From 2001-2008 I was a research associate at the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, MA, where I worked with the Terrestrial Ecosystems Model (TEM), a biogeochemical model of the carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles. I am using this model to understand the effects of the land surface, particularly vegetation, on the global carbon cycle. For example, global warming is caused by emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), but not all the CO2 we emit into the atmosphere remains there because of absorption by the ocean and land surface. I am also running the NCAR CESM global climate model here at Lehigh on our 72 core Beowulf cluster, Lehigh’s Corona cluster, and the NSF’s Yellowstone supercluster. Several important questions include a) can we account for the land component of the 'carbon sink? b) how do changes in vegetation cover affect atmospheric CO2 and the resulting climate? c) how does the ability of vegetation to remove CO2 from the atmosphere change with a warmer climate? d) how will vegetation migrate with shifting climates, and e) how does air pollution affect vegetation productivity?
My major research foci are a) using the TEM model to determine the effects of tropospheric ozone on vegetation production and carbon storage, b) using TEM coupled to the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model to determine the economic consequences of policy decisions regarding air quality, c) developing more realistic carbon, water, and nitrogen linkages to capture the effects of carbon and nitrogen feedbacks on the hydrological cycle, d) exploring land use and land cover change implications for carbon dynamics, especially with respect to future crop growth for biofuels, and e) using global and regional climate models to understand climate change in the past and to determine the impacts of future climate change on ecosystems and the hydrological cycle. I have more recently been awarded funding from NSF’s Macrosystems Biology program to explore the effects of climate extremes (floods, droughts) on ecosystem functions and services, and from NSF’s Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Science (IBSS) program to study the effect of climate disasters on food supplies within a range of human societies.
During 2000/2001 I helped coordinate NOAA's Office of Global Programs (OGP)'s GCIP/GAPP (GEWEX Continental-scale International Project/GEWEX Americas Prediction Project, where GEWEX is the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment) program. Previous to that, I served as the climate scenarios coodinator for the U.S. National Assessment of the potential consequences of climate variability and change (details), following my postdoctoral research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (details). Please see my CV for list of publications and graduate research.