Duke-Led Project Considers the Role of Land Spatial Patterns in Earth’s Climate

October 23, 2019

Duke CEE faculty member Nathaniel Chaney examines how fine-scale characteristics affects the big picture

Foggy Blue Ridge Mountains

Driven by the growing urgency to improve the accuracy of climate models, Duke University civil and environmental engineering professor Nathaniel Chaney will lead a new multi-institutional research project funded by NOAA Research’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program, in partnership with the Department of Energy and NASA.

“This project aligns with NOAA’s long-term research goal to advance our understanding of the Earth’s climate system and to use this knowledge to improve the resilience of our nation and its partners.”

Nathaniel Chaney
DUKE CEE PROFESSOR

The project, named CLASP (Coupling of Land and Atmospheric Subgrid Parameterizations), aims to understand how the diversity of natural and man-made features over the land surface (croplands, hillslopes, rivers and forests, for example) impact droughts, floods, heatwaves, and cloud formation from time scales ranging from hours to decades.

“This project aligns with NOAA’s long-term research goal to advance our understanding of the Earth’s climate system and to use this knowledge to improve the resilience of our nation and its partners,” Chaney said. “This work will leverage the decades of prior work to push the capabilities of Earth system models forward.”

CLASP is a part of the larger Climate Process Teams (CPTs) network run by the US Climate Variability and Predictability (US CLIVAR) Program which initiates climate model improvement projects every several years. In addition to Duke, this project involves the National Center for Atmospheric ResearchNASA’s Goddard Space Flight CenterGeorge Mason University, and NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab.  

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