Department of Atmospheric Sciences | University of Illinois
Atmospheric Sciences | RESEARCH

Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions and Micrometeorology

Energy, water, carbon, and other trace gases are constantly exchanged between the biosphere and the atmosphere. These exchanges modify mass transport and the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere, which in turn affect atmospheric circulation, cloud formation, and rainfall, as well as land processes involving the carbon cycle, the hydrologic cycle, and the radiative budget of Earth's surface. Exchange processes happen locally, on the scale of a cornfield, regionally, on the scale of the Amazon rainforest, and even globally, as large ecosystems such as the Arctic tundra respond to environmental pressures from global climate and land cover change. Our research contributes to informed policy decisions on global land, water, and carbon resource management.

Students use data, collected both in the field and from satellite-borne sensors, to study the response of the biosphere to changes to the land and atmosphere and to understand the influences and feedbacks between biospheric and atmospheric processes. Students perform computer simulations using dynamic global vegetation models and coupled atmosphere-biosphere models to study relevant energy, water, and carbon processes. The interdisciplinary nature of this work provides our students with opportunities to collaborate with scientists in other natural science, physical science, and engineering disciplines. Are you interested in cross-cutting research where the living and physical worlds meet? If so, you may be the ideal student to take on these important research efforts!

Want to learn more? See these faculty websites:

Steve Nesbitt Carl Bernacchi Atul Jain