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Climate Change Institute

Bradfield Lyon

Associate Research Professor, Climate Change Institute and School of Earth and Climate Sciences

Bradfield Lyon

Contact Information

(207) 581-2241

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137 Sawyer Environmental Research Center
University of Maine 
Orono, ME  04469

Research interests

My research is focused on gaining a better physical understanding of the drivers of major climate fluctuations and climate extremes on timescales ranging from sub-seasonal to long-term climate change.  This includes examining the roles of internal dynamics, tropical-extratropical and Arctic-midlatitude interactions and atmospheric interactions with the land surface in generating observed climate extremes such as drought and heat waves.  These studies utilize a wide range of climate observations, climate model output and idealized climate model experiments.  I am also interested in exploring the impacts of climate variations and climate change on society, including the energy, water and agriculture sectors.


  • Giannini, A., B. Lyon, R. Seager, and N. Vigaud, 2018: Dynamical and Thermodynamic Elements of Modeled Climate Change at the East African Margin of Convection. Geophys. Res. Lett., 45,
  • Lyon, B., and N. Vigaud, 2017: Unraveling East Africa's Climate Paradox. In, Patterns of Climate Extremes: Trends and Mechanisms, S-Y. Wang, Ed., John Wiley and Sons, pp. 265-281, doi: 10.1002/9781119068020.ch16.
  • Lyon, B., T. Dinku, A. Raman and M.C. Thomson, 2017: Temperature Suitability for Malaria Climbing the Ethiopian Highlands. Environ. Res. Lett. 12, 064015.
  • Lyon, B., and A.G. Barnston, 2017: Diverse Characteristics of U.S. Summer Heat Waves. J. Climate, 30, 7827-7845.
  • Thomson, M.C., I. Ukawuba, C.L. Hershey, A. Bennett, P. Ceccato, B. Lyon, and T. Dinku, 2017: Using Rainfall and Temperature Data in the Evaluation of National Malaria Control Programs in Africa. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 97, 32-45.
  • Barnston, A.G., and B. Lyon, 2016: Does the NMME Capture a Recent Decadal Shift Toward Increasing Drought Occurrence in the Western US? J. Climate, 29, 561-581.
  • Schubert, S.D., R.E. Stewart, H. Wang, M. Barlow, H. Berbery, W. Cai, M.P. Hoerling, K.K. Kanikicharla, R.D. Koster, B. Lyon, A. Mariotti, C.R. Mechoso, O.V. Mueller, B. Rodriguez-Fonseca, R. Seager, S.I. Seneviratne, L. Zhang, T. Zhou, 2016: Global Meteorological Drought: A Synthesis of Current Understanding with a Focus on SST Drivers of Precipitation Deficits. J. Climate, 29, 3989-4019.
  • Vigaud, N., B. Lyon, and A. Giannini, 2016: Sub-seasonal teleconnections between convection over the Indian Ocean, the East African long rains and tropical Pacific surface temperatures. Int. J. Climatol. 10.1002/joc.4765.
  • Rao,M., N.K. Davi, R. D'Arrigo, J. Skees, B. Nachin, C. Leland, B. Lyon, S.-Y. Wang, O. Byambasuren, 2015: Dzuds, droughts, and livestock mortality in Mongolia, Environ. Res. Lett., 10 074012 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/7/074012.
  • Mo. K.C., and B. Lyon, 2015: Global Prediction of the Standardized Precipitation Index Using the NMME. J. Hydrometeor, 16, 1409-1424.
  • Seager, R., M. Hoerling, S. Schubert, H. Wang, B. Lyon, A. Kumar, J. Nakamura, and N. Henderson, 2015: Causes of the 2011–14 California Drought. J. Climate, 28, 6997–7024.
  • Yang, W., R. Seager, M.A. Cane, and B. Lyon, 2015: The Rainfall Annual Cycle Bias over East Africa Induced by CMIP5 Coupled Climate Models. J. Climate, 28, 9789-9802.
  • Yang, W., R. Seager, M.A. Cane, and B. Lyon, 2014: The Annual Cycle of East African Precipitation. J. Climate, 28, 2385-2404.
  • Ruiz, D., C. Brun, S.J. Connor, J.A. Omumbo, B. Lyon, and M.C. Thomson, 2014: Testing a multi-malaria-model ensemble against 30 years of data in the Kenyan highlands. Malaria Journal, 13:206, doi:10.1186/1475-2875-13-206.
  • Lyon, B., 2014: Seasonal Drought in East Africa and its Recent Increase During the March-May Long Rains. J. Climate, 27, 7953-7975.
  • Lyon, B., A. Giannini, P. Gonzalez, and A.W. Robertson, 2014: The Role of Targeted Climate Research at the IRI. Earth Perspectives, 1:18, doi:10.1186/2194-6434-1-18.
  • Yang, W., R. Seager, M.A. Cane, and B. Lyon, 2014: The East African Long Rains in Observations and Models. J. Climate, 27, 7185-7202.
  • Garcia, K., R. Lasco, A. Ines, B. Lyon, and F. Pulhin, 2013: Predicting geographic distribution and habitat suitability due to climate change of selected threatened forest tree species in the Philippines. Applied Geography, 44, 12-22.
  • Funk, C., G. Husak, J. Michaelsen J., S. Shraddhanand, A. Hoell, B. Lyon, M.P. Hoerling, B. Liebmann, T. Zhang, J. Verdin, G. Galu, G. Eilerts, and J. Rowland, 2013: Attribution of 2012 and 2003-2012 Rainfall Deficits in Eastern Kenya and Southern Somalia [in “Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective”]. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 94, S45-S48.
  • Lyon, B., A.G. Barnston, and D.G. DeWitt, 2013: Tropical Pacific Forcing of a 1998-99 Climate Shift: Observational Analysis and Climate Model Results for the Boreal Spring Season. Climate Dynamics, doi 10.1007/s00382-013-1891-9.
  • L'Heureux, M.L., S. Lee and B. Lyon, 2013: Recent multidecadal strengthening of the Walker circulation across the tropical Pacific. Nature Climate Change, 3, 571-576. doi:10.1038/nclimate1840doi:10.1038/nclimate1840
  • Peterson, T.C., L.V. Alexander, M.R. Allen and co-authors, 2013: Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective. Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., 94(9): S1-S74.
  • Quan, X., M.P Hoerling, B. Lyon, A. Kumar, M.A. Bell, M.K. Tippett, and H. Wang, 2012: Prospects for Dynamical Prediction of Meteorological Drought. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 51, 1238-1252.
  • Lyon, B., M.A. Bell, M.K. Tippett, A. Kumar, M.P. Hoerling, X.W. Quan and H. Wang, 2012: Baseline Probabilities for the Seasonal Prediction of Meteorological Drought. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 51, 1222-1237.
  • Lyon, B., and D.G. DeWitt, 2012: A recent and abrupt decline in the East African long rains. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L02702, doi:10.1029/2011GL050337.
  • Omumbo,J.A., B. Lyon, S.M. Waweru, S.J. Connor and M.C. Thomson, 2011: Raised temperatures over the Kericho Tea Estates: Revisiting the climate in the East African highlands malaria debate. Malaria Journal, 10:12 doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-12.
  • Lyon, B., 2009: Southern Africa Summer Drought and Heat Waves: Observations and Coupled Model Behavior. J. Climate, 22, 6033-6046.
  • Schubert, S. and co-authors, 2009: A USCLIVAR Project to Assess and Compare the Responses of Global Climate Models to Drought-Related SST Forcing Patterns: Overview and Results. J. Climate, 22, 5251-5272.
  • Moron, V., A. Lucero, F. Hilario, B. Lyon, A.W. Robertson, and D. Dewitt, 2009: Spatio-temporal variability and predictability of summer monsoon onset over the Philippines. Climate Dynamics, 33, 1159-1177.
  • Lyon, B., and S.J. Mason, 2009: The 1997-98 Summer Rainfall Season in Southern Africa. Part II: Model Simulations and Coupled Model Forecasts. J. Climate, 22, 3802-3818.
  • Lyon, B., and S.J. Camargo, 2009: The seasonally-varying influence of ENSO on rainfall and tropical cyclone activity in the Philippines. Climate Dynamics, 32, 125-141.
  • Lyon, B., L. Zubair, V. Ralapanawe, and Z. Yahiya, 2009: Fine-scale evaluation of drought hazard for tropical climates: Case study in Sri Lanka. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 48, 77-88.
  • Lyon, B., and S.J. Mason, 2007: The 1997-98 Summer Rainfall Season in Southern Africa Part I: Observations. J. Climate, 20, 5134-5148.
  • Lyon, B., H. Cristi, E.R. Verceles, F.D. Hilario, and R. Abastillas, 2006: Seasonal Reversal of the ENSO Rainfall Signal in the Philippines. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L24710, doi:10.1029/2006GL028182.
  • Lyon, B., 2006: Robustness of the influence of El Nino on the spatial extent of tropical drought. Advances in Geosciences, 6, 207-209.
  • Lyon, B., and A.G. Barnston, 2005: ENSO and the Spatial Extent of Interannual Precipitation Extremes in Tropical Land Areas. J. Climate, 18, 5095-5109.
  • Lyon, B., N. Christie-Blick, and Y. Gluzberg, 2005: Water Shortages, Development, and Drought in Rockland County NY. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 41, Issue 6, 1457-1469.
  • Barlow, M., M. Wheeler, B. Lyon, and H. Cullen, 2005: Modulation of Daily Precipitation over Southwest Asia by the Madden-Julian Oscillation. Monthly Weather Review, 133, 3579-3594.
  • Lyon, B., 2004: The strength of El Nino and the spatial extent of tropical drought. Geophysical Research Letters, 31, L21204.
  • Lyon, B., 2003: Enhanced Seasonal Rainfall in Northern Venezuela and the Extreme Events of December 1999. J. Climate, 16, 2302-2306.
  • Lyon, B., 2003: Regional Climate of Central America, South Asia, China, and Central Southwest Asia. In State of the Climate in 2002, A.M. Waple and J.H. Lawrimore, Eds. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 83, No. 6, S1-S62.
  • Barlow, M., H. Cullen and B. Lyon, 2002: Drought in Central and Southwest Asia: La Nina, the Warm Pool, and Indian Ocean Precipitation. Journal of Climate Letters, 15, 697-700.
  • Tippett, M. K., M. Barlow and B. Lyon, 2002: Statistical Correction of Central Southwest Asia Winter Precipitation Simulations. International Journal of Climotology, 23, 1421-1433.
  • Waple, A.M. and co-authors, 2002: Climate Assessment for 2001. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 83, No. 6, S1-S62.
  • Lawrimore, J.H. and co-authors, 2001: Climate Assessment for 2000. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 82, No. 6, S1-S55.
  • Lyon, B. and R.M. Dole, 1995: A diagnostic Comparison of the 1980 and 1988 US Summer Heat Wave - Droughts. J. Climate, 8, 1658-1675.


  • 2017 to 2020 — $738,910.00 — Coupled Model Biases in the SST Distribution of the Global Tropics and Their Influence on Climate Change Projections from National Science Foundation


Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1991

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