Xiaofeng Xu, a postdoctoral research associate at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Climate Change Science Institute, is one of two winners of the Early Career Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Asian Ecology Section. Xu’s research focuses on understanding and quantifying terrestrial ecosystem responses and feedback within the climate system for the purpose of improving computational Earth system models.
The award was established by the ESA to promote the recognition of young ecologists who make substantial contributions to Asian ecological research development.
Figure: Xiaofeng Xu
Xu’s previous research on land–atmosphere exchanges of greenhouse gases, particularly methane and nitrous oxide across North America and China, has significantly enriched the field of Asian ecology and provided fundamental information for the scientific community and decision makers. Recently his research has focused on improvement and application of the Community Land Model to understand microbial biogeochemistry and its contributions to the land–atmosphere interaction with emphasis on the microbial mechanisms in carbon and nitrogen cycling and trace gas fluxes.
In an award-winning paper, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Climate Change Science Institute’s (CCSI’s) Forrest Hoffman, Jitendra Kumar, and Richard Mills, along with William Hargrove of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, present a quantitative methodology that establishes an optimal sampling strategy for collecting environmental data by classifying spatial areas based on their environmental characteristics. This method provides a framework for using sparse field measurements to best represent entire ecoregions and an approach for integrating models and data.
Climate science researcher Daniel Hayes of the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with Eric Kasischke of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Maryland, co-chaired the science definition team charged with formulating the research plan for the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). Stan Wullschleger, CCSI scientist and lead principal investigator for the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments–Arctic (NGEE–Arctic), also served on the ABoVE science definition team. ABoVE is a large-scale study of environmental change in the Arctic and boreal region of western North America and its implications for ecological and societal systems.
Complex systems are difficult to understand, yet complexity is a fundamental characteristic of climate, ecology, biology, and seemingly unrelated fields involving neutrons, transportation technology, and material sciences. In an attempt to bring scientists and engineers from these disciplines together, two Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) investigators, David Weston and Stan Wullschleger, organized a four-part series of Brown Bag discussions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on complex systems. Each week a different question was posed to the audience including:
CCSI Researcher’s Work on Photosynthesis in Jungle Leads to Crowdsourcing Data at Home
Last year Lianhong Gu, an ecosystem scientist, and Anthony Walker, an ecological modeler, both with the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), journeyed to the Parque Natural Metropolitano rainforest reserve in the heart of Panama City. They were on a 2-week scientific expedition. The goal: to measure photosynthesis in various tree species to provide climate models with more accurate input data.
Data scientists Ranjeet Devarakonda, Giri Palanisamy, and Biva Shrestha with the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators with the US Department of the Interior United States Geological Survey (USGS) have jointly developed the USGS Science Data Catalog for earth science data. CCSI worked on the database index, search engine, and user interface for the project, which began last November under an interagency agreement between the two organizations.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Climate Change Science Institute researcher, Bai Yang, is a co-author of a Nature Climate Change article “Net carbon uptake has increased through warming-induced changes in temperate forest phenology” published on June 1. The paper analyzes seasonal shifts in plant life cycles, known as phenology, in select eastern United States forests using long-term data from ground observations, satellites, and terrestrial biosphere models. Yang and ORNL’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center provided meteorological and ecosystem carbon flux records for sites analyzed in the paper. The paper concludes that earlier springs and later autumns are resulting in increased carbon uptake, a process that may reduce the rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide and slow the rate of global warming.
The ORNL DAAC is pleased to announce the release of Daymet: Daily Surface Weather Data on a 1-km Grid for North America, Version 2. This data set provides Daymet output data as mosaicked gridded estimates of daily weather parameters for North America, including continuous surfaces of day length, precipitation, shortwave radiation, snow water equivalent, maximum air temperature, minimum air temperature, and water vapor pressure. The Daymet data product was derived from selected meteorological station data by interpolation and extrapolation algorithms.
Thomas Wilbanks, a corporate fellow with the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was one of a dozen experts selected to brief the Senate and the House of Representatives on the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) report on May 7. He answered questions related to urban infrastructure, energy supply and use, the Southeastern region of the United States, and climate adaptation.
“All in all, everybody involved in putting together the briefings was very pleased that the NCA is being received with so much positive interest,” Wilbanks said.
Scientists at the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), including Thomas Wilbanks, Steve Fernandez, Peter Thornton, Virginia Dale, and Benjamin Preston, were among the 240 authors who contributed to the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) report. The report, released on May 6, is an important resource for communicating the science and impacts of climate change in the United States and helps policy makers form decisions on climate change-related issues by providing information on past, present, and future climate trends based on technical reports.
Above: (From left) CCSI contributors to the National Climate Assessment are Benjamin Preston, Thomas Wilbanks, Virginia Dale, Steve Fernandez, and Peter Thornton.