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Assistant Professor



Dr. Johnson is a hydrometeorologist and climate scientist from the San Francisco Bay Area. He completed his B.S. in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, M.S. in atmospheric science at Ball State University, and PhD in climate science at Utah State University. He also was a postdoc scholar at Purdue University. 
Dr. Johnson has experience in operational forecasting and research. He previously held a position at an energy company as a meteorologist, has served on the American Meteorological Society Energy Committee, and has provided radio forecasts to Utah's NPR affiliate. His research interests are interdisciplinary within the earth system, such as the remote ocean impact on midlatitude climates, seasonal tropical cyclone landfall risk, drought predictability, and inter-basin interactions.

  • Johnson, Z. F., D. Chavas, and H. Ramsay, 2022: Statistical framework for western Pacific landfall risk through modulation of the Pacific subtropical high and ENSO. Journal of Climate.
  • Chikamoto, Y., Z. F. Johnson, S.-Y. Wang, M. J. McPhaden, and T. Mochizuki, 2020: El Niño Southern Oscillation evolution modulated by the Atlantic forcing. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125, e2020JC016318.
  • Johnson, Z. F., Y. Chikamoto, S.-Y. Wang, M. J. McPhaden, and T. Mochizuki, 2020: Pacific Decadal Oscillation remotely forced by the equatorial Pacific and the Atlantic. Climate Dynamics, 55, 789–811.
  • Johnson, Z. F., Y. Chikamoto, J-J Luo, and T. Mochizuki, 2018: Ocean impacts on Australian interannual to decadal precipitation variability. Climate, 6, 61.
  • Johnson, Z. F., and N. M. Hitchens, 2018: Effects of soil moisture on longitudinal dryline position in the southern Great Plains. J. Hydrometeor., 19, 273–287.
Ph.D. Climate Science, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, 2020
M.S. Atmospheric Science, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, 2017
B.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, 2014

El Niño-Southern Oscillation predictability and mechanisms

Remote ocean forcing on midlatitude climate

Inter-basin interactions

Drought predictability

Seasonal tropical cyclone activity

Climate modeling

Integration of earth-system

Courses Taught

MET 140: Severe and Unusual Weather