Joellen Russell's work on the westerly winds led to the creation of a new paradigm in climate science, namely that warmer climates produce stronger westerly winds. This insight solved one of the long-standing climate paradoxes, the mechanism responsible for transferring one-third of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into the ocean and then back out again during our repeated glacial-interglacial cycles.
Dr. Russell joined the faculty in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona in 2006. She uses climate models and supercomputers like those at the new UA Research Data Center to simulate the earth system in the future, the present and the past. Prof. Russell was named a University of Arizona 1885 Society Distinguished Scholar in 2014 and won the UA Provost’s Teaching Award in 2010. Joellen Russell received her bachelor's degree at Harvard University in Environmental Geoscience and earned her Ph.D. at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD in Oceanography. Before joining the faculty in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona in 2006, she worked at Princeton University at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory during the intensive preparations for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment.