Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Integrated Network for Terrestrial Ecosystem Research on Feedbacks to the Atmosphere and Climate: Linking experimentalists, ecosystem and Earth system modelers

Funded by the National Science Foundation

As human actions increase the concentrations of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, climatic patterns are changing. Climate is projected to change dramatically over the course of this century, with average global temperature increases of 1.1-6.4 °C and widespread changes in precipitation patterns. These changes in climate will affect the functioning of human society, the functioning of ecosystems, and the status of biodiversity. The best available projections of future climate change come from complex computer programs that simulate interactions of energy and matter among the atmosphere, oceans, and land. Until very recently, the effects of the land surface on the atmosphere were only incorporated into these models in a limited way. However, recent research suggests that the way in which ecosystems on land respond to changes in atmosphere and climate will itself strongly affect the rate of climate change, and so the responses of these ecosystems must be considered. Historically, the community of scientists examining these issues has consisted of separate, traditionally non-interactive research groups. The INTERFACE network will facilitate interactions by bringing them together in a series of international meetings and workshops that are designed to make progress on a set of important, tractable challenges in Earth system modeling and experimentation. INTERFACE will focus on training and forging collaborations among researchers at different early career stages, from senior undergraduates to post-docs. Students and post-docs will be recruited for active roles at all INTERFACE meetings, as authors of meeting reports and co-authors of resultant papers. INTERFACE will also broaden students' toolkits by sponsoring a series of workshops and lab exchanges that bring students together with the modeling and experimental communities. By providing cross-disciplinary training for the next generation of scientists at the beginning of their careers, INTERFACE can strongly influence the trajectory of future research.


  • Jeffrey Dukes, FNR and Biological Sciences
  • Peter Thornton, ORNL
  • Aimee Classen, University of Tennessee

Contact Information

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