Bill Boos is an atmospheric physicist working to understand the fundamental processes responsible for variations in tropical climate over a broad range of time scales. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from MIT in 2008, and previously received an M.S. in geosystems from MIT, and undergraduate degrees in physics and math from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Bill’s doctoral thesis examined the cause of the abrupt onset of monsoon circulations, in which the start of summer rains and the reversal of the prevailing winds begin much more rapidly than can be explained by a linear response to the seasonal changes in insolation. This work is part of the broader task of understanding the fundamental mechanisms of variability of monsoon circulations, which subject billions of people in the tropics to floods and droughts that are poorly predicted by modern forecasters.
After completing his doctoral studies, Bill worked as part of an effort to improve the representation of clouds and precipitation in global climate models. For his master’s thesis, he used a computer model to show that the strong mixing of ocean waters by hurricanes might play a role in the ocean circulation that transports heat to high latitudes. And throughout much of his time at MIT, he worked with a group of students to install a novel flood prediction system in a river basin in northern Honduras that is often inundated by tropical storms and hurricanes.
As the French Environmental Fellow, Bill will work with Zhiming Kuang in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences to better understand the physics of a dominant type of variability in monsoon climates that produces excess or deficient rainfall on time scales of several weeks. Bill is also broadly interested in how such variations in tropical climate can threaten food security in developing nations, and in how statistical predictions might be leveraged to provide socio-economic support during these threats.