February 1, 2012:
We have one opening for either a post-doctoral fellow or graduate student to work on our urban heat island project.
For information on this position please contact
I am most interested in the part of the atmosphere in which we live—right at Earth's surface. The exchanges of energy, carbon, and water are important for the welfare of ecosystems, yet their complexities make them difficult to quantify, and even more difficult to predict how they might change in the future.
Members of the Twine Lab are currently working on the following topics:
Climate Change and Agroecosystems
Future effects of climate change on ecosystem goods and services in the Midwest will be dominated by the response of soybean, maize and wheat agriculture. We are working to reduce scientific uncertainty about how projected climate change will affect the functioning of agroecosystems in terms of regional energy, water, and carbon budgets. Because agroecosystems cover nearly 40% of the global land surface, results will have direct relevance to national and global environmental issues.
Future Food Security
The availability of food, as well as the health of global markets, will be impacted by how crops respond to climate change. As part of a group of international scientists, we are using future climate scenarios from a suite of IPCC AR5 models with our crop model to predict how maize and wheat yields might change as a result of climate change in the coming century. We are then developing adaptation strategies and testing them with our crop model to optimize yields in the face of climate change.
Effects of Land Cover Change for Biofuel Production
A key issue in the emerging biofuel industry is whether crops managed for biofuel production can be managed in an ecologically and economically sustainable way. Although there are various test plots of biofuel crops, it is difficult to estimate their potential effect on continental-scale energy, water, and carbon budgets without the use of numerical models. We are conducting modeling studies to simulate the effect of large-scale biofuel crop production on regional energy, water, and carbon budgets in the central U.S. and Brazil. Our goal is to identify possible distributions of land cover that might maximize yield with minimal negative impacts to water quantity and quality, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Islands in the Sun-Examining Urban Heat Islands
Most cities in the US are warming at twice the rate of outlying areas. With 3.5 billion people calling urban areas home, the built environment can exacerbate heat waves, pollution can impact human health, and excess energy consumption can cost billions of dollars. To further our understanding, we are examining characteristics of the top 100 urban heat islands around the world, developing an urban canyon model, and collecting air temperature every 15 minutes from a network of 200 sensors placed in residential backyards around the Twin Cities Metro Area. For more information on this project, please visit http://www.islands.umn.edu.