Earth’s Climate System

We analyze diverse and inter-related aspects of Earth’s climate system. We research how climate change affects extreme precipitation, sea level rise, and heatwaves in several global regions. We analyze the effects of ongoing and projected climate impacts on groundwater resources, terrestrial ecosystems, and feedbacks between the biosphere and climate change. By analyzing Earth’s ancient climates as analogs for possible future climates, we offer insights into the potential outcomes of ongoing climate change.

We are engaged with both local and international decision support, contributing to efforts to inform decision-makers ranging from our own University’s Climate Action Plan to Climate Ready Boston, Somerville Climate Forward, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report.

Extreme Rainfall

By Edwin Aguirre

In May 2006, an unusually strong low-pressure system stalled over the central United States, bringing torrential rains to the Northeast and triggering widespread flooding. Up to 17 inches of rain fell over Lowell, causing the Merrimack River to overflow and inundate low-lying neighborhoods. Although no injuries or fatalities were reported, the event has been described as the region’s worst flooding since the great flood of 1936 and the New England hurricane of 1938.

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Line Shape Parameters in Support of Remote Sensing of Earth’s and Planetary Atmospheres

Professor Robert Gamache runs the Theoretical Molecular Spectroscopy Laboratory, which has had support from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. His group focuses on quantum mechanical calculations of line positions, intensities, energies, Einstein-A coefficients, partition sums, and the line shape parameters for molecules important in Earth’s, planetary, and exoplanet atmospheres.

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