Prof. Russell's research focuses on the ocean's role in climate. Her earlier work on the westerly winds led to her greatest research accomplishment so far: the creation of a new paradigm in climate science, namely that warmer climates produce stronger westerly winds. This insight solved one of the long-standing climate paradoxes, the mechanism responsible for transferring one-third of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into the ocean and then back out again during our repeated glacial-interglacial cycles.
Her recent work includes: patterns of drought in the continental US; the interactions and feedbacks between orogeny and orography and regional and global climate; and the circulation of the methane atmosphere on Saturn’s moon Titan. Prof. Russell continues active collaboration with the GFDL Earth System Model and Climate Model Development Teams, and is currently serving as a member of the U.S. CLIVAR Office, Process Studies and Model Improvements Panel.