Kris headshot CIRES
Fellow and Associate Professor


SEEC (East Campus)
N228A (Office)  |  N232 (Lab)
Boulder, CO 80303

List of Publications  |  Full CV (PDF)

Brief Bio: Kris Karnauskas is a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, with secondary faculty appointments in the CU School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health. Prior to joining the CU Boulder faculty, Kris spent six years on the faculty of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography (also teaching at Boston College) followed by sabbatical at the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL) in Paris, France through a Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Kris completed his B.S. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ph.D. at the University of Maryland-College Park, both in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Ocean and Climate Physics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Kris currently serves as Editor for AGU's Geophysical Research Letters and Section Editor for PLOS Climate, and recently served on the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) of the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (US CLIVAR). Kris was the recipient of the 2017 Ocean Sciences Early Career Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) "for important contributions to better understanding the tropical oceans and atmosphere." During the spring of 2022, Kris was on sabbatical at Harvard University's Center for the Environment. In 2023, Kris became a founding co-chair of the Joint US CLIVAR/NIH Working Group on Climate & Health.

Mission Statement: The Oceans and Climate Lab at CU Boulder explores the dynamics of the coupled Earth system toward useful predictions of impacts ranging from marine ecosystems to human health. Through teaching, Professor Karnauskas aims to equip students with the tools to investigate, communicate and act intelligently on matters of global change.

Teaching at CU Boulder: Professor Karnauskas enjoys teaching the full spectrum of students at CU Boulder about the oceans and climate, from freshman non-science majors to doctoral candidates. Kris typically teaches ATOC 4730/5730: Physical Oceanography and Climate in the fall, which is one of the 'fundamentals' courses in the ATOC Major and is crosslisted for graduate students from other fields. In the spring, Kris typically teaches ATOC 1060: Our Changing Environment (a.k.a. "climate science 101") or ATOC 4215: Descriptive Physical Oceanography (a new course blending lectures and projects). Professor Karnauskas also occasionally offers ATOC/GEOL 3070: Introduction to Oceanography in the summer. Finally, a one-credit graduate seminar is offered each semester focused generally on climate dynamics (ATOC 6020), which is open to graduate students but interested undergrads and postdocs are also welcome to participate.

Personal Interests: Kris is an avid road biker, trail runner, and super proud father of two. Frequently sighted coaching little league baseball.