Hurricane Ida: Resources for Journalists

Disaster experts around the Columbia Climate School are available to answer questions from the media about hurricane physics, the role of climate change in creating strong storms, and more.

Earth Institute
August 30, 2021
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Hurricane Ida is seen in this image taken aboard the International Space Station. The storm made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2021 with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. Credit: NASA

Hurricane and disaster experts around the Columbia Climate School are available to answer questions from the media about hurricane physics, emergency response, recovery efforts, the role of climate change in creating strong storms, and more. Journalists can reach out to our scientists directly.


Jeffrey Schlegelmilch is director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He has broad expertise relating to both disaster policy as well as the development and implementation of disaster preparedness, response and recovery programs. | 212-535-9707

Irwin Redlener, physician and founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, is a leading thinker regarding emergency planning and response, and in dealing with the aftermaths of all kinds of disasters, including epidemics, hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorism. | 212-535-9797

Arthur Lerner-Lam is a research professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. A seismologist by training, he also studies the broader economic and social factors that drive vulnerability to hazards such as earthquakes and hurricanes. | 845-365-8348

John Mutter, who began his career as a geophysicist, studies the long-term economic costs of catastrophes. He is author of the book The Disaster Profiteers, about how the rich often benefit from disasters, and the poor suffer. He led a long-term effort to reach a definitive count of the casualties of Hurricane Katrina. | 845-365-0716


Adam Sobel, an atmospheric scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, heads Columbia’s Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate. Author of Storm Surge, a book about Hurricane Sandy, he assesses hurricanes and other extreme weather including the causes of cold and hot spells, and related social issues. | 212-854-6587

Suzana Camargo is a professor of ocean and climate physics at Lamont-Doherty. She is an expert on hurricanes and cyclones, their genesis, intensity, and their relationship to climate, from intraseasonal to centennial time scales. | 845-365-8640

Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty, studies large-scale cycles such as El Niño that influence weather, including floods, hurricanes, snowstorms and droughts. He is author of a widely cited study about the connection between climate and the Syrian civil war.  | 845-365-8743

Klaus Jacob, special research scientist at Lamont-Doherty, is expert in the consequences of coastal storms. An advisor to New York City on climate adaptation, he accurately predicted the flooding of the subways during Hurricane Sandy.  He is a seismologist by training, and has also worked on seismic hazards around the world. | 845-365-8440

Radley Horton, a climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has done a wide variety of interdisciplinary work on the physics of storms, their interaction with climate, and the socioeconomic risk factors, especially in coastal areas. He has advised the mayor New York City and the U.S. president on climate and weather risks. | 845-365-8496

Kyle Mandli studies the physics of destructive waves including tsunamis, debris flows, and especially storm surges related to hurricanes. He is an assistant professor at Columbia’s Department of Applied Physics and Applied Math. | 212-854-4485 


Melissa Lott, a senior research scholar and the Director of Research at the Center on Global Energy Policy is an expert on the power sector and energy systems.

Vijay Modi, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Earth and Environmental Engineering, works closely with city and national agencies/utilities to understand how energy services can be more accessible, more efficient, and cleaner.


Kai Kornhuber, a postdoctoral researcher at the Earth Institute, studies the physics behind extreme weather including persistent, heavy downpours that can lead to widespread flooding.

Andrew Kruckiewicz is a staff associate at IRI who specializes in satellite imagery of flooding and other hazards, and subsequent organization of relief; he has worked internationally with the Red Cross.

Upmanu Lall, director of the Columbia Water Center, leads studies of the natural and manmade factors that cause inland flooding, and how they might be mitigated. | 212-854-8905