Stephen E. Zebiak

Flagship Leader for Climate Services and Safety Nets
Flagship Leader
845-664-2550

Stephen Zebiak has led the CCAFS Climate Services and Safety Nets Flagship Program since July 2019. He is founder and principal at Climate Information Services, and Special Research Scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Columbia University. During 2017-18, Zebiak served as Global Coordinator for the Climate Services for Resilient Development Partnership, an international public private partnership promoting climate resilience and sustainability.

Previously Zebiak was Head of the Climate Services Partnership, and Senior Research Scientist at the IRI. The Climate Services Partnership is an informal international platform to advance knowledge, tools, and capacities in the delivery of science-based climate services to inform practical decision and policy making.

From 2003 to 2012 Zebiak was Director-General of the IRI, leading an inter-disciplinary team of more than 40 scientists specializing in climate prediction, agriculture, health, water, economics and development policy. Zebiak has worked in the area of ocean-atmosphere interaction and climate variability since completing his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984. He and Mark Cane authored the first dynamical model used to predict El Niño successfully. He has published extensively in journals such as Science, Nature, and the International Journal of Climatology, and has served as an advisor to a range of US and international climate science research programs. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Some recent publications

White, C.J., et al, 2017: Review: Potential applications of subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) predictions. Meteorol. Appl., 24, 315-325.

Trenberth, K.E., M. Marquis, and S. E. Zebiak, 2016: The vital need for a climate information system. Nature Climate Change, 6, 1057-1059.

Zebiak, S.E., B. Orlove, C. Vaughan, A. Munoz, J. Hansen, T. Troy, M. Thomson, A. Lustig, and S. Garvin, 2014: Investigating El Nino-Southern Oscillations and society relationships. WIRES Clim Change 2014. doi: 10.1002/wcc.294

Hansen, J.W., S. E. Zebiak, and K. Coffey, 2014. Shaping global agendas on climate risk management and climate services: an IRI perspective. Earth Perspectives, 2014 1, 13 doi:10.1186/2194-6434-1-13

Thomson, M.C., S.J. Connor, S.E. Zebiak, M. Jancloes and A. Mihretie, 2011: Africa needs climate data to fight disease. Nature, 471, 440-442, doi:10.1038/471440a.

Zebiak, S., 2009: Managing risk in a changing climate. In Climate Sense, a WMO publication, G. Asrar, Consulting Ed.. Tudor Rose, Leicester, UK, 199-202.

Greene, A.M., A. Giannini and S. Zebiak, 2009: Drought return times in the Sahel: a question of attribution. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L12701, doi:10.1029/2009GL038868