) “Simulating the effects of climate and land management practices on global crop yield”, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 25(2), doi:10.1029/2009GB003765



Shanshan Sun

Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago

Sun’s current research focuses on studying the transient climate behaviors and the physical mechanisms governing them using both state-of-the-art General Circulation Models (GCMs) and one-column models which are computationally efficient. She also maintains and helps build the library of transient climates from GCM outputs.

Sun received her PhD from University of Connecticut in 2012.

Research Interests:

  • Transient climate evolutions and its potential causes
  • Land-atmosphere interaction
  • Ocean-atmosphere interaction and its impacts on land-atmosphere interaction
  • Dynamic vegetation’s role in the climate system

Research Projects:

Soil Moisture | Climate Variability: statistics and observation based simulations | Shadowing | Climate variability: effect of model spatial resolution