Earth Institute Staff Directory

Ching-Yao Lai

Lamont Postdoctoral Fellow , Marine Geology & Geophysics , Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) , The Earth Institute

109D Oceanography
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
61 Route 9W
Palisades, NY 10964

BIOGRAPHY: I am a fluid mechanicist/climate scientist currently studying the physical processes governing the vulnerability of ice shelves in a warming climate. My general approach is to reconcile idealized models with nature's complexity. I obtained my PhD degree in fluid mechanics under the supervision of Howard Stone from Princeton University in 2018 with a thesis entitled “Fluid-Structure Interactions for Energy and the Environment.” I use idealized mathematical models, laboratory experiments, and simulations to explore a range of problems involving the interplay between fluid flows, fractures, deformable structures, and multiphase interfacial flows, with applications ranging from nature to technology. In 2018 I joined Lamont as a Lamont Postdoctoral Fellow to study the mechanics of collapsing ice shelves. I enjoy exploring new approaches to problems and the surprises lying at the intersections of disciplines. I am now combining physics-based models and deep learning to understand fracture patterns in continent-wide satellite imagery and predict changes of fracture stability in response to atmospheric warming.

I will join Princeton Univeristy in January 2021 as an assistant professor in the program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) and the department of Geoscience (GEO). If you are interested in working with me and enthusiastic about modeling, experiments, or machine-learning approaches to study fluids and its applications in ice-sheets dynamics, I encourage you to get in touch.


C. Y. Lai, J. Kingslake, M. Wearing, P.-H. Cameron Chen, P. Gentine, H. Li, J. Spergel, J. M. van Wessem, “Vulnerability of Antarctica’s ice shelves to meltwater-driven fracture," Nature, 584, 574–578 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2627-8

C. Y. Lai, J. Eggers, and L. Deike, “Bubble bursting: universal cavity and jet profiles" Phys. Rev. Lett., 121, 144501 (2018). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.144501

C. Y. Lai, B. Rallabandi, A. Perazzo, Z. Zheng, S. Smiddy, and H. A. Stone “Foam-driven fracture," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 201808068 (2018). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1808068115

H. S. Rabbani, D. Or, Y. Liu, C. Y. Lai, N. Lu, S. S. Datta, H. A. Stone, and N. Shokri, “Suppressing viscous fingering in structured porous media,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 201800729 (2018). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1800729115

C. Y. Lai, Z. Zheng, E. Dressaire, G. Ramon, H. E. Huppert, H. A. Stone, “Elastic relaxation of fluid-driven cracks and the resulting backflow," Phys. Rev. Lett., 117, 268001 (2016). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.268001

G. Davies*, R. Edwards*, C. Y. Lai*, B. Perry*, and K. Spokas*, “Institutional Emissions and Energy Planning: Understanding the interactions between carbon accounting, institutional goal setting, and energy procurement," published by the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University (2019). *Equally contributed