We are building a global environmental change research lab and are currently looking for enthusiastic postdoctoral researchers, PhD, MS, and undergraduate students driven by interdisciplinary environmental challenges and computer modeling. Research opportunities center on regional and global climate change modeling and impact assessment modeling focusing on agriculture and forestry using process-based models, empirical models and emulators. They cover a wide range of potential projects exploring the connections between climate change, extreme weather events, land productivity and water resources.
At UC Davis, postdocs and students are part of a world-class interdisciplinary department with faculty who specialize in atmospheric and climate science, plant science, soils and biogeochemistry, sustainable agriculture farming systems, hydrology, and water engineering.
UC Davis ranks 1st in the nation and 2nd in the world in agriculture and forestry research (U.S. News & World Report’s “2019 Best Global Universities”) and 11th in the world in environmental and ecological research (U.S. News & World Report’s “2019 Best Global Universities”). UC Davis also ranks 1st in the nation for launching women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions ("The 13 Most Important STEM Universities for Women," Forbes 2016).
Some potential projects include:
- Agro-climate empirical modeling of crop yield
Agriculture is the sector of the economy that is most affected by global environmental change, mainly caused by increases in extreme heat and changes in precipitation patterns. To examine the impact of climate change on agriculture, empirical crop yield models rely on building statistical relationships between observed crop yields and environmental conditions, generally focusing on aggregated information on temperature and precipitation. Here, we are seeking to develop an empirical modeling of crop yield using agro-climate indices that provide insight into key drivers of changes in agriculture productivity, with a special focus on understanding the impact of extreme weather events, with detailed information on their magnitude, frequency and duration. This approach aims to improve upon existing estimates of the impact of future climate change on crop yields in the US and provide valuable information to support adaptation strategies.
- Large-scale meteorological patterns to predict extreme weather events
Extreme weather events stress human and natural systems through impacts on agriculture, water resources, energy systems, infrastructures, air quality and health, and natural ecosystems. The development and implementation of adaptation measures to extreme weather events face major challenges as climate change is likely to alter the frequency, intensity, and duration of these events and the global climate models commonly used to understand and predict these changes fail to reproduce observed extreme event statistics of the recent past. Here, we propose to use large-scale meteorological patterns, which are generally well resolved in the climate models, to 1) enhance our understanding of fundamental processes controlling the formation of weather extremes; 2) improve the capabilities for short-term prediction and long-term projections, and 3) support the development of adaptation measures against the impacts of future changes in extreme weather events.
- Biogeophysical, biogeochemical and hydrological land system modeling
We are developing a new global gridded land system model aimed at improving the representation of multi-sectoral dynamics and Energy-Water-Land interactions in coupled human-Earth system models. The model represents the coupled biogeophysical, biogeochemical and hydrological processes of natural and managed terrestrial ecosystems, including various crops and managed forests. It will be used to simulate the impact of climate change, changes in atmospheric chemistry (ozone, carbon dioxide and nitrogen) and land-use change on land productivity and the global and regional cycles of energy, water, carbon and nutrients by human activity. This model is intended to be integrated into the MIT Integrated Global System Model (IGSM), with explicit linkages to: i) the MIT Water Resource System (WRS) to explore the basin-scale multi-sectoral dynamics between geophysical water resources (water storage and runoff) and anthropogenic water requirements (municipal, energy, industry and irrigation) and ii) the MIT Economic Projection & Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, a multi-sector multi-region model of the world economy, to examine land-use change resulting from changes in land productivity associated with climate change.
How to Apply
Financial support is available for graduate students in the research lab to cover tuition and living expenses while they pursue their advanced degrees. Most students in Monier's Global Environmental Change Research Lab will study in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at the University of California, Davis. Postdoctoral researchers and students interested in joining the lab can contact me directly to discuss research opportunities.