Staff Spotlight: Cristian Proistosescu

Postdoctoral Researcher

Cristi with mountains behind himCristian Proistosescu is a postdoctoral research associate at JISAO, having joined in January 2017. Cristian works with other scientists in the Atmospheric, Ocean, and Earth and Space Science departments at University of Washington on understanding Earth’s Climate Sensitivity – the amount by which the Earth’s surface temperature will change in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. More specifically he is interested in how climate sensitivity depends on the interplay between spatial patterns of surface temperature and the amount of energy that the earth radiates into space.

Cristian – or Cristi, as everyone calls him – grew up in Romania, where people have just as much trouble pronouncing hist last name as everywhere else. His hometown lies in the shadow of the Carpathian Mountains, about two dozen miles from the castle of Vlad the Impaler, better known as Dracula. Between hikes in the Southern Carpathians and river trips in the Danube Delta with family and friends, he developed an early love for the outdoors and the environment. Later on, he also developed a passion for physics and mathematics, successfully representing his country at two international physics olympiads.

After high-school, Cristi moved to the United States to pursue a degree in Physics and Applied Mathematics at Princeton University. It was there that he started pairing his two big passions by exploring several research areas in geophysics, such as analyzing numerical models of ocean currents, doing field work on tidal channels in the Bahamas, and developing statistical models to examine whether changes in the earth’s orbit could have influenced past climate. He continued his education with a PhD in Earth Sciences from Harvard University. Here his interests again wondered around between studying the nature of daily temperature extremes to studying the relationship between mid-ocean ridge volcanism, sea level, and carbon dioxide, before focusing on estimating Climate Sensitivity. At University of Washington, he is hoping to help constrain these estimates using information from historical changes in climate to complement widely used numerical simulations.

Cristi’s main hobbies are highly stereotypically of earth scientists: he enjoys, hiking, skiing and the great outdoors. He also tries to find time to spend with old friends, family, and, last but definetely not least, his wife Hannah.

Q&A with Cristi

Q: What do you like best abour working at JISAO?
A: The small and tightly-knight community in Wallace Hall. Also, the fact that there is a tree right outside my window!

Q: What has been your favorite project at JISAO?
A: The paper I just submitted, on understanding natural variability in the earth’s energy budget. I loved that it was a colalboration between people at JISAO (me), the Applied Physics Lab, Ocean Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, and Earth and Space Sciences.

Q: Any random facts you could share with us?
A: I don’t have kids, but apparently I’m very good at dad jokes.

Q: What aspect of your role do you enjoy most?
A: I love my day-to-day work, it is in service of a research question with relevance to society, and I get to do it with people I highly respect and enjoy collaborating with. It’s a dreamĀ  job!

More about Cristi