Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Welcome 2013 PCCRC Fellows!

NickMr. Nick Smith

Nick Smith is a 2013 PCCRC Fellow, working with Professor Jeff Dukes in the Department of Biological Sciences on a variety of projects designed to examine the response of plant processes to environmental change. His research uses a combination of experimental and modeling techniques to try to predict how plants will respond and feedback to future climate change.  Specifically, Nick is interested in quantifying physiological acclimation to future climate change, parameterizing this process for global-scale models, and evaluating its impact on projections of future climate change. In the past year, Smith has presented his findings at the 97th and 98th Annual Meetings of the Ecological Society of America, and the INTERFACE-CLIMMANI joint meeting, and published Smith, NG, and Dukes, JS (2013) Plant respiration and photosynthesis in global scale models: incorporating temperature acclimation to temperature and CO2. Global Change Biology 19, 45-63.



Ms. Olivia Salmon

Olivia Salmon is a 2013 PCCRC Fellow starting her graduate work in Fall 2013.  She graduated this past May from Marquette University with a B.S. in Chemistry. This summer Olivia had the opportunity to work with Prof. Paul Shepson’s Atmospheric Chemistry group on a collaborative field campaign for the INdianapolis FLUX (INFLUX) project. The field campaign consisted of surface mobile city surveys and thorough investigations of key methane contributors to quantify Indianapolis’ greenhouse gas emissions. Olivia joined the Department of Chemistry this fall, and is taking classes in Atmospheric and Analytical Chemistry.


Fellow Updates

BeelMr. Casey Beel

Casey Beel is a 2012 PCCRC Fellow, working with Nathaniel (Nat) Lifton in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.  His current research focuses on using in situ 14C from bedrock surfaces emerging beneath ice caps in Arctic Canada and West Greenland to investigate if arctic ice caps are smaller now than during peak warmth of the Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM). During the summer term of this year Casey spent four weeks in West Greenland collecting rock samples that will be processed and analyzed during this academic year. I am also working on a methods paper that uses paired cosmogenic nuclides to test the sensitivity of a new isochron method for exposure duration calculations of glacial troughs. In the past year he completed a field season in Kyrgyzstan, collecting samples from moraine crests in order to constrain the glacial history of the Inylchek Glacier. These samples were processed and analyzed during the 2012 Fall semester and presented at the 2012 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting. Casey also presented his Masters research completed at the University of Otago, New Zealand at the 43rd Annual International Arctic Workshop during the spring semester. Beel will present his methods and results at this year’s AGU Fall meeting and will sit for his Qualifying exams in November.


Mr. Wendell Walters

Wendell Walters joined the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, & Planetary Sciences in the fall of 2012 as a PCCRC Fellow and works with Professor Greg Michalski.  In his first year at Purdue, he took classes in stable isotopes chemistry, air quality and dispersion, particle mass spectrometry, general statistics, and applied linear regression.  Walters’ current project focuses on analyzing the stable isotopes of ice-core nitrate to determine the changes in global nitrogen cycling and shifts in oxidation chemistry in response to natural and anthropogenic climate change.  He plans on presenting his work at the American Geological Union (AGU) conference in December 2013.  Wendell received the NSF graduate research fellowship in March 2013, which will provide financial support for the next three years.  He plans to use the funding to explore isotope effects in gas phase reaction in order to help climate modelers incorporate isotope effects in the atmosphere into the next generation of climate models.

fellow Shang

Mr. Linyuan Shang

Linyuan Shang is a 2011 PCCRC Fellow and works with Professor Qianlai Zhuang in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. His research focuses on developing and using model data assimilation techniques to improve vegetation phenology and water cycle. In the academic year of 2012-2013, Shang developed a spatially explicit parameterization for Terrestrial Ecosystem Model with Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Leaf Area Index (LAI) data product. Compared with traditional parameterization method, the spatially explicit parameterization method considers the heterogeneity issue. Linyuan Shang passed his M.S. exam in July 2013.

Fellow R Wang

Mr. Ruoyu Wang

Ruoyu Wang is a 2011 PCCRC Fellow in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. He works for Professor Keith Cherkauer, with Professor Laura Bowling from the Department of Agronomy serving as co-adviser. His current research involves the exploration of the ability of an existing hydrology and crop growth model (SWAT2009) to simulate yield variability for traditional crops in the Midwestern US with respect to observed climate and soil moisture variability. The model has been calibrated and evaluated. The calibrated model is then used to extend the observational record to explore the relationship between climate variability and crop yield. He will also investigate the impact of future changing climate on crop yield by using the General Circulation Model (GCM) under different emissions scenarios. Last year, Wang presented Wang, R., L. Bowling, and K. Cherkauer (2012), “Estimation of Aeration Stress Effects On Crop Yields in Midwest USA.” ASA, CSSA, and SSSA International Annual Meetings. Oct. 21-24, 2012, Cincinnati, OH. Ruoyu will present his research at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meetings in December, 2013 in San Francisco, CA. 


Mr. Paul Schmid

Paul Schmid is a 2010 PCCRC Fellow. In the past year, Paul’s research has continued its focus on thunderstorm interaction with urban areas. Since 2012, Paul has also been a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellow. In January 2013, Paul presented results of his research at the annual American Meteorological Society conference in Austin, TX. During summer 2013, he and his advisor, Prof. Dev Niyogi, published results in Geophysical Research Letters detailing land surface interactions with thunderstorms related to city size. The next step in the research is untangling how urban aerosols independently affect thunderstorm development.

Our Recent Graduates

Fellow Davis

Mr. Clay Davis   

Clay Davis, a 2009 PCCRC Fellow working with Professor Paul Preckel, completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics early in the Spring Semester of 2013.  His thesis is titled “Three Essays on the Effect of Wind Generation on Power System Planning and Operations.”  The essays will be individually published as State Utility Forecasting Group studies, with the first being available at http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/energy/assets/pdfs/SUFG/publications/2013%20wind%20update %20report.pdf.  An article based on one of the essays titled “Determining the Impact of Wind on System Costs via the Temporal Patterns of Load and Wind Generation” is forthcoming in the journal Energy Policy.  Dr. Davis now works for the New York Independent Systems Operator in the Department of Market Mitigation and Analysis. 

Fellow Wang

Ms. Fan Wang

Fan Wang (EAPS; Greg Michalski, advisor) completed all the data collection in the field or laboratory for her research project. She has been mostly focusing on writing her PhD dissertation about “The soil formation mechanism in the hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile” to wrap up her 4.5 years long PhD study at Purdue. For her dissertation work, she has applied a variety of ground truthing, geochemistry, stable isotope, cosmogenic nuclide, mineralogy and numerical modeling approaches to address how the Atacama surfaces evolve in the near absence of water. In detail, she has managed to constrain the source material, timescale, paleo-climatic change and the role of microorganism during the soil formation in the Atacama. This has led to a proposed soil formation mechanism in hyper-arid environments, consisting of four stages of development: 1) the initiation of soil development on regional bedrock material induced by salt fracturing, 2) the maturation of soil sequence featured by a continuous trapping of atmospheric dust and salts and the salt segregation into discrete ionic zones, 3) the termination of soil accretion due to the formation of surface blocky layer, and 4) the unexpected alteration of soil accumulation induced by anthropogenic disturbance. This research will provide perspectives into understanding the surface processes on other planets with hyper-arid climates, such as on Mars. She is expected to graduate in December of 2013.

Fellow Yini Ma

Ms.Yini Ma

Yini Ma is a 2008 PCCRC Fellow whose current research focuses on the influences of earthworms on incorporation of aboveground litter and the stability of soil organic matter in eastern deciduous forests. Working with advisor Professor Timothy Filley, Ma finished her PhD thesis “The Combined Controls of Land Use Legacy and Earthworm Activity on Soil Organic Matter Stabilization and Dynamics in Temperate Deciduous Forests” and earned her PhD in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. In addition, she published a paper in the journal, Organic Geochemistry, titled “The combined controls of land use legacy and earthworm activity on soil organic matter chemistry and particle association during afforestation”.  She submitted a manuscript titled “Interactions between earthworm community and wood and leaf litter control litter incorporation into forest soil fractions” to the journal Soil Biology & Biochemistry. After graduation, she is planning to go back to China to start a postdoc at Nanjing University.

Fellow Tang

Mr. Jinyun Tang

Since May 2011, Jinyun has been with the  Department of Climate Science in the Earth Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to work as a post-doc scientist. His is to develop a biogeochemical transport and reaction model for CLM4 (CLM4BeTR) as one of the first efforts towards our next generation ecosystem model in earth system modeling. The work is expected to provide a test-bed for further developments in our perception of the ecosystem dynamics, and to provide an efficient framework to investigate the possible feedbacks between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere.


Fellow Kendra

Charlotte Kendra Castillo


Kendra is currently an Assistant Professor at the Dept. of Environmental Science of the Ateneo de Manila University, one of the premier universities in the Philippines. She is also a researcher at the Manila Observatory, a non-government research institution in the field of climate change and the earth system, and a consultant for Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which supports the work of the Philippine Climate Change Commission. Kendra is also a member of the newly-formed Working Group on Regional Climate (WGRC) of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). 

Kendra’s interest centers on the climate change science-society nexus and human-nature dynamics. She believes in approaching complex environmental problems with a big-picture perspective and harnessing interdisciplinary knowledge, methods and skills. Her dissertation focused on using the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) with dynamic vegetation to simulate different tropical forest deforestation rates, analyzing both the carbon and non-carbon or physical impacts on climate, and exploring the policy implications particularly with regards to REDD. She continues to work on the co-benefits aspects of managing climate change risks, such as synergizing climate change action planning (specifically adaptation) with disaster risk management and sustainable development. She has also expanded her modeling work to utilize systems dynamics modeling in an urban risk management context.

Fellow Vimal Mishra

Vimal Mishra

Vimal Mishra is an Assistant Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar in Civil Engineering, and the Ministry of Earth Science's Varahamihir Research Fellow. His research focuses on understanding impacts of climate variability and climate change on various aspects related to humans and society (e.g. water resources, energy, infrastructure, and food security). He integrates observed and remotely sensed datasets with large-scale hydrologic modeling to answer important questions related to human-climate interactions.

Dr. Mishra's research is motivated by science questions such as: To what extent key components related to food and water are influenced by the variations and changes in climate? How have extreme climatic events (droughts, floods, and heat waves) been changing under retrospective climate and how will these change under the projected climate?  How will changes in climate extremes affect energy and infrastructure demands in future? To what extent does year-to-year variability in the Indian Monsoon affect water storage and food production in India? To answer these research questions, he uses historical observations, climate projections from regional and global climate models, and hydrological and statistical models. For more about Dr. Mishra’s research, visit the Water and Climate Lab.

Fellow Alferi

Joseph Alfieri

After completing his doctoral studies in 2009, Joseph Alfieri (2006 PCCRC Fellow) joined the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory at the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland. Since that time, his research has focused largely on improving methods of measuring and modeling evaporative water loss via remote sensing. With a growing population, evolving societal preferences, and changing climate, it has become increasingly more challenging in recent years to manage scarce water resources to meet the competing demands of agricultural, industrial, and urban consumers. Joe’s work ensures that the most accurate scientific data and information is available to the resource managers and policy makers seeking to meet that challenge. Working with both U.S. and international scientists, Joe is exploring the impacts of spatiotemporal variability in the ambient environmental conditions on both the structure of the surface boundary layer and the mechanisms of land-atmosphere exchange. He is particularly interested in how these processes influence measurement uncertainty and upscaling when evaluating numerical and remote sensing-based models over heterogeneous terrain. Joe is also an active participant in several projects exploring such diverse issues as the role of surface properties in regulating pesticide volatilization and the effects of wind farms on crop productivity.

Contact Information

Purdue University
203 S. Martin Jischke Drive
MANN 105
West Lafayette, IN 47907