R. Alan Plumb

Professor Emeritus

Contact Info:

Office Phone






Alma Pellecer 617.324.1960

Prominent atmospheric scientist specializing dynamics of the troposphere and stratosphere, as well as global distribution of trace gases.

Alan Plumb is an expert in atmospheric dynamics, with specific interest in the stratosphere, the global distribution of trace gases, and large-scale tropospheric dynamics. His seminal research accomplishments include: many fundamental contributions to our understanding of wave-mean flow interaction in the atmosphere, including basic theoretical results of broad relevance as well as application to atmospheric phenomena such as the quasi-biennial oscillation; explanation of the roles of eddies and mean circulations in tracer transport; development of rigorous theoretical frameworks for interpreting tracer-tracer diagrams and “age of air” diagnostics derived from observations and numerical models of the stratosphere; technical and conceptual advances in our understanding of transport barriers, including the polar vortex edge and “tropical pipe”; and theory of the tropospheric Hadley circulations and monsoons, including elegant expositions of the role of angular momentum.

Plumb joined the MIT faculty in 1988, chairing the EAPS Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate from 2003 to 2008.

Key Awards & Honors

  • 2013 • Jule G. Charney Award, American Meteorological Society
  • 2002 • Fellow, American Meteorological Society
  • 2002 • Fellow, American Geophysical Union
  • 2001 • Haurwitz Lecturer, American Meteorological Society
  • 1998 • Fellow, Royal Society of London