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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 environment and energy. 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, National Academy of Sciences, Microsoft AI, Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab, Rice University Creative Ventures, and Rice Houston Engagement and Recovery Effort.

See available positions for the new postdoc and Ph.D. openings in our group

Recent News:

  • September 2018: Prof. Hassanzadeh has been named a 2018 Early-Career Research Fellow of the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This award will support our work on extreme weather events such as hurricanes in the Gulf region.
  • September 2018: Prof. Hassanzadeh is a Co-I of a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research program, CLEVER Planets, which was just awarded a 5-year grant from NASA’s interdisciplinary Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS). We will be looking at many different recipes nature might follow to produce rocky planets capable of supporting life. Our group will be focusing on developing a hierarchy of climate models to understand the dynamics and thermodynamics of the climate systems of rocky planets during their early evolution.
  • September 2018: Prof. Hassanzadeh spoke at the IUTAM: Stochastic approaches to understanding transitions in Fluid Flows at Cornell University about Predicting short-term evolution and long-term response of geophysical turbulence.
  • September 2018: Professor Themis Sapsis from MIT visited our group and gave a talk about prediction and statistical quantification of extreme events in complex dynamical systems and turbulence at MECH.
  • July 2018: Our paper Data-driven reduced of turbulent Rayleigh–Bénard convection using DMD-enhanced fluctuation–dissipation theorem (Journal of Fluid Mechanics) is now online. In this paper, which was led by Amin Khodkar (postdoc), we introduce a reduced modeling technique based on using fluctuation–dissipation theorem (FDT), a method from statistical physics, in the space of a limited number of modes obtained from dynamic mode decomposition (DMD) in order to improve the FDT performance for high-dimensional turbulent system, such as the 3D Rayleigh-Benard convection system used as test case in this study.
  • June 2018: Paper A barotropic mechanism for the response of jet stream variability to Arctic Amplification and sea ice loss (Journal of Climate) is now online. In this paper, which was lead by Bryn Ronalds and Professor Libby Barnes at Colorado State University, we study the dynamical connection between changes in the variability and width of the eddy-driven jet in a hierarchy of models. The results have implications for the response of the extratropical circulation to sea ice loss and Arctic warming.
  • 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 our group and gave a talk about turbulence and reduced-order modeling at MECH.
  • January 2018: Professor Da Yang from UC Davis/LBNL visited 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.