Sonali McDermid is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies. She holds a Ph.D. (2011), and M. Phil. (2011) and an M.A. (2009) from the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, specializing in Atmospheric Science and Climatology. She holds a B.A. in Physics from NYU (2006). McDermid’s research focuses on understanding interactions between climate change and variability, land-use, and agriculture, with an eye towards identifying and quantifying important feedbacks and uncertainties. To this end, she uses a variety of tools and datasets, including global climate and earth system models, process-based crop models, and observed datasets.
Her prior study focused on the impact of warmer climate conditions on the Asian Summer Monsoon circulation. She has recently undertaken a number of climate-agroecosystem assessments to quantify the impact of agriculture on global and regional environments, and how climate variability and change impacts food security and livelihoods. Her work strives to identify and contextualize the role of environmental preservation in food and nutrition security, particularly in the South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. What really constitutes responsible, sustainable agriculture and how might we lessen our impact while feeding everyone?
Previously, McDermid was a NASA Post-Doctoral researcher at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City. She also serves as Climate Co-Lead for the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (www.agmip.org), which is conducting integrated assessments of climate change and food security in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She also continues her work with NASA GISS global climate model to better understand agriculture-climate interactions of global and regional climate-land surface interactions, and the impact of climate change and altered sea surface temperatures on the South Asian Summer Monsoon system. Her work has appeared in Climate Dynamics, Paleoceanography, Global Change Biology, and Anthropocene, and she presents annually at major conferences and scientific meetings.