John Furlow


John Furlow is the Director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. He joined IRI in 2017 as its Deputy Director for Humanitarian Assistance and International Development and became its Director in May 2021.

Prior to coming to IRI, Furlow designed and led the Climate Change Adaptation Program in USAID’s climate change office. He advised the government of Jamaica in the development of its national climate change policy and its climate smart agriculture sector plan. John also led a project to develop Jamaica’s agro-climate service, which produces a seasonal forecast tailored for farmers and disseminated by text and agriculture extension workers. Furlow helped launch the Climate Services Partnership in 2011. In 2015, he worked at the US Department of State designing and managing the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network as part of US preparations for the UN Climate Conference in Paris.

Lisa Goddard

Senior Research Scientist

Short Bio

Lisa Goddard served as the director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society from 2012-2020. She is currently an IRI Senior Research Scientist and leads the institute’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 an IRI Senior Research Scientist and an adjunct associate professor within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Columbia University. She was IRI’s director from 2012-2020. Goddard 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.

Walter Baethgen

Senior Research Scientist
Head of Regional and Sectoral Research


Walter E. Baethgen is the Director of the Regional and Sectorial Research Program and leader for Latin America and the Caribbean in the IRI at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. He acted as Director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University between September 2016 and June 2017.  He has been establishing regional research and education 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 and for the private sector of several countries in Latin America.  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; and has been an editorial board member of several peer-reviewed journals.

In 2010 he received the Morosoli de Oro award, considered one of the highest recognitions of contribution to Uruguayan culture. Baethgen 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 the University of Uruguay. He has more than 200 publications to his credit.

Walter Baethgen CV: English  |  Español

Andrew W. Robertson

Senior Research Scientist
Head of Climate Group

Dr Andrew Robertson is a Senior Research Scientist and heads the IRI Climate Group. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences and teaches in the Master of Arts Program in Climate and Society. Graduating with a PhD in atmospheric dynamics, he has over 30 years of experience in topics ranging from midlatitude meteorology, coupled ocean-atmosphere climate dynamics, sub-seasonal and seasonal forecasting, downscaling, and tailoring of climate information for use in conjunction with sectoral models for climate adaptation and risk management. He has taught in capacity building training courses around the world. Robertson serves a co-chair of the WWRP/WCRP Sub-Seasonal to Seasonal Prediction Project (S2S).

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.

Robertson has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, which can be found on Google Scholar or Research Gate.