Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

New York University

 Full CV  |  sps246@nyu.edu  |  212.992.7469 

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University. I hold a Ph.D. (2011), an M. Phil. (2011) and an M.A. (2009) focusing in Atmospheric Science and Climatology from the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Physics from New York University (2006).

My research focuses on understanding interactions between climate change and variability, land-use, and agriculture, with an eye towards identifying and quantifying important feedbacks and uncertainties. My research utilizes a variety of tools and datasets, including global climate models, and observed and remote-sensing datasets, and I have recently been gaining experience with process-based crop models. I have undertaken numerous climate-agroecosystem assessments, with an emphasis on identifying metrics of system health and resilience in the face of climate change and variability, and socio-economic changes.

Previously, I was a NASA Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, and conducted much of my work through the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (www.agmip.org), which is undertaking integrated assessments of climate change and food security in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. I continue my work with AgMIP, and also use the NASA GISS global climate model to investigate global and regional climate-land surface interactions, and the impact of climate change and altered sea surface temperatures on the South Asian Summer Monsoon system. My work has appeared in Climate Dynamics, Paleoceanography, and Global Change Biology, and I present annually at major conferences, such as the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting.

Overview of research interest

My research strives to understand the interactions between global environmental change and human modifications to the land surface and resource base. With both a rigorous modeling and data-based approach, I wish to explore and develop sustainable solutions to key environmental, social and development challenges, particularly with respect to resilient agro-ecosystems. 

I believe that accomplishing the above will require efficient and innovative modes of public/private partnerships and communications that blend fact with inspiring stories of preserving and sustaining the environment and people.

Recent publications

*I publish under both “McDermid” and “Shukla” surname

McDermid, S.P., C. Montes, B. Cook, M. Puma, N. Kiang, I. Aleinov, and M. Puma. Regional and global climate responses to the explicit representation of agriculture and cropping calendars in the GISS ModelE2 global climate model (in review J. of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 2017)

McDermid S.P., L.O. Mearns, and A.C. Ruane. Representing agricultural landuse and management in Earth System Models: A review of approaches and priority development areas. (revised and resubmitted for Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 2017)

McDermid S.P. and J. Winter. (2017) Anthropogenic Forcings on the Climate of the Aral Sea: A Regional Modeling Perspective. Anthropocene. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2017.03.003 (in press as of 4/14/2017)

Ruane A.C, and S.P. McDermid. (2017) The selection of a representative subset of GCMs for integrated climate impacts assessment. Earth Perspectives, 4: 1. doi:10.1186/s40322-017-0036-4

A. Voigt, M. Biasutti, J. Scheff, J. Bader, S. Bordoni, F. Codron, R. Dixon, J. Jonas, S. Kang, N. Klingaman, L. Ruby Leung , J. Lu, B. Mapes, E. Maroon, S. McDermid, J. Park, R. Roehrig, B. Rose, G. Russell, J. Seo, T. Toniazzo, M. Yoshimori, L. Zeppetello. (2016) The Tropical Rain belts with an Annual cycle and a Continent Model Intercomparison Project: TRACMIP. J. of Adv. in Model. Earth Sys. doi:10.1002/2016MS000748

McDermid, S.P., G. Vellingiri, K. Bhuvaneswari, R. Gowtham, and L. Arunachalam (2016) The impacts of climate change on Tamil Nadu rainfed maize production: a multi-model approach to identifying sensitivities and uncertaintites. Current Science, 110(7): 1257-1271

Cook, B.I., S.P. Shukla, M.J. Puma, and L. Nazarenko (2014) Irrigation as an historical climate forcing. Climate Dynamics, early on-line, doi:10.1007/s00382-014-2204-7

Ruane A., McDermid, S.P., Rosenzweig, C., Baigorria, G., Jones J., Romero C., Cecil L. (2014) Carbon-Temperature-Water change analysis for peanut production under climate change: A prototype for the AgMIP Coordinated Climate-Crop Modeling Project (C3MP). Global Change Biology. 20(2):394-407. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12412

Shukla, S.P., M. J. Puma and B. Cook (2013) The Response of the South Asian Summer Monsoon Circulation to Intensified Irrigation in Global Climate Model Simulations. Climate Dynamics. doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1786-9

Shukla, S. P., M. A. Chandler, D. Rind, L. E. Sohl, J. Jonas, and J. Lerner (2011), Teleconnections in a Warmer Climate: The Pliocene Perspective, Climate Dynamics, 37: 9-10, 1869-1887, doi: 10.1007/s00382-010-0976-y

Shukla, S. P., M. A. Chandler, J. Jonas, L. E. Sohl, K. Mankoff, and H. Dowsett (2009), Impact of a permanent El Nino (El Padre) and Indian Ocean Dipole in warm Pliocene climates, Paleoceanography, 24, PA2221, doi:10.1029/2008PA001682.

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NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

My work here centers on helping to develop, test, and apply the GISS ModelE global climate model, specifically for problems related to altered surface (terrestrial and ocean) conditions and their interactions regional and global atmospheric circulation. My recent work has focused on evaluating the regional impacts of agricultural land use change and management, particularly across South Asia.

Columbia University

I work with researchers within the Earth Institute to combine remote-sensing (and other) analyses with modeling techniques to evaluate the resilience of varied agro-ecosystems in the face of global environmental change. My current projects bring these assessments to Madhya Pradesh, India, where we are working with a local NGO to understand regional farmer decision making and potential adaptation strategies.

I serve as a Research Resource Person and collaborator for our DFID-funded South Asian regional research assessments of the impact of climate change on small-holder farm systems. My work focuses on southern India, but I have also worked with our teams spanning five countries in South Asia. I also help to manage the Coordinated Climate-Crop Modeling Project (C3MP), which is engaging the global community of crop modelers to contribute experiments evaluating the sensitivity of many crops and models to changes in Carbon Dioxide Concentration, Temperature, and Water.

Teaching (my developed courses)

ENVST-UA 226.001 Climate Change

ENVST-UA 331.001 Food Production and Climate Change

ENVST-UA 310.001 Environmental Quantitative Methods

For more information on majoring in Environmental Studies, please visit Undergraduate Program of Study on our departmental webpage.

Advising appointments slots - click here



Public Lectures and Informal Publications

McDermid, S.P. (2013) Climate Change and Intensive Agricultural Landuse: Lessons from South Asia. Invited Speaker. Sustainability Summit, Breakout Session 1-3. March 6, Milwaukee, WI, USA.

McDermid, S.P. (2012) Confused Climates, Whacky Weather and Exasperated Experts: A Global Warming Primer. Public lecture, The Brooklyn Brainery, June 6, Brooklyn, NY, USA.

Memberships and Affiliations

American Geophysical Union

Food and the City
A working group through NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. Interdisciplinary discussion group of researchers tackling questions related to food and cultural evolution in the face of global environmental and socio-economic change across the globe.

Climate Voices, Science Speakers Network brings scientists and their fellow citizens together in discussions of climate science and local impacts of climate change.

Useful links

ClimateVoices  |  FCRN  |  CCAFS  |  GrowNYC  |  NASA GISS  |  Climate Central  |  RealClimate  |  AgMIP  | IFPRI