Sukyoung Lee

Sukyoung Lee

  • Professor of Meteorology
  • John T. Ryan, Jr. Faculty Fellow in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
519 Walker Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-1587


  1. PhD -- Princeton University


  • Member of Graduate Faculty 
  • EMS Environment Institute
  • Member of AMS and AGU

Research Interests

The general circulation of the atmosphere and climate, including midlatitude storm tracks, westerly jets, the Hadley circulation, the tropopause, the Brewer-Dobson circulation, and polar amplification of surface temperature. Other interests include low-frequency variability of large-scale atmospheric flows,  geostrophic turbulence, planetary atmospheres, ocean general circulation, and paleoclimate. To get a better flavor of my research interest, refer to my publications listed in

Teaching Interests

Atmospheric dynamics, physical oceanography, and climate.

Beyond guiding students to learn the fundamental material of the courses that I teach, my primary objective as a teacher is to use the course content as a tool to facilitate the acquirement of life-long learning skills. The most significant challenge in the education of the discipline of geophysical fluid dynamics appears to be the difficulty students have in gaining an intuition for rotating fluids from text books, diagrams, and even the most brilliant computer simulations. In order to address this issue, I use classroom-friendly, laboratory experiments. I make extensive use of these experiments in many of my classes, from freshmen seminar course to graduate-level dynamics classes. 

Graduate Students

I study basic aspects of atmospheric and oceanic phenomena.  Accordingly, my general research approach is to form an hypothesis for a mechanism, and then to test the hypothesis.  As a research tool, I use a hierarchy of numerical models, observations, and analytical approaches.  I also believe that my students enjoy a high level of intellectual freedom in the sense that they are strongly encouraged to challenge my ideas! 

Selected Publications

Lee, S., and S. B. Feldstein 2013: Detecting ozone- and greenhouse-gas-driven wind trends with observational data.
Science, 339(6119), 563-567. DOI: 10.1126/science.1225154.

Lee, S., T.-T. Gong, N.C. Johnson, S. B. Feldstein, and D. Pollard, 2011: On the possible link between tropical convection and the Northern Hemisphere Arctic surface air temperature change between 1958-2001. J. Climate, 24, 4350-4367.

Lee, S.,  S. B. Feldstein, D. Pollard, and T. S. White, 2011: Do planetary wave dynamics contribute to equable climate? J. Climate, 24, 2391-2404. 

Yoo, C., and S. Lee, 2010: Persistent multiple jets and PV staircase. J. Atmos. Sci., 67, 2279-2295. 

Lee, S., 2010: Dissipative energization of baroclinic waves by surface Ekman pumping. J. Atmos. Sci., 67, 2251-2259. 

Ryu, J., S. Lee, and S.-W. Son, 2008: Vertically propagating Kelvin waves and tropical tropopause variability.  J. Atmos. Sci., 65, 1817-1837. 

Son, S.-W., and S. Lee, 2006: Preferred modes of variability and their relationship with climate change. J. Climate, 19, 2063-2075. 

Lee, S., 2005: Baroclinic multiple zonal jets on the sphere. J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 2484-2498.

Franzke, C., S. Lee, and S. B. Feldstein, 2004: Is the North Atlantic Oscillation a breaking wave? J. Atmos. Sci., 61, 145-160. 

Benedict, J. J., S. Lee, and S. B. Feldstein 2004: Synoptic view of the North Atlantic Oscillation. J. Atmos. Sci., 61, 121-144. 

Lee, S., and H.-k. Kim 2003: The dynamical relationship between subtropical and eddy-driven jets. J. Atmos. Sci., 60, 1490-1503.

Chang, E., S. Lee, and K. L. Swanson 2002: Storm track Dynamics. J. Climate, 15, 2163-2183.

Kim, H.-k., and S. Lee, 2001: Hadley cell dynamics in a primitive equation model: Part II. Non-axisymmetric flow. J. Atmos. Sci., 58, 2859-2871.

Cash, B., and S. Lee, 2001: Observed nonmodal growth of the Pacific-North American Teleconnection pattern. J. Climate, 14, 1017-1028.

Lee, S. 1999: Why are the climatological zonal mean winds easterly in the equatorial upper troposphere? J. Atmos. Sci., 56, 1353-1363.

Lee, S., 1997: Maintenance of multiple jets in a baroclinic flow. J. Atmos. Sci., 53, 1726-1738.