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Picture of Catherine Pomposi

Catherine Pomposi, Ph.D.

Catherine Pomposi is interested in how scientific findings can serve society and the role that scientists can play in the policy-making sphere.


      • A Congressional Science Fellow in the United States Senate


      • United States Senate, Office of Kamala Harris
      • University of California, Santa Barbara


I am an interdisciplinary climate scientist broadly interested in regional earth system variability, the hydrologic cycle, and how people interact with, and are impacted by, the climate system. I am also interested in how scientific findings can serve society and the role that scientists can play in the policy-making sphere. I am currently a Congressional Science Fellow serving in the United States Senate sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science/American Meteorological Society.

I earned my PhD in 2017 from Columbia University in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. I worked closely with colleagues in the Ocean and Climate Physics division at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. My dissertation research aimed to better understand past and future hydrologic changes in the Sahel region of Africa using a blending of observational, reanalysis, and model data. I then completed a postdoctoral research fellowship under the PACE (Postdocs Applying Climate Expertise) program of UCAR CPAESS. I worked with the Climate Hazards Group at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) to complete work on understanding precipitation variability and drought occurrence throughout Africa in support of the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET).

​In addition to my research interests, I am also passionate about science education and outreach and I was an active mentor of the New York Academy of Science’s STEM Mentoring Program as well as the Citizen Schools Mentoring Program while I was in graduate school. I am currently an active member of my local pod of 500 Women Scientists and am working to encourage and promote access to STEM education and mentorship opportunities to traditionally under-represented groups in STEM fields. I’ve also participated in a number of climate services workshops in the Sahel where climate information was communicated in order to help build resiliency to then-current conditions.


Pomposi, C., A. Giannini, Y. Kushnir, and D.E. Lee. “Understanding Pacific Ocean Influence on interannual precipitation variability in the Sahel”. GRL, 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL069980. 2016.

Pomposi, C., Y. Kushnir, & A. Giannini. “Moisture budget analysis of SST-driven decadal Sahel precipitation variability in the twentieth century”. Climate Dynamics, 44 (11), 3303-3321. doi:10.1007/s00382-014-2382-3. 2015.



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