I always found it productive to follow my curiosity, pursuing ideas that ‘spark joy’, even if it goes against the current of the time. Past climates have very helpful in that regard, because it provides valuable (if imperfect) empirical clues on how the Earth system works.
The descriptions are somewhat wordy, but I want to convey the situation and thinking that led me down these paths. Most research topics arose serendipitously: chancing on a paper or a talk that caught my interest, or a conversation with a colleague.
Some ideas caught on quickly, like the ITCZ shifts. Others took longer - the Pacific Meridional Mode languished for years before gaining wider acceptance. I’m still waiting on takers for the Split Jet idea. I don’t mind - it allows for more time to develop them.
I ordered the topics in some loose combination of relevance to current research, and the time and effort I have put into them. I do not include some recent interests (Western US rainfall, Pacific cold tongue dynamics) that are still in early stages.