Chris Bretherton

Professor Emeritus


Professor Bretherton received his doctorate in Mathematics in 1984 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in 1985 joined the UW Department of Applied Mathematics. Since 1988 he has been jointly appointed with the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. Prof. Bretherton studies cloud formation and turbulence and improves how they are simulated in global climate and weather forecast models. His research includes participating in field experiments and observational analyses, three-dimensional modeling of fluid flow in and around fields of clouds, and understanding how clouds will respond to and feed back on climate change. Computer code developed by his research group for simulating the effects of subgrid cumulus cloud formation is used in the two leading US climate models. He was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report in 2013, Chair of a 2012 National Academy report entitled A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling, and a former director of the University of Washington Program on Climate Change. In 2012, he received the Jule G. Charney Award, one of the two highest career awards of the American Meteorological Society. He is also a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union.