Sang-Ki Lee

Sang-Ki Lee staff page photo.

Research Highlights

Research Interests

Inter-ocean transports of heat, salt and carbon.

El Niño diversity and its remote impact on North American climate.

Atlantic Niño diversity.

Atmosphere-ocean processes conducive to extreme weather.

Antarctic sea-ice and ocean interactions.

Sang-Ki Lee, Ph.D.

Oceanographer, Physical Oceanography Division


4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Florida 33149

“The Atlantic Niño is just one member of a big extended family that covers much of the tropical and subtropical oceans. Just like El Niño, Atlantic Niño has a sister, Atlantic Niña, that brings cooler-than-average equatorial Atlantic conditions and the opposite climate impacts as her brother. There are many other siblings, cousins, and distant relatives spanning the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans who share a feature in common: ocean surface temperature anomalies along eastern boundaries linked to changes in the upwelling of cooler water from below. Climate scientists have learned a lot about the atmosphere and ocean interactions that give rise to each of these patterns, but there is still so much more to learn about this extended family.”

Dr. Sang-Ki Lee is a physical oceanographer at NOAA’s AOML. His research involves a range of topics related to the ocean, climate, and extreme weather events. Dr. Lee aims to better understand atmosphere-ocean processes that affect and control the Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems by using both observations and mathematical modeling tools.

Current Work

Java-Sumatra Nino/Nina and associated regional rainfall variability

On the role of Atlantic Nino/Nina in seasonal Atlantic tropical cyclone activity

Projections of faster onset and slower decay of El Nino in the 21st century

A robust slowdown of the AMOC inferred from a data-constrained ocean model

High-resolution ocean-biogeochemistry modeling for the East & Gulf coasts of the U.S.

S2S U.S. severe weather outlook

An optimized hybrid seasonal forecast system for U.S. regional precipitation

Download Full CV

1991, B.S. Oceanography, Inha University, Incheon, South Korea

1993, M.S. Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

1995, Ph. D. Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

  1. Gomez, F.A., R. Wanninkhof, L. Barbero, and S.-K. Lee. Mississippi River chemistry impacts on the interannual variability of aragonite saturation state in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 129(2):e2023JC020436, 2024
    Ref. 4388
  2. Kim, D., S.-K. Lee, H. Lopez, J.-H. Jeong, and J.-S. Hong. An unusually prolonged Pacific-North American pattern promoted the 2021 winter Quad-State Tornado Outbreaks. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, 7:133, 2024
    Ref. 4421
  3. Tuchen, F.P., R.C. Perez, G.R. Foltz, P. Brandt, A. Subramaniam, S.-K. Lee, R. Lumpkin, and R. Hummels. Modulation of equatorial currents and tropical instability waves during the 2021 Atlantic Niño. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 129(1):e2023JC020431, 2024
    Ref. 4376

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Employee of the Year Award 2022

For groundbreaking scientific research that evaluates how El Niño-Southern Oscillation events will evolve in all seasons as a result of anthropogenic climate change, with significant implications for future Atlantic hurricane season intensities and springtime tornado outbreaks in the United States.

South Florida Federal Executive Board Employee of the Year (Scientific Category) 2017

For research that has demonstrated a relationship between sea surface temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the likelihood of severe tornado outbreaks in the United States, enabling vulnerable communities and first responders to plan for likely severe seasons with a lead time of approximately 1-3 months.

NOAA’s Team Member of the Month Award 2012

For research identifying a relationship between La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific and increased tornadic activity in the United States.