Mark Cane


105B Oceanography
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Palisades, NY 10964

Tel(845) 365-8344

Emeritus Professor Mark Cane is a leading climatologist whose models help forecast extreme weather events.

Research Interests

Climate dynamics, physical oceanography, geophysical fluid dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, impacts of climate on society, El Niño forecasting

Cane studies the impact of human-induced climate change and natural climate variability on people around the world, with a focus on agriculture and health. He is widely recognized for developing the Zebiak-Cane model with former student, now colleague at Lamont Doherty, Steve Zebiak. The model predicted the movement of warm water across the tropical Pacific Ocean in a cyclical phenomena known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. This model was the first to successfully forecast El Niño in 1985. It has since become the primary tool used by researchers to better understand ENSO.

Cane’s additional research interests include tropical oceanography, climate modeling, and data analysis methodology. A distinguished scholar and researcher, he held multiple appointments at Columbia. In addition to his professorship at the Engineering School, he is G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Emeritus. He also founded and directed the master’s program in Climate and Society.

Cane received his AB and MS in applied mathematics from Harvard in 1965 and 1966, respectively. In 1974, he attended the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Program at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and obtained his PhD in meteorology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975. He first began teaching at Columbia in 1976 in geology and joined the Columbia Engineering faculty in 1984. The recipient of many honors, Cane was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Professional Experience

  • G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Dept. of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, 1998
  • Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, 1997-1998
  • Doherty Senior Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, 1987-1997
  • Adjunct Associate Professor & Adjunct Professor, Columbia University, 1984-1997
  • Sr. Research Scientist, L-DGO, 1984-1987
  • Visiting Scientist, University of Paris VI, 1984
  • Assistant and Associate Professor, MIT (Dept. of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography),1979-1984
  • Visiting Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Meteorology Dept.), 1977-1979
  • Staff Scientist, Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences, 1978-1979
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Geology, Columbia University, 1976-1977
  • Senior Analyst, Goddard Space Flight Center (Sigma Data Services Corp.), 1976-1978
  • NAS/NRC Research Associate, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 1975-1976
  • Assistant Professor, Mathematics, New England College, 1970-1972
  • Senior Programmer Analyst, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Computer Appl. Inc.), 1966-1970 

Professional Affilliations

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • The New York Academy of Sciences
  • Oceanography Society

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, The Oceanography Society, 2015
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, 2013
  • Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International Award from the World Meteorological Organization, 2009 Maurice Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union, 2013
  • Award California Department of Water Resources – Climate Science paper award, 2007
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters Most Cited Paper 2004-2007
  • Bronze Award for Magazines Feature Article, 25,001 to 100,000 to “American Scientist “Ethnoclimatology in the Andes,” 2003
  • Cody Award in Ocean Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2003
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2002
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 1995
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1995
  • Fellow, American Meteorological Society, 1993
  • Sverdrup Medal of the American Meteorological Society, 1992
  • National Science Foundation Creativity Award 1984-1986
  • Honorary John Harvard Scholarships, 1962-1965
  • NSF Traineeship
  • A.B. magna cum laude
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Selected Publications

  • Anderson, W. A., R Seager, W. Baethgen and M.A. Cane, 2016: Life cycles of agriculturally-relevant ENSO teleconnections in North and South America. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol: submitted.
  • Bellomo, K., A. C. Clement, L. N. Murphy, L. M. Polvani and M. A. Cane, 2016: New observational evidence for a positive cloud feedback that amplifies the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Geophysical Research Letters43(18): 9852-9859.
  • Chen, C., M. A. Cane, N. Henderson, D. E. Lee, D. Chapman, D. Kondrashov and M. D. Chekroun, 2016: Diversity, Nonlinearity, Seasonality, and Memory Effect in ENSO Simulation and Prediction Using Empirical Model Reduction. Journal of Climate29(5): 1809-1830.
  • Lee, D. E., D. Chapman, N. Henderson, C. Chen and M. A. Cane, 2016: Multilevel vector autoregressive prediction of sea surface temperature in the North Tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Climate Dynamics47(1-2): 95-106.
  • Ramesh, N., M.A. Cane and R. Seager, 2016: Predictability and prediction of persistent cool states of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Clim. Dyn.: DOI 10.1007/s00382-016-3446-3.