Lee's research interests focus on understanding the mechanisms governing global atmosphere-ocean dynamics and their impacts on climate variability. Mahematical models such as general circulation models and idealized simple models are Lee's preferred research tools. Currently, Lee's research lies in the areas of ENSO teleconnection, Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and large-scale atmosphere-ocean processes conducive to extreme weather events such as tornadoes and hurricanes.
What drives the southern subtropical anticyclones in austral winter?: The southern subtropical anticyclones are notably stronger in austral winter than in summer, which is in contrast with the Northern Hemisphere in which subtropical anticyclones are more intense in boreal summer consistent with the monsoon heating paradigm. Specially designed model experiments show that during boreal summer enhanced tropical convection activity in the Northern Hemisphere plays important roles in strengthening the southern subtropical anticyclones (Lee et al. 2013).
An optimal ENSO phase for U.S. tornado outbreaks: Among the top ten extreme U.S. tornado outbreak years during 1950-2010, seven years including the top three are identified with a strongly positive Trans-Niņo phase. Modeling experiments suggest that a positive Trans-Niņo phase provides large-scale atmospheric conditions conducive to intense tornado outbreaks over the U.S. (Lee et al. 2013) [highlighted in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as Paper in Note].
What caused the significant increase in Atlantic ocean heat content since the mid-20th century?: As the upper layer of the world ocean warms gradually during the 20th century, the inter-ocean heat transport from the Indian to Atlantic basin should be enhanced, and the Atlantic Ocean should therefore gain extra heat due to the increased upper ocean temperature of the inflow via the Agulhas leakage. Consistent with this hypothesis, instrumental records indicate that the Atlantic Ocean has warmed substantially more than any other ocean basin since the mid-20th century. A surface-forced global ocean-sea ice coupled model is used to confirm this hypothesis (Lee et al. 2011) [highlighted in Nature as Community Choice].
Delayed advective oscillation of the AMOC: A simple dynamic model is proposed to illustrate the multidecadal oscillation of the AMOC. The proposed oscillation relies on alternating actions of positive and negative feedbacks, which are operated by a slow adjustment of the ocean circulation and the associated time delay in the advective flux response to meridional density gradient perturbation (Lee and Wang 2010).
Work in progress
Liu, Y., S.-K. Lee, C. Wang, D. B. Enfield, B. A. Muhling and J. T. Lamkin, 2014: Impact of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation on North Atlantic Ocean circulation variability. Submitted.
Song, Z. S.-K. Lee, C. Wang, B. Kirtman and F. Qiao, 2014: The Influence of ocean dynamics on the tropical Atlantic SST bias in CESM1. Submitted.
Zhang, L. C. Wang, Z. Song, S.-K. Lee, 2014: Remote effect of the model cold bias in the tropical North Atlantic on the warm bias in the tropical southeastern Pacific. Submitted.
Cheon, W. G., Y.-G. Park, J. R. Toggweiler, and S.-K. Lee, 2014: The relationship of Weddell polynya and open-ocean deep convection to the Southern Hemisphere westerlies. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 44, 694-713. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-13-0112.1
Ji, X., J. D. Neelin, S.-K. Lee and C. R. Mechoso, 2014: Interhemispheric teleconnections from tropical heat sources in intermediate and simple models. J. Climate, 27, 684-697. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00017.1.
Lee, S.-K., B. E. Mapes, C. Wang, D. B. Enfield and S. J. Weaver, 2014: Springtime ENSO phase evolution and its relation to rainfall in the continental U.S. Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2013GL059137., In-press
Wang, C., L. Zhang, S.-K. Lee, L. Wu and C. R. Mechoso, 2014: A global perspective on CMIP5 climate model biases. Nature Clim. Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2118., In-press.
Zhang L., C. Wang and S.-K. Lee, 2014: Potential role of Atlantic warm pool-induced freshwater forcing in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation: Ocean-sea ice coupled model simulations. Climate Dynam., doi:10.1007/s00382-013-2034-z., In-press.
Lee, S.-K., C. R. Mechoso, C. Wang and J. D. Neelin, 2013: Interhemispheric influence of the northern summer monsoons on the southern subtropical anticyclones. J. Climate, 26, 10193-10204. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00106.1.
Lee, S.-K., R. Atlas, D. B. Enfield, C. Wang and H. Liu, 2013: Is there an optimal ENSO pattern that enhances large-scale atmospheric processes conducive to major tornado outbreaks in the U.S.? J. Climate, 26, 1626-1642. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00128.1. [highlighted in Feb, 2013 issue of Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as Paper in Note]
Liu, H., C. Wang, S.-K. Lee and D. B. Enfield, 2013: Atlantic warm pool variability in the CMIP5 simulations. J. Climate, 26, 5315-5336, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00556.1.
Menary M. B, C. D. Roberts, M. D. Palmer, P. R. Halloran, L. Jackson, R. A. Wood, W. A. Mueller, D. Matei and S.-K. Lee, 2013: Mechanisms of aerosol-forced AMOC variability in a state of the art climate model. J. Geophys. Res., 118, 2087-2096, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20178.
Wang, C., L. Zhang, S.-K. Lee, 2013: Response of freshwater and sea surface salinity to variability of the Atlantic warm pool. J. Climate, 26, 1249-1267, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00284.1.
DiNezio, P. N., B. P. Kirtman, A. C. Clement, S.-K. Lee, G. A. Vecchi and A. Wittenberg, 2012: Mean climate controls on the simulated response of ENSO to increasing greenhouse gases. J. Climate, 25, 7399-7420, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00494.1.
Larson, S., S.-K. Lee, C. Wang, E.-S. Chung, and D. Enfield, 2012: Impacts of non-canonical El Nino patterns on Atlantic hurricane activity. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L14706, doi:10.1029/2012GL052595.
Liu, H., C. Wang, S.-K. Lee and D. B. Enfield, 2012: Atlantic warm pool variability in the IPCC twentieth-century climate simulations. J. Climate, 25, 5612-5628, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00376.1.
Liu Y., S.-K. Lee, B. A. Muhling, J. T. Lamkin and D.B. Enfield, 2012: Significant reduction of the Loop Current in the 21st century and its impact on the Gulf of Mexico. J. Geophys. Res., 117, C05039, doi:10.1029/2011JC007555
Wang, C., S. Dong, A. T. Evan, G. R. Foltz, and S.-K. Lee, 2012: Multidecadal co-variability of North Atlantic sea surface temperature, African dust, Sahel rainfall and Atlantic hurricanes. J. Climate, 25, 5404-5415, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00413.1.
Lee S.-K., W. Park, E. van Sebille, M. O. Baringer, C. Wang, D. B. Enfield, S. Yeager, and B. P. Kirtman, 2011: What caused the significant increase in Atlantic ocean heat content since the mid-20th century? Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L17607, doi:10.1029/2011GL048856. [highlighted in Oct. 6, 2011 issue of Nature as Community Choice]
Lee, S.-K., D. B. Enfield and C. Wang, 2011: Future impact of differential inter-basin ocean warming on Atlantic hurricanes. J. Climate, 24, 1264-1275.
Muhling, B. A., S.-K. Lee, J. T. Lamkin and Y. Liu, 2011: Predicting the effects of climate change on bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) Spawning habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. ICES J. Mar. Sci., doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsr008.
Wang, C., H. Liu, S.-K. Lee and R. Atlas, 2011: Impact of the Atlantic warm pool on United States landfalling hurricanes. Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2011GL049265. [highlighted in Oct. 21, 2011 issue of Sciecne as Editor's Choice]
Lee, S.-K., C. Wang and D. B. Enfield, 2010: On the impact of central Pacific warming events on Atlantic tropical storm activity. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L17702, doi:10.1029/2010GL044459.
Lee, S.-K. and C. Wang, 2010: Delayed advective oscillation of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. J. Climate, 23, 1254-1261.
Wang C. and S.-K. Lee, 2010: Is hurricane activity in one basin tied to another? EOS, 91, 93-94, doi:10.1029/2009ES002729.
Wang, C., S.-K. Lee and C. R. Mechoso, 2010: Inter-hemispheric influence of the Atlantic warm pool on the southeastern Pacific. J. Climate, 23, 404-418.
Wang, C., H. Liu and S.-K. Lee, 2010: The record-breaking cold temperatures during the winter of 2009/10 in the Northern Hemisphere. Atmos. Sci. Lett., doi:10.1002/asl.278.
DiNezio, P. N., A. C. Clement, G. A. Vecchi, B. J. Soden, B. P. Kirtman and S.-K. Lee, 2009: Climate response of the equatorial Pacific to global warming. J. Climate, 22, 4873-4892.
Lee, S.-K., C. Wang and B. E. Mapes, 2009: A simple atmospheric model of the local and teleconnection responses to tropical heating anomalies. J. Climate, 22, 272-284.
Wang C. and S.-K. Lee, 2009: Co-variability of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L24702, doi:10.1029/2009GL041469.
Wang, C. and S.-K. Lee, 2009: Reply to comment by Joseph J. Barsugli on "Global warming and United States landfalling hurricanes". Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L01706, doi:10.1029/2008GL035111.
Lee, S.-K., D. B. Enfield and C. Wang, 2008: Why do some El Ninos have no impact on tropical North Atlantic SST? Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L16705, doi:10.1029/2008GL034734.
Lee, S.-K. and C. Wang, 2008: Tropical Atlantic decadal oscillation and its impact on the equatorial atmosphere-ocean dynamics: A simple model study. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 38, 193-212.
Wang, C. and S.-K. Lee, 2008: Global warming and United States landfalling hurricanes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L02708, doi:10.1029/2007GL032396.
Wang, C., S.-K. Lee and D. B. Enfield, 2008: Atlantic warm pool acting as a link between Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 9, Q05V03, doi:10.1029/2007GC001809. [In the special issue of "Interactions between climate and tropical cyclones on all timescales"]
Wang, C., S.-K. Lee and D. B. Enfield, 2008: Climate response to anomalously large and small Atlantic warm pools during the summer. J. Climate, 21, 2437-2450.
Lee, S.-K., D. B. Enfield and C. Wang, 2007: What drives seasonal onset and decay of the Western Hemisphere warm pool? J. Climate, 20, 2133-2146.
Wang, C. and S.-K. Lee, 2007: Atlantic warm pool, Caribbean low-level jet, and their potential impact on Atlantic hurricanes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L02703, doi:10.1029/2006GL028579.
Wang, C., S.-K. Lee and D. B. Enfield, 2007: Impact of the Atlantic warm pool on the summer climate of the Western Hemisphere. J. Climate, 20, 5021-5040.
Enfield, D. B., S.-K. Lee and C. Wang, 2006: How are large Western Hemisphere warm pools formed?. Prog. Oceanogr., 70, 346-365.
Pelegri, J. L., J. H. Churchill, A. D. Kirwan, Jr., S.-K. Lee, R. E. Munn and N. R. Pettigrew, 2006: Gabriel T. Csanady: Understanding the physics of the ocean. Prog. Oceanogr., 70, 91-112.
Wang, C., D. B. Enfield, S.-K. Lee and C. W. Landsea, 2006: Influences of Atlantic Warm Pool on Western Hemisphere Summer Rainfall and Atlantic Hurricanes. J. Climate, 19, No. 12, 3011-3028.
Enfield, D. B. and S.-K. Lee, 2005: The heat balance of the Western Hemisphere warm pool. J. Climate, 18, 2662-2681.
Lee, S.-K., D. B. Enfield and C. Wang, 2005: Ocean General Circulation Model Sensitivity Experiments on the Annual Cycle of Western Hemisphere Warm Pool. J. Geophys. Res., 110, C09004, doi:10.1029/2004JC002640.
[Pre - 2005]
Thacker, C. W., S.-K. Lee and G. R. Halliwell Jr., 2004: Assimilating 20 years of Atlantic XBT data into HYCOM: A first look. Ocean model., 7, 183-210.
Lee, S.-K., J. L. Pelegri and J. Kroll, 2001. Slope control in western boundary currents. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 31, 3349-3360.
Lee, S.-K., 2001: On the structure of supercritical western boundary currents. Dynam. Atmos. Oceans, 33, 303-319.
Lee, S.-K. and G. T. Csanady, 1999: Warm water formation and escape in the upper tropical Atlantic Ocean: Part I. a literature review. J. Geophys. Res., 104, c12, 29561-29571.
Lee, S.-K. and G. T. Csanady, 1999: Warm water formation and escape in the upper tropical Atlantic Ocean: Part II. a numerical model study. J. Geophys. Res., 104, c12, 29573-29590.
Lee, S.-K., 1999: Self-excited variability of the East Korean Warm Current: A quasi-geostrophic model study. J. Korean Soc. Oceanogr., 34, 1-21.
Lee, S.-K. and G. T. Csanady, 1994: Instability waves in the Gulf Stream front and its thermocline layer. J. Mar. Res., 52, 837-863.