We study fluid dynamics and heat transfer in complex natural phenomena and engineering systems using numerical, mathematical, and statistical models, guided by observational and experimental data. Our work is often motivated by theoretical and applied problems related to energy and the environment. Examples of problems of interest are environmental and geophysical flows, reduced-order modeling, extreme weather events, atmospheric turbulence, climate modeling, flow control in energy systems, and numerical and mathematical modeling of thermo-fluid processes. Our research is currently supported by NASA, NSF, Rice University Creative Ventures, and Rice Houston Engagement and Recovery Effort.

Recent News:

  • May 2018: Work of Andy Corbato, an undergraduate researcher in our group, has been featured in a news story by the Rice School of Engineering. Andy is using computation, math, and fluid physics to find optimal flow patterns in a popular model of turbulent natural convection, the Rayleigh-Benard system.
  • March 2018: Professor Clancy Rowley from Princeton visited Rice and our group and gave a talk about turbulence and reduced-order modeling at MECH.
  • January 2018: Professor Da Yang from UC Davis/LBNL visited Rice and our group and gave a talk about ITCZ and self-aggregation at EEPS.
  • January 2018: Congratulations to Ashesh Chattopadhyay (first-year PhD student) for receiving the 2017-2018 BP Graduate Fellowship from the Ken Kennedy Institute Information Technology. Ashesh’s research involves using model reduction and machine learning techniques for turbulent flows in the atmosphere to understand climate variability and some types of weather extremes.
  • December 2017: Our proposal “Effect of Climate Change on Future Harvey-like Hurricanes and the Implications for Houston” has been awarded funding by the Rice Houston Engagement and Recovery Effort. Working with Professors Phil Bedient (CEVE and SSPEED Center), Dan Cohan (CEVE), and Laurence Yeung (EEPS),  we will use the projections of future jet stream’s wind, sea-surface temperature, and sea level as input in the hurricane track and surge models to produce the first-ever quantitative estimates of the potential impact of climate change on flooding, storm surge, and air pollution in Houston.
  • September 2017: Our paper Persistent anomalies of the extratropical Northern Hemisphere wintertime circulation as an initiator of El Niño/Southern Oscillation events is now available online. In this paper, we show that the frequency of persistent extratropical low-pressure weather systems during a given winter serves as a key modulator of intraseasonal variability in extratropical North Pacific circulations and the state of the equatorial Pacific 9–12 months later.
  • August 2017: Our grant proposal Understand predictability and improve prediction of atmospheric blocking and associated extreme weather has been funded by NASA for four years. We will work on understanding the (un)predictability and improving the forecast skills of persistent high-pressure weather systems, the so-called blocking events, that cause weather extremes such as heat waves, cold spells, and flooding events in the midlatitudes.
  • July 2017: Paper A Perspective on Climate Model Hierarchies (J. Advances in Modeling Earth Systems) is now available online. In this paper, we discuss hierarchical climate modeling and survey the various ways it is used to generate, test, and confirm hypotheses. We also address some of the pitfalls of contemporary climate modeling and offer suggestions for its continued fruitful development. In particular, we advocate for further model elegance.
  • June 2017: Paper Stability of three-dimensional Gaussian vortices in an unbounded, rotating, vertically stratified, Boussinesq flow: linear analysis (J. Fluid Mechanics) is now available online. In this paper, we report on the numerical linear stability analysis of a family of vortices that is a prototype for various geophysical and astrophysical vortices such as oceanic eddies.