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Earth Systems & Climate Science

Our strengths in climate science and in earth surface and vegetation dynamics lie within the rich research tradition of physical geography. Earth systems and climate science research is conducted on a variety of spatial and temporal scales, from investigations of modern urban climate systems to the long-term climatic variability driving landscape changes. The School brings exceptional strengths in computational and spatial analysis, Geographical Information Science, and remote sensing to this research.

Earth systems and climate science research in ASU’s School of Geographical Science and Urban Planning covers a variety of spatial and temporal scales, from investigations of current urban climate systems to the long-term climatic variability at the landscape scale. The School brings exceptional strengths in computational and spatial analysis, Geographical Information Science, and remote sensing to investigate land, climate, and vegetation dynamics. Research topics include: urban heat island mitigation, climate-land interactions, impacts of urbanization on climate and air quality, impacts of climate change on water resources, drought vulnerability, and long-term change in terrestrial ecosystems. Scientists who work in this space are highly interdisciplinary and seek to link complex earth, water, climate, and ecosystems through spatial analysis to produce new insights about the sustainability of environmental and human systems.

Ongoing faculty projects take place in Phoenix, Central Arizona, western North America, the United States, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia.

The School's research and teaching related to earth systems science are enhanced by strong links to other ASU schools and centers, including the School of Earth and Space ExplorationCollege of EngineeringEnvironmental Fluid Dynamics Program, School of Life SciencesSchool of Human Evolution and Social Change, and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. The School hosts the Remote Sensing and Informatics Laboratory, and it provides NAIP 1m land classification, and two consistent Landsat classifications for use by cross-campus researchers on the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research and Decision Center for a Desert City projects. 

Robert Balling

Balling has a long history of conducting research on the climate change issue with a special interest in blending in applications involving Geographic Information Systems.

Randall Cerveny
President's Professor

Cerveny, professor of geographical sciences, also serves as Rapporteur on Extreme Records for the United Nations/World Meteorological Organization with the responsibility for researching and verifying global weather records.

Ronald Dorn

Dorn, professor of geography, is also co-coordinator of the Arizona Geographic Alliance, a K-12 outreach program to promote geographic education in Arizona.

Matei Georgescu
Associate Professor, Associate Director for Research-Based Graduate Programs

Georgescu's interests are on human-environment interactions, with research aimed to improve understanding of phenomena related to urbanization-induced landscape change. He is a member of the Urban Climate Research Center.

David Hondula
Assistant Professor

Hondula, assistant professor and member of the Urban Climate Research Center, researches the societal impacts of weather and climate, including efforts to learn how individuals experience and cope with extreme heat.

Soe Myint

Myint, an expert in remote sensing and GIScience, uses these skills to investigate urban land use land cover, urban climate, drought, desertification and deforestation, agriculture water use, among other issues.

Erinanne Saffell

Saffell, a climatologist, has interests in understanding risk, vulnerability and resilience in relation to extreme weather events. She is also the director of the SWIFT Weather Camp.

David Sailor

Sailor's work focuses on the intersection of climate with the built environment. He currently serves on the American Meteorological Society's Board on the Urban Environment and International Association for Urban Climate.

Mark Schmeeckle

Schmeeckle's interest is in landscape mechanics with a primary focus on fluvial geomorphology, sediment transport, and surface water processes.

Nancy Selover
Research Professor

Selover's research focuses on urban heat island, microclimate, and evaporation. She currently serves as the official climatologist for the state of Arizona.

B.L. Turner II
Regents' Professor and Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society

Turner studies human-environment relationships from the ancient Maya to contemporary sustainability science. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, among other honors.

Ian Walker

Walker is a geomorphologist and surficial geologist well known for his expertise in sediment transport and erosion, aeolian geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, environmental fluid dynamics, and sand dune ecosystems.

Susanna Werth
Assistant Research Professor

Werth's work engages in the monitoring, modeling and forecasting the Earth's water mass budget variations using remote sensing data.

Interested in Graduate Research?

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