Mark Zelinka

Staff Scientist
Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division
Phone: +19254235146


  • Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2010
  • M.Sc., Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2007
  • B.S., Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 2004

Research Interests

I am an atmospheric scientist who researches climate change. I am interested in how much global warming we should expect from increasing greenhouse gases. This inevitably leads to the study of clouds, which cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back to space and warm the planet by reducing the infrared radiation emitted to space. How the balance of these competing effects changes as the planet warms (known collectively as the ‘cloud feedback’) largely determines how much warming accompanies increasing greenhouse gases. I use theory, observations, and global climate models to investigate these challenging questions.

Personal Website

Honors and Awards

  • LLNL Outstanding Mentor Award, 2018
  • LLNL Early and Mid-Career Recognition Program Award, 2018
  • Eos Research Spotlight for Zhou et al. (2017)
  • Diablo Magazine 40 Under 40, 2017
  • LLNL Physical and Life Sciences Directorate Spot Award for Excellence in Publications, 2017
  • LLNL Physical and Life Sciences Directorate Award for Excellence in Publication for Zhou et al. (2016)
  • LLNL Physical and Life Sciences Directorate Award for Excellence in Publication for Norris et al. (2016)
  • Nature Climate Change Research Highlight for Zhou et al. (2016)
  • Eos Research Spotlight for Zelinka et al. (2016)
  • 2016 LLNL Deputy Director for Science and Technology Excellence in Publication Award for Santer et al. (2015)
  • Eos Research Spotlight for McCoy et al. (2016)
  • LLNL Spot Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Climate Science”, 2015
  • Award recipient, NASA New Investigator Program in Earth Science, 2013
  • Editors’ Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for J. of Geophys. Res., 2012
  • AGU Journal Highlight for Zelinka and Hartmann (2010)

First Authored Publications

  • Zelinka, M. D., T. A. Myers, D. T. McCoy, S. Po-Chedley, P. M. Caldwell, P. Ceppi, S. A. Klein, and K. E. Taylor, 2020: Causes of higher climate sensitivity in CMIP6 models, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2019GL085782.
  • Zelinka, M. D., K. M. Grise, S. A. Klein, C. Zhou, A. M. DeAngelis, and M. W. Christensen, 2018: Drivers of the Low Cloud Response to Poleward Jet Shifts in the North Pacific in Observations and Models, J. Climate, 31, 7925-7947, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0114.1.
  • Zelinka M. D., D. A. Randall, M. J. Webb, and S. A. Klein, 2017: Clearing clouds of uncertainty, Nature Clim. Change 7, 674–678, doi:10.1038/nclimate3402.
  • Zelinka, M. D., C. Zhou, and S. A. Klein, 2016: Insights from a Refined Decomposition of Cloud Feedbacks, Geophys. Res. Lett. 43,9259–9269, doi:10.1002/2016GL069917.
  • Zelinka, M. D., T. Andrews, P. M. Forster, and K. E. Taylor, 2014: Quantifying Components of Aerosol-Cloud-Radiation Interactions in Climate Models, J. Geophys. Res., 119, 7599–7615, doi:10.1002/2014JD021710.
  • Zelinka, M.D., S.A. Klein, K.E. Taylor, T. Andrews, M.J. Webb, J.M. Gregory, and P.M. Forster, 2013: Contributions of Different Cloud Types to Feedbacks and Rapid Adjustments in CMIP5. J. Climate, 26, 5007–5027, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00555.1.
  • Zelinka, M. D., S. A. Klein, and D. L. Hartmann, 2012: Computing and Partitioning Cloud Feedbacks Using Cloud Property Histograms. Part I: Cloud Radiative Kernels. J. Climate, 25, 3715–3735, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00248.1.
  • Zelinka, M. D., S. A. Klein, and D. L. Hartmann, 2012: Computing and Partitioning Cloud Feedbacks Using Cloud Property Histograms. Part II: Attribution to Changes in Cloud Amount, Altitude, and Optical Depth. J. Climate, 25, 3736–3754, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00249.1.
  • Zelinka, M.D. and D.L. Hartmann, 2012: Climate Feedbacks and their Implications for Poleward Energy Flux Changes in a Warming Climate. J. Climate, 25, 608–624, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00096.1.
  • Zelinka, M.D. and D.L. Hartmann, 2011: The Observed Sensitivity of High Clouds to Mean Surface Temperature Anomalies in the Tropics. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D23103, doi:10.1029/2011JD016459.
  • Zelinka, M.D. and D.L. Hartmann, 2010: Why is Longwave Cloud Feedback Positive? J. Geophys. Res. 115, D16117, doi:10.1029/2010JD013817.
  • Zelinka, M.D. and D.L. Hartmann, 2009: Response of Humidity and Clouds to Tropical Deep Convection. J. Climate 22, 2389–2404, doi:10.1175/2008JCLI2452.1.

Complete List of Publications

Google Scholar Profile

Professional Activities, Service, & Leadership Roles

  • Contributing Author for IPCC 6th Assessment Report, 2019
  • LLNL Physical and Life Sciences Postdoc Committee, Sep 2017 – present
  • PCMDI Leader Search Committee, Feb 2017 – June 2018
  • Section Editor for Current Climate Change Reports Topical Collection on Climate Feedbacks, 2014 – 2017.
  • Contributor to Climate Feedback, a worldwide network of scientists who collectively assess the credibility of influential climate change media coverage.
  • Participant, DOE Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee Grand Challenges II Workshop, 2017
  • Co-convener, Climate Sensitivity and Feedbacks: Advances and New Paradigms Session, 2013 – 2016 AGU Fall Meetings
  • Discussion Leader, Cloud Feedbacks Session, 2013 Gordon Research Seminar on Radiation and Climate
  • Co-convener, Atmospheric Feedbacks and Climate Change: Observations, Theory, and Modeling Session, 2012 AGU Fall Meeting
  • Chair, 2011 Gordon Research Seminar on Radiation and Climate
  • Organizer, University of Washington Graduate Climate Conferences, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010
  • Senator, University of Washington Graduate and Professional Student Senate, Sep 2006 – Jun 2009
  • Member, American Meteorological Society, 2003 – Present
  • Member, American Geophysical Union, 2005 – Present
  • Proposal reviewer for DOE, European Research Council, NASA, and NSF
  • Reviewer for Atmosphere-Ocean | Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Atmospheric Measurement Techniques | Climate Dynamics | Climatic Change | Environmental Research Letters | Geophysical Research Letters | Geoscientific Model Development | Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems | Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology | Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences | Journal of Climate | Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres | Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan | Nature | Nature Climate Change | Nature Communications | Nature Geoscience | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences | Surveys in Geophysics

Recent Invited Talks

  • University of Washington Program on Climate Change Summer Institute, 13 Sep 2018
  • CERES Science Team Meeting, 16 May 2018
  • University of Washington Program on Climate Change Mini-Symposium on “Using past observations to constrain future climate variability and change”, 8 Feb 2018
  • Texas A&M University Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences Seminar, 25 Oct 2017
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Department of Climate Sciences Seminar, 31 October 2016
  • Joint US-Japan Workshop on Climate Change and Variability, 22 March 2016
  • UC Berkeley Atmospheric Science Center Seminar, 2 March 2016
  • Gordon Research Conference on Radiation and Climate, 28 July 2015
  • WCRP Grand Challenge Workshop: Earth’s Climate Sensitivities, 26 Mar 2015