PHYSICAL & BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Society’s ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change depends on a mechanistic understanding of the physical and biological processes driving and responding to climate change. Complex interactions within and among the land, ocean, and atmospheric components of the Earth system make it challenging to predict future climate change and its consequences for ecosystem functioning and human activities. Positive feedback effects that amplify climate change or negative feedback effects that dampen climate change are particularly important to characterize because they lead to non-linear trajectories in climate change and its impacts.

 

Areas of Research Focus

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, research teams across the campus are focused on the various topics related to the physical and biological science of climate change, including:

  • improving the representation of physical and biological processes in numerical and process-based models that operate across a range of spatiotemporal scales, including coupled land-atmosphere Earth system models, hydrological models, reactive-transport models, and ecosystem models;
  • characterizing plant-soil-microbe interactions that regulate soil carbon sequestration, plant productivity, soil greenhouse gas emissions, and other biogeochemical processes that influence the global warming potential of terrestrial ecosystems;
  • using paleo-climatological and paleo-ecological proxies to reconstruct past climate and ecosystems as a window into the future; and
  • improving our understanding of atmospheric physics and chemistry related to climate change, such as clouds and cloud feedback, aerosols, air-land-water interactions, and global teleconnections and their effects on atmospheric dynamics (e.g., El Niño-Southern Oscillation).

Researchers

Francina Dominguez

Francina Dominguez

Atmospheric sciences

Jeffrey Frame

Jeffrey Frame

Atmospheric sciences

Kaiyu Guan

Kaiyu Guan

Nature, environment

Deanna Hence

Deanna Hence

Atmospheric sciences

Matthew Hudson

Matthew Hudson

Agriculture, food

Atul Jain

Atul Jain

Atmospheric sciences

Brian Jewett

Brian Jewett

Atmospheric sciences

Angela Kent

Angela Kent

Nature, environment

David Kristovich

David Kristovich

Atmospheric sciences, water

Sonia Lasher-Trapp

Sonia Lasher-Trapp

Atmospheric sciences

Stephen Nesbitt

Stephen Nesbitt

Atmospheric sciences

Robert Rauber

Robert Rauber

Atmospheric sciences

Nicole Riemer

Nicole Riemer

Atmospheric sciences

Ashish Sharma

Ashish Sharma

Atmospheric sciences, climatology

Murugesu Sivapalan

Murugesu Sivapalan

Environmental engineering, water

Ryan Sriver

Ryan Sriver

Atmospheric sciences

Jeff Trapp

Jeff Trapp

Atmospheric sciences

Zhuo Wang

Zhuo Wang

Atmospheric sciences

Donald Wuebbles

Donald Wuebbles

Atmospheric sciences, climate

Lei Zhao

Lei Zhao

Environmental engineering

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