Lareef Zubair works in the areas of climate, environment, adaptation and technological advancement for the tropics for the last two decades. He undertakes research on climate systems, adaptation approaches and uses these for generating practical solutions in tropical venues (Sri Lanka, Botswana, Maldives and Comoros). His work is undertaken through projects in partnership with decision makers and other researchers and educators. Through these projects, he enables the work of local researchers and entrains younger scientists. He has also advocated and put in place resources such as on the improved use of geophysical information, for improved climate literacy, preservation of meteorological observatories, better access to data for research, and against projects such as the sethusamudaram canal project. He contributes to dissemination and public understanding through features and articles and other outlets. He is serving as the principal scientist of the Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology (FECT) in Sri Lanka, and as a researcher at Columbia University and a visiting lecturer at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka.
He was at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University where he undertook research, project work, training and education on climate adaptation and risk management. He also served as a Post-Doctoral Associate in Mathematics and Engineering at Yale University, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Environmental Engineering and Computational Mathematics at the University of Peradeniya and Institute of Fundamental Studies in Sri Lanka and as a post-doctoral fellow at the University Consortium for Atmospheric Research at Boulder, Colorado.
He received a B.Sc in Engineering from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in 1987 and a M.S and a Ph.D. focusing on fluid turbulence, non-linear dynamics, and diagnostics from Yale University, U.S.A. in 1989 and 1993 respectively.