Pablo Ortega Montilla

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I am a climate scientist with a broad range of interests, including paleoclimatology, ocean dynamics, decadal prediction and climate feedbacks. To date, the bulk of my research efforts has focused on studying the past to learn for the future, with particular interest in the fate of the ocean circulation and its climate impacts.

I obtained my PhD degree at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid as a member of the PalMA research team, analyzing last millennium ocean variability.

Since then, three postdoctoral stays have allowed me to acquire a unique profile both as a climate modeller and paleo-climatologist. During the first, at the LSCE,  I worked linking Greenland ice core variability to the large-scale atmospheric circulation. In the second, at LOCEAN, I investigated the mechanisms responsible for the decadal variability in the IPSL model and developed a novel nudging tecnique to improve the initialization of the Atlantic Overturning Meridional Circulation. My last postdoc, at NCAS-Climate, was focused on understanding the controls of multidecadal variability (and predictability) in the North Atlantic.

I currently co-lead, together with Louis-Philippe Caron, the Climate Prediction group in the Earth Science Department




  • Thornalley D., D. Oppo, P. Ortega, J. Robson, C. Brierley, R. Davis, I. Hall, L. Keigwin, P. Moffa- Sanchez, N. Rose, P. Spooner and I. Yashayaev Anomalously weak Labrador Sea convection and Atlantic overturning during the past 150 years", Nature 556, 227-230, 2018.
  • Alexander-Turner R., P. Ortega, J. Robson "How robust are the surface temperature fingerprints of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation on monthly time-scales? Geophysical Research Letters 45, 3559-3567, 2018. 
  • Swingedouw D., J. Mignot, Ortega P., M. Khodri, M. Menegoz, C. Cassou, V. Hanquiez, “Impact of explosive volcanic eruptions on the main climate variability modes”, Global and Planetary Change, 150, 24-45, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.01.006.
  • Ortega P., E. Guilyardi, D. Swingedouw, J. Mignot and S. Nguyen, “Reconstructing extreme AMOC events through nudging of the ocean surface: A perfect model approach”, Progress in Oceanography  49, 3425–3441, 2017, doi:10.1007/s00382-017-3521-4.
  • Guillet S., C. Corona, M. Stoffel, M. Khodri, F. Lavigne, P. Ortega, N. Eckert, P.D. Sielenou, V. Daux, O.V. Churakova (Sidorova), N. Davi, J.-L. Edouard, Y, Zhang, B. H. Luckman, V. S. Myglan, J. Guiot, M. Beniston, V. Masson-Delmotte and C. Oppenheimer, “Climate response to the Samalas volcanic eruption in 1257 revealed by proxy records”; Nature Geoscience 10,123-128, 2017, doi:10.1038/ngeo2875.
  • Hawkins E., P. Ortega, E. Suckling, A. Schurer, G. Hegerl, P. Jones, M. Joshi, T.J. Osborn, V. Masson-Delmotte, J. Mignot, P. Thorne and G.J. van Oldenborgh, “ Estimating changes in global temperature since the pre-industrial period”; BAMS 98, 1841-1856, 2017, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0007.1.​
  • Ortega P., J. Robson, R. Sutton and M. Andrews, “ Mechanisms of decadal variability in the Labrador Sea and the wider North Atlantic in a high-resolution climate model”, Climate Dynamics 49, 2625–2647, 2017, doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3467-y.
  • Moreno-Chamarro E., P. Ortega, F. González-Rouco and M. Montoya, “Assessing reconstruction techniques of the Atlantic Ocean circulation variability during the last millennium”; Climate Dynamics (Published online), doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3111-x.
  • Robson J., P. Ortega and R. Sutton, “A reversal of climatic trends in the North Atlantic since 2005”; Nature Geoscience 9, 513-517, 2016, doi:10.1038/ngeo2727.
  • Bolliet T., P. Brockmann, V. Masson-Delmotte, F. Bassinot, V. Daux, D. Genty, A. Landais, M. Lavrieux, E. Michel, P. Ortega, C. Risi, D.M. Roche, F Vimeux and C. Waelbroeck, “Water and carbon stable isotope records from natural archives: a new database and interactive online platform for data browsing, visualizing and downloading”; Climate of the Past 12, 1693-1719, 2016, doi:10.5194/cp-12-1693-2016.
  • Mignot J., J. García-Serrano, D. Swingedouw, A. Germe, S. Nguyen, E. Guilyardi, P. Ortega and S. Ray, “Decadal predictability skill in the ocean with surface nudging”; Climate Dynamics 47, 1225-1246, 2015, doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2898-1.
  • Masson-Delmotte V., H.C. Steen-Larsen, P. Ortega, D. Swingedouw, T. Popp, B.M. Vinther, H. Oerter, A.E. Sveinbjornsdottir, J.E .Box, S.Falourd, X. Fettweis, H. Gallée, E. Garnier, J. Jouzel, A. Landais, B. Minster, N. Paradis, A. Orsi, C. Risi, M. Werner, H. Gudlaugsdottir and J.W.C. White, “Recent changes in North West Greenland climate documented by NEEM shallow ice core data and simulations, and implications for past temperature reconstructions”. The Cryosphere 9, 1481-1504, 2015, doi: 10.5194/tc-9-1481-2015.
  • Ortega P., J. Mignot, D. Swingedouw, F. Sevellec and E. Guilyardi, “Reconciling two alternative mechanisms behind bi-decadal variability in the North Atlantic”. Progress in Oceanography 137 Part A, 237-249, 2015,doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2015.06.009.
  • Ortega P., F. Lehner, D. Swingedouw, V. Masson-Delmotte, C. Raible, M. Casado and P. Yiou, “A model-tested North Atlantic Oscillation reconstruction for the past millennium”. Nature 523, 71-74, 2015, doi: 10.1038/nature14518.
  • Zanchettin D., O. Bothe, F. Lehner, P. Ortega, D. Swingedouw and J. Jungclaus, “Reconciling reconstructed and simulated features of the winter Pacific-North-American pattern in the early 19th century”. Climate of the Past 11, 939-958, 2015, doi: 10.5194/cp-11-939-2015.
  • Swingedouw D., P. Ortega, J. Mignot, E. Guilyardi, V. Masson-Delmotte, P. G. Butler and M. Khodri, “Bidecadal North Atlantic ocean circulation variability controlled by timing of volcanic eruptions”. Nature Communications 6, 6545, 2015, doi: 10.1038/ncomms7545.
  • Ortega P., D. Swingedouw, V. Masson-Delmotte, C. Risi, B. Vinther, P. Yiou, R. Vautard and K. Yoshimura, “Characterising the atmospheric signals in Greenland ice cores: insights from the weather regime approach”. Climate Dynamics 43, pp 2585-2605, 2014, doi: 10.1007/s00382-014-2074-z.
  • Casado M., P. Ortega, V. Masson-Delmotte, C. Risi, D. Swingedouw, V. Daux, D. Genty, F. Maignan, O. Solomina, B. Vinther, N. Viovy, and P. Yiou, “Impact of precipitation intermittency on NAO-temperature signals in proxy records”, Climate of the Past 9, 871-886, 2013, doi: 10.5194/cp-9-871-2013.
  • Ortega, P., J. F. González-Rouco, M. Montoya and H. Beltrami, “Variability of the ocean heat content during the last millennium – an assessment with the ECHO-g Model”,Climate of the Past 9, 547-565, 2013, doi: 10.5194/cp-9-547-2013.
  • Ortega, P., M. Montoya, J. F. González-Rouco, J. Mignot and S. Legutke, “Variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation in the last millennium and two IPCC scenarios”, Climate Dynamics 38, 1925-1947, 2012 doi: 10.1007/s00382-011-1081-6.
  • Ortega, P., E. Hawkins and R. T. Sutton, “Processes governing the predictability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation in a coupled GCM”, Climate Dynamics 37, 1771–1782, 2011, doi: 10.1007/s00382-011-1025-1.


  • Ortega P., “Atmospheric science: Clouding the warming”; Nature Geoscience 9, 567–568, 2016, doi:10.1038/ngeo2758.
  • Ortega P., J. Robson, P. Moffa-Sanchez, D. Thornalley and D. Swingedouw, “A last millennium perspective on North Atlantic variability: exploiting synergies between models and proxy data”, Joint Issue of Clivar Exchanges/Past Global Changes Magazine 72, 61-67, 2017.
  • Goosse H., F. Klein, D. Swingedouw and P. Ortega, “Internal and forced decadal variability: lessons from the past millennium”, Joint Issue of Clivar Exchanges/Past Global Changes Magazine 72, 47-51, 2017.
  • H. Gallée, P. Ortega and H. Christian Steen-Larsen, “Rôle de la circulation atmosphérique de grande échelle”, Chapter 1.6 of the book Groenland : climat, ecologie et societe, CNRS éditions, 03/10/2016.
  • Ribes A. and P. Ortega, “Variabilité et changement du climat du Groenland au cours des deux cents dernières années”, Chapter 1.7 of the book Groenland : climat, ecologie et societe, CNRS éditions, 03/10/2016.
  • Masson-Delmotte V., P. Ortega and E. Gauthier, “Greater knowledge, better climate”, International Innovation 169, 59-61.