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Sumant Nigam
University of Maryland, College Park

Sumant Nigam is a Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth System Science at the University of Maryland. His research interests include atmospheric general circulation and teleconnections, climate dynamics, tropical ocean-atmosphere interaction, aerosols and Asian monsoon, and Great Plains hydroclimate variability and droughts. A current focus is unraveling the natural variability and secular change components of the climate record to advance understanding of the recent warming of the northern continents. Dr. Nigam got his M.Sc. degree in Physics from the 5-year integrated program at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, supported by the National Science Talent scholarship. He obtained his Ph.D. in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Princeton University in 1984, and postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Nigam chairs the Climate Variations and Change Committee of the American Meteorological Society and the Advisory Panel for NCAR's Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory. He also serves on the International Commission on Dynamic Meteorology. Dr. Nigam was a member of the Climate Research Committee and the Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine from 2008-2012. He previously served as co-chair of the Climate Variability working group of NCAR's Community Climate System Model, Editor of the Journal of Climate, and as Director of the Large-scale Dynamic Meteorology program at the U.S. National Science Foundation. Dr. Nigam is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. Dr. Nigam was featured on the cover of Science in May 2004 in connection with a report on foreign born U.S. scientists, titled “Brains & Borders: Many Origins, One Destination.”

State Department Profile

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Office of Multilateral Affairs

Sumant Nigam serves as Senior Science Advisor on climate, water, and environmental issues in Southeast Asia. He leads the development of comprehensive, scientifically-informed US initiatives in the Lower Mekong, taking into account environmental, economic, and energy concerns of the countries for which Mekong River is the lifeblood. Sumant has developed a strategic plan for providing near-term hydroclimate predictions as well as decadal-to-multidecadal projections of regional precipitation and streamflow for the region using both ground and space-based observations of the regional water cycle and the cutting-edge meteorological forecasts and climate model projections. Dr. Nigam has traveled to the region and consulted with several institutions, including the Mekong River Commission, in an effort to mobilize and steer regional scientific interest, excitement, and expertise on environmental stewardship to help advance the US-led Lower Mekong Initiative.