CMI Science focuses on how terrestrial vegetation and the oceans soak up carbon and thereby determine the fraction of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere that actually stays there (the fraction is about one-half). CMI science increasingly features close collaboration with Princeton’s neighbor, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Commerce. A recent and growing component of CMI addresses climate variability and departures from the historical frequency of extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts and hurricanes.
Research Highlights – At a Glance
Stephen Pacala: A newly completed model for the terrestrial biosphere more accurately simulates the role of forests as a carbon sink and the accelerated growth of trees, despite the limitations from below-ground resources.
David Medvigy and Lars Hedin: Simulations reveal how nitrogen fixation determines the rate of tropical forest regrowth and amount of carbon uptake in a recovering tropical forest.
Michael Bender: Recent advances in instrumentation enable independent measurement of leaf photosynthesis and respiration rates, giving insight into leaf metabolism to model carbon uptake from the biosphere.
Jorge Sarmiento: Innovative float technology and high-resolution modeling are dramatically improving our view of the harsh and remote Southern Ocean.
François Morel: Field studies in Antarctica and lab experiments with cold-adapted microalgae yield new insight into the efficient sequestration of CO2 by high latitude oceanic ecosystems and their response to a global climate.
Michael Bender: Million-year old ice has been retrieved from Antarctic glaciers. Analyses of this ice and its trapped air shows that climate was warmer, and CO2 concentrations higher, than in more recent times.
Current Research Projects
- A Durable Global Land Sink Thanks to Durable CO2 Fertilization
- Individual-Based Dinitrogen Fixation and Biodiversity Interact to Determine Tropical Forest Carbon Uptake
- Studies of Photosynthesis and Respiration in Leaves
- The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) Project
- High Productivity of Antarctic Ecosystems and their Response to Global Change
- Studies of Greenhouse Gases and Antarctic Climate 1,000,000 Years Ago
- Science Publications