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Dr. Carleton is a Professor in Physical Geography, with specific research and teaching activities in Climatology. He is a graduate of the University of Adelaide (Australia), where he did both his Bachelor’s and Masters Degrees in Geography, and also the University of Colorado (Ph.D.). Dr. Carleton grew up in several British Commonwealth countries, including Canada, England, and Australia, before moving to the U.S. in 1978, which probably explains his accent! He was trained both by physical geographers and also meteorologists at Adelaide and Boulder, giving him a unique perspective on the study of climate. He has been at Penn State since 1994, and a (full) Professor since 1995. In addition to his appointment in Geography, Dr. Carleton is an active Faculty Associate with the EMS’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is the author of a monograph (Carleton, A.M., 1991. Satellite Remote Sensing in Climatology. Belhaven Press, London), and co-author of another (Barry, R.G. and Carleton, A.M., 2001. Synoptic and Dynamic Climatology. Routledge Publishing, London and New York). In addition, Dr. Carleton has authored a number of chapters in edited books on climatology, polar regions, and environmental science.
Dr. Carleton’s research interests cover the field of Climatology (now called Climate Science) and have involved publications in the following areas over the past 25 years or so: Antarctic meteorology and climatology; Extratropical cyclone climatologies; Climatology of the Southern Hemisphere; Climatology of the U.S. Southwest’s summer “monsoon”; Inter-annual (year-to-year) climate variations and their “causes” (El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), etc.); Recent and contemporary climate changes; Human impacts on the climate. Several themes connect all these different areas of Dr. Carleton’s research, as follows: (1) Applications of satellite data to studying the climate; (2) Observations-based investigations of climate and climate variations; (3) Climatic perspectives through the construct of synoptic (pressure system) and dynamic (atmospheric general circulation) phenomena; (4) Climate operating on the scale of a region or sub-region; and (5) Explanations of climate relying on the basic physical processes, as supported by statistical analysis. These perspectives comprise much of the modern study of Climate Dynamics — a scary-sounding term that really just means how the climate works, and why!
Dr. Carleton’s teaching activities include a range of undergraduate courses in Climatology, from the introductory course on the subject (G110 Climates of the World), to the mid-level intensive writing course in Climate Dynamics (G310W Global Climates), through the upper-division course that presents the study of climate using satellite-based observations (G417 Satellite Climatology). In addition, Dr. Carleton teaches a graduate-level seminar (G503) Human Impacts on Climate, that has broader appeal to nature-society geographers as well as physical scientists (physical geographers, meteorologists, ecologists, etc.).
Dr. Carleton has 3 current areas of active research and publication, 2 of which are examples of human impacts on climate (jet airplane condensation trails, or contrails; land-cover modifications of deforestation and agriculture in the Midwest U.S. and their effects on summertime precipitation development), with the 3rd area involving how the ocean, sea ice and atmosphere around Antarctica interact to produce a small-scale storm system known as a “polar low”. All 3 research areas have received federal funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), with 1 (jet contrails) currently funded. The 3 areas are as follows:
Jase Bernhardt, M.S. (2013), Ph.D. (2016-- anticipated)
Adrienne Tucker, M.S. (2015)
Armand Silva, M.S. (2009)
Corene Matyas, Ph.D. (2005)
Rebecca Foley-Smith, M.S. (2004)
Steve Curran, M.S. (2005)
Jason Allard, Ph.D. (2002)
Jimmy Adegoke, Ph.D. (2000)
Jason Allard, M.S. (1997)
David L. Arnold, Ph.D., Indiana University (1994)
David J. Travis, Ph.D., Indiana University, (1994)