Here is the team page for the PIRE program. 

Principal Investigator:


Mathias Vuille

Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES), SUNY-Albany

Mathias Vuille is a climate scientist in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Bern in Switzerland in 1995 and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on climate change, paleoclimate and major topics in environmental science. His research focuses on tropical paleoclimate and climate change impacts and glacier retreat in the tropical Andes. He has been involved in adaptation projects on behalf of UNESCO, the Interamerican Development Bank and the World Bank, and served as a senior fellow for the U.S. State Department’s Program on Energy and Climate Partnerships in the Americas (ECPA). He has served as a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as Associate Editor for Geophysical Research Letters and as a member of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA). He is currently a member of the Science Leadership Council of the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on climate change in South America. Read more>



Natalia Ruiz Menal

Natalia Ruiz Menal

Communication & Project Manager. DAES, SUNY-Albany

During her professional experience, she has worked as a marketing and communication project manager in communications and advertising agencies, using the latest technologies to give the maximum visibility to their projects.

Before joining UAlbany she was working in ESRI Spain, where among other tasks; she developed the company's digital marketing strategy, including different plans for recruitment, conversion and loyalty in the different digital channels: Web, Emailing, and social networks.

Since July 2018, she is the Communication & Project Manager of the PIRE CREATE project at University of Albany.


Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs)



Rosanne D’Arrigo

Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Columbia University, Palisades, NY

Rosanne D’Arrigo is a Lamont Research Professor at the Tree-Ring Laboratory and the Associate Director of the Division of Biology and PaleoEnvironment at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, part of Columbia University, in Palisades, New York. She is a dendroclimatologist who has used the science of tree-ring analysis to study trees in a range of environments, including the boreal forests of North America and the forests of Monsoon Asia and South America, in order to reconstruct the past climate variability in these regions and across the globe.





Ricardo Villalba

Ricardo Villalba

Argentina Institute for Snow, Glacier and Environmental Research (IANIGLA), Mendoza, Argentina

Ricardo Villalba is a CONICET Senior Researcher working at the Argentinean Institute for Snow, Ice and Environmental Sciences (IANIGLA), Mendoza, Argentina. Forestry Engineer (Universidad Nacional de La Plata), Master in Forestry Photointerpretation (CIAF, Universidad de Nacional de Colombia), Doctor in Geography (University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA), with postdoctoral studies at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, in New York, USA.  He has contributed to 250 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters. Scopus index h = 41 (Sep - 2018). Editor of 4 special issues in Quaternary International (2006), Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (2009) and Climate of the Past (2012 and 2015). Associate Editor (Geomorphology and Landscape Ecology) of Dendrochronologia (2002-2014), and Board Member of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology  (2011-2017). Member of PAGES Steering Committee, International Geosphere and Biosphere Program (IGBP, 2003-2009). Lead-author  of the Fourth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2004-2007).  Director of the Argentinean Institute for Snow, Ice and Environmental Sciences (IANIGLA-CONICET), Mendoza (2005-2015). Among other distinctions he received from the International Tree Ring Society the Harold C. Fritts Award in recognition for a lifetime dedicated to education and the study of the sciences of tree rings. He supervises numerous fellows and researchers from CONICET and other national and international scientific institutions. Fields of interest: tree -rings, paleoclimatology, climate change, impacts of climate changes on water resources and forests.




Francisco W. Cruz, PIRE-FAPESP Director, University of Sao Paulo (USP), Sao Paulo, Brazil


Aiguo Dai, DAES, SUNY-Albany


Catherine Lawson, Albany Visualization and Informatics Lab (AVAIL), SUNY-Albany




Senior Personel: 


Jason Smerdon

  • LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

Jason Smerdon is a Lamont Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. He also holds appointments at Columbia University as an Earth Institute Faculty Member and as Co-Director of the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development.  He teaches courses on climate, environmental change and sustainable development to undergraduate and graduate students.  Smerdon also lectures widely in public and private settings on the subject of climate change and its social dimensions.  
Smerdon’s research focuses on climate variability and change during the past several millennia and how past climates can help us understand future climate change. He publishes widely in the scientific literature on paleoclimate reconstruction techniques, the dynamics of past climate change and variability, and on assessing climate model simulations of the past and future using paleoclimatic information.  In 2013, Smerdon served as a Contributing Author to Assessment Report Five (WG1) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  He is co-author (with Ed Mathez) of the book Climate Change: The Science of Global Warming and Our Energy Future (Columbia University Press, October 2018)
Smerdon received his B.A. in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College and his Ph.D. in applied physics from the University of Michigan.


Park Williams

Park Wiliams

LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

I am a bioclimatologist whose research straddles the fields of climatology and ecology. I am especially interested in the climatological causes and the ecological consequences of drought. My research aims to improve understanding of drought and its effects on terrestrial systems, including forests, the carbon cycle, agriculture, and humanity. My ultimate goal is to advance scientific knowledge in ways that are relevant to policy makers and future scientific endeavors, and also interesting to the public and other scientists. Read more>




Heather Senecal

Heather Senecal


Heather Senecal, MPA, is an Associate with the Center for International Development at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York where she focuses on designing capacity development programs as well as developing monitoring and evaluation plans for programs. Her work has seen her stationed in Uganda, Kenya and Afghanistan for long term technical assistance with field teams.  Ms. Senecal’s current projects focus on capacity development of local officials through skills-based training to enable them to design policies that will deliver essential services in Haiti and in Kenya.  

Ms. Senecal’s monitoring and evaluation work at the Center concentrates on designing performance management systems, data collection tools and protocols, using data to support adaptive management and improvement, and data for reporting.  She also is developing a collaborative monitoring and learning approach for a Sustainable Community in Haiti that will bring together over ten SUNY campuses, four local partner and the local community to share data, build collaborative feedback systems, and effective reporting structures. 
Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Senecal served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa as a Community Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Volunteer. Her work with schools, community groups, farming cooperatives and youth leaders taught her that the only type of development that is sustainable is based on a locally developed plan and harnesses the power of the community.    


Eric Krans

Eric Krans

Program Manager– Albany Visualization and Informatics Lab (AVAIL)

Eric Krans manages business development at AVAIL including: project management; reporting; client interaction; grant writing; graphic design; and marketing. Mr. Krans has experience delivering projects on schedule and meeting milestones with clients ranging from low-income urban constituents to state departments, national foundations, and federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. 





Joseph Skrivanek

SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Purchase University

Joseph Skrivanek is Professor of Chemistry and the founding Director of the Baccalaureate and Beyond Community College Mentoring Program at Purchase College, SUNY. The Purchase Program is designed to provide community college students at seven SUNY community colleges with a seamless transition to the four-year institution. The Baccalaureate and Beyond Community College Mentoring Program received the President’s Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Dr. Skrivanek is presently leading the SUNY Replication Project that is replicating the activities of the Purchase Baccalaureate and Beyond Program throughout the SUNY System. Dr. Skrivanek received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Chemistry from the University of Scranton and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Pennsylvania State University. After postdoctoral work at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he joined the faculty at Purchase College in 1979. In addition to being a Chemistry faculty member, he has held numerous positions at the College including Chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Programs, Dean of Natural Sciences, and Chair of the two Middle States Steering Committees. Dr. Skrivanek was named a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor by SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson in 2018.


Mariano Morales

Mariano Morales

IANIGLA, Mendoza, Argentina

Mariano Morales is a research scientist from the Argentinean Research Council (CONICET). He works at the Argentine Institute of Nivology, Glaciology and Environmental Sciences in Mendoza. Mariano’s research interest is focused on tree-ring climate reconstructions in South American, dendroarchaeology in the South American Altiplano and the long-term dynamics of montane forest under climatic and anthropogenic changes in Central and Patagonian Andes. His current research projects include the development of a South America Drought Atlas for the last 600 years, their impacts on ecosystems and the relationship with socio-cultural changes during pre-Columbian and historical times.



Cecelia M. Skott

Center for International Development (SUNY/CID), Rockefeller College, SUNY-Albany

Cecelia M. Skott is a Senior Associate at the State University of New York Center for International Development (SUNY/CID).  She has more than 30 years’ international development experience in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa.   She works primarily on donor-funded democracy and governance projects, including efforts to create formal and informal linkages between scientists, citizens, and other stakeholders with policy-makers, planners, and government officials.  In addition to bringing her expertise in human capacity development, training, and environmental sciences to SUNY/CID’s lifetime portfolio of 125 projects worth more than $300 million, Ms. Skott was a founding board member of Instituto Internacional de Educação do Brasil (www.iieb.org.br), a nonprofit institution dedicated to empowering people and strengthening organizations in the areas of natural resource management, land management and other topics related to environmental sustainability.  Prior to joining SUNY/CID, Ms. Skott was a volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps in Paraguay and a park ranger for the US Army Corps of Engineers.   She earned an M.A. in geography from the University at Albany with a specialization in remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems, and a B.A. in environmental studies from Alfred University.  Ms. Skott speaks Spanish and Portuguese.  


Nicolas Strikis

Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

I am a geochemistry and peloclimate scientist in the Department of Geochemistry at Fluminense Federal University.
My research is focused on paleoclimate reconstruction of tropical precipitation based on isotope and geochemical record on speleothems. I have been working on understanding how changes in the ocean heat transport and atmospheric radiative forcing, like volcanic aerosol emissions and solar irradiance, impacts global monsoon precipitation.
I'm teaching to graduate and undergraduate courses in paleoclimatology, geochemistry and paleontology.




Laia Andreu-Hayles, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

Eduardo Goes Neves USP, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Ivo Karmann USP, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Gregório Ceccantini, USP, Sao Paulo, Brazil  

Giuliano M. Locosselli USP, Sao Paulo, Brazil 

Nicolas Strikis, Universidade Federal Fluminense

Eugenia Ferrero, IANIGLA, Mendoza, Argentina


    Pstdoctoral Students:


    Ernesto Tejedor Vargas

    Ernesto Tejedor Vargas

    DAES, SUNY-Albany

    Dr. Ernesto Tejedor Vargas is a physical geographer who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Zaragoza (Spain) in May 2017. Tejedor’s Ph.D. research focused on understanding past climate variability, particularly that which precedes the pre-industrial era, through the combination of high-resolution proxy proxies, such as tree-ring records or historical documents. In July 2018, he joined the research group of Dr. Mathias Vuille at UAlbany and is currently working on the PIRE Create project to better understand Last Millennium climate variability and societal impacts over the Americas by combining high-resolution proxies and Climate Model Simulations.In addition, he is very committed to outreach and has produced a long documentary on climate change and paleoclimatology www.chasingtracespast.com), and directed a short documentary on dendroclimatology (www.dendroteam.com).




    Nathan Steiger, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

    Ben Gaglioti, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

    Milagros Rodriguez, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades, NY






    Graduate Students:


    Arianna Varuolo-Clarke 

    Columbia University, Palisades, NY

    Arianna is a PhD Student at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, where she is broadly interested in understanding large-scale hydroclimate variability over South America. Arianna completed her MS in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University where her research investigated the topographic influences on the North American monsoon in climate model simulations.  Arianna received her BS in Atmospheric Sciences from Lyndon State College. During her time at Lyndon State College, Arianna became interested in science communication and visited local high school classrooms to talk about climate change. She hopes to build a career at the intersection of science, policy, and communication by doing research centered on regional climate change and working with policy analysts and decision makers to help build robust science-based policies to create a sustainable world. Her hobbies include hiking, yoga, and talking about climate change with anyone and everyone who will listen. 



    Rebecca Orrison 

    DAES, SUNY-Albany

    Rebecca Orrison is a Ph.D. student working under the advisement of Dr. Mathias Vuille at the University at Albany in the Department of Atmospheric Science. Her research focuses on the past, present, and future variability and change of South American Climate, particularly the South American Monsoon System. This work is approached from a modeling framework and compares simulations with proxy records and observations.  Rebecca holds a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Minnesota, a background that lends an interdisciplinary perspective to the study of atmospheric science. Rebecca is excited about developing international and cross-disciplinary scientific collaborations as well as conversations about the policy relevance of findings from her research.  Beyond research, her hobbies include dancing, biking, and boxing. 



    Thomas Favata

    DAES, SUNY-Albany

    Thomas Favata is a first year Atmospheric Science PhD student the University at Albany studying the impact of multidecadal modes of variability on extreme precipitation in the Americas. He received his undergraduate degree in Atmospheric science from Cornell University. Previously interned at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and worked on predicting Indian monsoonal rainfall using a sequential neural network. He grew up in Niskayuna, NY with his parents Tom and Laura, and his 2 siblings Julia and Dominick. He is a huge sports fan and loves playing board games.




    Zhaoxiangrui He

    Zhaoxiangrui He.

    DAES, SUNY-Albany 

    I am a graduate student at the University at Albany, SUNY, working under the advisement of Prof. Mathias Vuille and co-advisor Prof. Aiguo Dai. I received my B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the Chengdu University of Information Technology in 2016, and M.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018.






    Rose Oelkers, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades, NY