Our research focuses on two main themes and the relationship between them. The first involves determining how natural processes and human activities influence the distribution of water within the Earth system and assessing the extent that variations in this distribution are predictable. The second involves determining the size, variability, and potential future changes to reservoirs and fluxes of carbon within the Earth system. The water and carbon cycle of the Earth's climate system represent unique and important perspectives for undertaking Earth science research and are closely connected through their interactions with the global energy cycle.
Specific areas of research pertaining to the above include developing techniques for observing a number of critical components of the global water cycle from space borne sensors. Examples include soil moisture, the amount of water contained in snow cover, and the temporal and spatial delineation of the terrestrial freeze-thaw process. The first two of these play a critical role in our ability to accurately predict long-range weather and seasonal climate variations. The latter plays a critical role in determining the length of the growing season within the biosphere and thus strongly influences variations in the terrestrial carbon sink. All these observations provide important constraining information on global climate models used for projections of global climate change. Additional research includes the use of a number of satellite-derived products of the atmospheric component of the water cycle, such as water vapor, cloud water and ice, and rainfall, to better understand and model cloud processes, and their influence on the evolution of Earth's weather and climate variations.
People in this Group