Programmatic staff who facilitate Research and Regions, Leaders Forum, Executive Committee, and Steering Council
Alex Ruane 

Science Coordinator, NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, USA 

Dr. Alex Ruane is a Research Physical Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an adjunct Associate Research Scientist at the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research in New York City. Alex serves as the Science Coordinator and Climate Team Leader for the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP;, an international, transdisciplinary project connecting climate science, crop modeling, and economic modeling to place regional agricultural impacts of climate change into their global economic context to assess uncertainties, vulnerability, and world food security.

Alex’s research uses a variety of climate and impacts assessment models to examine the influence of climate variability and change on a variety of sectors including agriculture, water resources, urban areas, infrastructure, energy, and human health, leading to the development of adaptation strategies and decision support tools for stakeholders and policy makers who need to understand vulnerabilities and uncertainties to successfully manage risk. Alex leads the Coordinated Climate-Crop Modeling Project (C3MP; in its investigations of climate sensitivity at more than 1000 worldwide crop and livestock simulation sets, and has developed the AgMERRA climate forcing dataset to support agricultural impacts modeling. Alex also works to develop new methods to tailor climate scenarios for unique applications around the world, and investigates observational methods, high-frequency variations, and extreme characteristics of hydroclimate.

Alex conducted his doctoral work studying the water cycle in the climate group at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and received a B.S. in atmospheric science at Cornell University.

Terry Nipp 

Director for Policy and Development, AEGIS Ltd., USA

Dr. Terry Nipp is a Research Consultant with the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research in New York City. Dr. Nipp is the Vice President for Research at AEGIS – Agricultural and Environmental Geographic Information Systems, Ltd., and a Senior Scientist at Texas A&M’s Blackland Research and Extension Center. Terry serves as the Director for Policy and Development for the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). He has lead responsibility for developing interdisciplinary and multi-institutional teams to work with federal agencies, stakeholders, public interest groups and the private sector to design and implement projects that support mitigating and adapting to climate impacts on agriculture and food systems. Terry is currently focused on projects that support the development of climate smart agriculture and forestry practices to improve soil carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These projects are developed by working with stakeholders, developing common protocols for data and modeling approaches, developing multi-model approaches, and conducting regional integrated assessments of climate and agricultural systems. 

For his doctoral work on wheat and tillage practices at Oklahoma State University, Terry focused on identifying traits that would enhance crop performance under reduced tillage conditions and resulting changes in soil moisture and temperatures. Terry received an M.A. from the Stanford Food Research Institute, an M.S. in Biology, and Joint BAs in Political Science and Human Biology from Stanford University.

Erik Mencos Contreras

Program Manager, Columbia University, USA

Erik Mencos Contreras is a Senior Research Associate at Columbia University. He supports the AgMIP Coordination Unit by working collaboratively with program managers, researchers, Columbia University finance officers, and sponsor agency officials on the overall research coordination and financial management of the program. Erik contributes to the writing and editing of scientific papers and books, as well as white papers, concept notes, and reports. He was Chapter Scientist and Contributing Author for the Food Security chapter in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land. He also leads the organization and execution of multi-disciplinary workshops worldwide. He liaises with international partners at all levels of the program, including Regional Research Teams in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia; Research Leaders in the U.S., Europe, and Australia; and the AgMIP Steering Council, comprised of internationally renowned experts in the field. Erik has a Masters in Climate and Society from Columbia University and a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico.
Natalie Kozlowski

Staff Associate, Columbia University, USA

Natalie Kozlowski is a Staff Associate at Columbia University. She supports the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Program (AgMIP) and assists through the creation of graphical representations to communicate key scientific concepts and results. She also supports the AgMIP Coordination Unit through the organization and execution of workshops and drafting of workshop reports. Natalie has a Masters in Geography and Paleoecology from the University of Oregon and a Bachelors in Environmental Geology from Colgate University.