Alexandria Russell


Alexandria (“Alexi”) is a full-time Ph.D. student in the Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS) Department at Johns Hopkins University.  Her research interests include remote sensing, tropical precipitation, numerical weather prediction, El Niño – Southern Oscillation, and climate change in mountainous regions. Alexi plans to leverage her extensive training in climate science and data analysis with her natural skills in leadership and collaboration to develop and track quantitative indicators of climate change as well as improve the modeling and forecasting of severe weather.


Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Ph.D. candidate in Earth and Planetary Sciences:  projected 2016
M.A. in Earth and Planetary Sciences: May 2013

University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Robert D. Clark Honors College
B.S. in Environmental Science: June 2011

Graduation (71)

Presentations and Posters

Russell, A., B. Zaitchik and A. Gnanadesikan. “NU-WRF as a tool for analyzing multidecadal trends in cloudiness over the subtropical Andes Mountains of South America.” WRF Users’ Workshop, National Center for Atmospheric Research. Boulder, CO. 29 June 2016. Poster.
Russell, A., B. Zaitchik (presenting) and A. Gnanadesikan: “Are the Tropical Andes Mountains a hot spot for climate change?” Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union. San Francisco, CA. 12 December 2015. Presentation.
Gnanadesikan, A. (presenting), A. Russell, M.-A. Pradal and Ryan Abernathey. “Impact of lateral mixing in the ocean on El Nino in a suite of fully coupled climate models.” Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union. 12 December 2015. San Francisco, CA. Presentation.
Russell, A. and A. Gnanadesikan. “Understanding multidecadal variability in ENSO amplitude.” Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union. 11 December 2013. San Francisco, CA. Presentation.
Russell, A. “Tropical Andean Precipitation and Climate Change.” Team Meeting – The Impact of Disappearing Tropical Andean Glaciers on Pastoral Agriculture, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. 19 November 2013. Greenbelt, MD. Presentation.
Russell, A. Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, Johns Hopkins University. 2011 – 2015. Annual Journal Club Presentations.
Russell, A. Atmosphere-Ocean Science (AOS) Days Conference, Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, Johns Hopkins University. 6 June 2013. Poster.
Russell, A. African Climate Conference Workshop, Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, Johns Hopkins University. 15 Nov 2012. Poster.
Russell, A. Student Symposium, NASA Oregon Space Grant Consortium. November 2010. Presentation & Poster.


Publications and Papers

Russell, A. A. Gnanadesikan, and B. Zaitchik (2016): Are the central Andes a warming hotspot? Journal of Climate, IN SUBMISSION.

Gnanadesikan, A., A. Russell, M.-A. Pradal and Ryan Abernathey, 2016: Impact of lateral mixing in the ocean on El Nino in a suite of fully coupled climate models. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, IN SUBMISSION.

Russell, A. and A. Gnanadesikan, 2014: Understanding multidecadal variability in ENSO amplitude.  Journal of Climate, Vol. 27, pages 4037-4051.

Undergraduate Honors thesis: “Distribution and Detection of Precipitation and its Relationship to Convection in Tropical Storms: An Investigation of the TRMM Microwave Imager and Precipitation Radar”

Research Experience

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Research Assistant: 2012 – 2016
Advisors: Dr. Anand Gnanadesikan and Dr. Benjamin Zaitchik
Research Topics:
• Multidecadal ENSO variability
• Simulation of regional trends in cloud cover using a mesoscale model
• Multidecadal temperature change in the free atmosphere over the tropical Andes Mountains
• sensitivity of numerical weather prediction models to various physics options and resolutions
• Ocean mixing parameterization in climate models
• Comparison of in-situ data, reanalysis products and climate models
• Regional climate modeling
• Extreme weather forecasting

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Research Intern: June 2010 – June 2011
Research Project: improve TRMM satellite precipitation detection algorithms using a unique combined radar-radiometric approach developed by the Radar Science Group
• Developed Matlab code to statistically analyze large satellite observations.
• Conducted principal component analysis on combined radar-radiometric data.
• Interpreted and communicated the results of the analysis to my group.

Field Experience

Food Security and Climate Change Capstone Experience, Ethiopia: August 2014

University of Oregon Environmental Leadership Program, Eugene, Oregon
Field Researcher: January – June 2010
Research Project: habitat mapping and assessment of local ecosystems
• Coordinated and communicated with teammates to execute field work and research.
• Developed original field protocol, now in use by the City of Eugene.
• Interpreted results and provided suggestions to the City of Eugene to assist their prioritization of habitat management and restoration.


Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant “Planets, Life and the Universe”, September – December 2015.

Teaching Assistant “Freshman Seminar on Climate Change”, September – December 2014.

Instructor of “Engineering Fundamentals”: 2 week College Prep Course: 2013-2015, Developed course curriculum and lecture content including subject matter in trigonometry, physics and scientific lab reporting.


Computational and Analytical Skills

Matlab: advanced programming and data analysis
R: basic programming and data analysis
Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model: regional climate modeling, extreme weather forecasting and data analysis [WRF Tutorial participant 2012 & WRF User’s Workshop participant 2016]
NCAR Command Language (NCL): basic programming, data analysis and data visualization
Linux: basic computing, shell scripting, and batch job submission
Excel: basic spreadsheet management and data analysis
JMP statistical software: basic data manipulation and analysis
Proficient in regression analysis, correlation analysis, principal component analysis (a.k.a empirical orthogonal function analysis), linear trend analysis, and fitting various statistical models to data

Awards and Honors

NSF Water, Climate, and Health IGERT Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University: September 2012 – August 2014
Owen’s Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University: September 2011 – August 2014
Undergraduate Library Research Award, University of Oregon: January 2011 – March 2011
University of Oregon Dean’s List, January 2008 – 2011
Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium (OSGC) Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient, March 2009


American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN)

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