Lisa Goddard

Director of IRI
Senior Research Scientist

Short Bio

Lisa Goddard is the Director of Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and leads IRI’s research efforts on understanding and predicting climate change on the 10-20 year horizon. She is also an adjunct associate professor in Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Goddard is a globally recognized expert on El Niño and La Niña, decadal prediction and near-term climate change. She sits on the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the U.S. National Academies of Science, as well as four others. She also co-chairs CLIVAR, which advises and coordinates international research on climate and the oceans under the World Climate Research Programme. In 2007, she developed PACE, a national post-doctoral program that explicitly links recent climate Ph.D.s with decision making institutions.


Lisa Goddard is the director of the IRI and an adjunct associate professor within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Columbia University. She has been involved in El Nino and climate forecasting research and operations since the mid 1990s. She has extensive experience in forecasting methodology and has published papers on El Nino, seasonal climate forecasting and verification, and probabilistic climate change projections. Currently leading the IRI’s effort on near-term climate change, Goddard oversees research and product development aimed at providing climate information at the 10-20 year horizon and how that low frequency variability and change interacts with the probabilistic risks and benefits of seasonal-to-interannual variability. Most of Goddard’s research focuses on diagnosing and extracting meaningful information from climate models and available observations. She also developed and oversees a new national post-doctoral program, the Post-docs Applying Climate Expertise Program (PACE), which explicitly links recent climate PhDs with decision making institutions. In addition, she sits on five scientific advisory panels and co-chairs two working groups.

Goddard holds a PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences from Princeton University and a BA in physics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Research Interests

Goddard pursues several lines of research aimed at improving the quality and content of climate predictions. This goal is approached with a focus on climate diagnostics and predictability. Research areas include

  • Near-term climate change,
  • El Nino/La Nina and their impact on climate variability and predictability,
  • Methodologies for identifying the relative importance of regional SSTs to regional climate variability,
  • Assessment of climate prediction tools, and
  • Strategies for advancing research, development and implementation of climate forecasts.

Goddard also contributes to the real time production of IRI’s ENSO outlook and seasonal climate forecasts.

Haresh Bhojwani

Deputy Director

Role At IRI

Haresh Bhojwani plays a lead role in establishing partnerships with governments and international development organizations. His work has helped to implement science-informed economic development, adaptation, and disaster risk management programs and policies. He advises and supports researchers in their efforts to establish partnerships, programs, and funding sources. Bhojwani also works internationally to advocate for equity-based science supported collaborations such as the Global Framework for Climate Services and the Climate Services Partnership. He is a member of the senior management team, which is responsible for institutional strategy, planning, execution, reporting, and evaluation.


Bhojwani has more than 20 years of experience in international development, social reform, equity, and justice issues. He worked in El Salvador with refugees and ex-combatants to establish communities during the transition to peace in 1993 and 1994. He created the first legal services for the indigent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and represented long-term detainees and human rights victims in the U.S. and Spain. From 1999 to 2005, Bhojwani worked with indigenous communities, NGOs, the private sector, and government agencies to establish and manage economic development programs in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil. His experience in legal, management, negotiation, training, and science-policy interactions have led him to consult for and advise organizations working in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Walter Baethgen

Senior Research Scientist
Head of Regional and Sectoral Research


Walter E. Baethgen is head of the Regional and Sectorial Research Program and leader of the Latin America and the Caribbean program in the IRI at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. At the IRI he has been establishing regional research programs that aim to improve climate risk assessment and risk management in agriculture, health, water resources, and natural ecosystems. Between August 2010 and April 2012, Baethgen acted as Distinguished Lead Scholar of the NEXUS program of the Fulbright Foundation, which aims to inform the elaboration of policy with scientific research. Before joining the IRI, Baethgen was a senior scientist in the Research and Development Division of IFDC, where he worked mainly in Information and Decision Support Systems for the Agricultural Sector (1987-2003). In that role he established and coordinated regional research programs in Latin America in collaboration with national and international organizations.

Baethgen has acted as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, UNDP, UNIDO, FAO, the IAEA, The World Bank and IICA. He also acted as consultant for the governments of Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Guatemala and Uruguay, and for the private sector in Argentina, Uruguay, and Venezuela. He was a lead author for IPCC’s Second (1995) and Third (2001) Assessments Reports and contributing author for the Fourth Assessment (2007), as well as the review editor for the IPCC special issue, Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer (2000). He serves or has served as a member of scientific advisory committees of several international organizations including the CGIAR Science Council, IAI, CIIFEN, VAMOS-WCRP, IGBP, and WMO. Baethgen is an editorial board member of the peer-reviewed journals Agricultural Systems (Elsevier Science) and Journal of the International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO), and a regular reviewer for scientific journals of USA, Europe, and Latin America.

In 2010 Baethgen received the Morosoli de Oro award, considered one of the highest recognitions of contribution to Uruguayan culture. He obtained his PhD and MS degrees in crop and soil environmental sciences from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his BS in agricultural engineering from he University of Uruguay. He has more than 150 publications to his credit

Walter Baethgen CV

Andrew W. Robertson

Senior Research Scientist
Head of Climate Group


After graduating from the University of Leeds, UK, with a BS in mathematics and geography, Andrew Robertson received an MS from Imperial College, London in atmospheric physics and dynamics, and a PhD in atmospheric dynamics from the University of Reading in 1984, under the supervision of Brian Hoskins. He held postdoctoral and research positions at the Universities of Paris, Munich, and UCLA prior to joining the IRI in 2001.

Research Interests

Robertson has authored over 90 peer-reviewed publications, a full list of which can be found here:  His research interests include:

  • regional climate variability, predictability and change
  • probabilistic daily rainfall modeling
  • predictability of weather-within-climate
  • climate downscaling methodologies
  • tailoring of climate information for use in conjunction with sectoral models for climate adaptation and risk management

Role at the IRI

Robertson currently leads the IRI Climate Group.   He also teaches in the Master of Arts Program in Climate and Society in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences.