Randerson Research Group

Ecosystem Processes, Climate, and Human Activity


We seek to improve our understanding of global change in terrestrial ecosystems. We use remote sensing data, atmospheric trace gas observations, field measurements, and models in new ways to study feedbacks between terrestrial ecosystems and climate.

We are currently working on the following:

  • Interactions between fire, drought, and land use change in the tropics
  • Impacts of a changing boreal fire regime on regional climate
  • Improving the representation of terrestrial biogeochemistry in climate-carbon models
  • Quantifying contemporary changes in carbon dioxide and methane fluxes in high northern latitude ecosystems
  • Using atmospheric observations to better understand the causes of variability in the global carbon cycle, including the role of fire emissions
  • Assessing future changes in Santa Ana fires in Southern California
  • Improving the representation of drought stress and isotopic exchange in global models, with a focus on ecosystems in the Western U.S.
Image courtesy of NASA
Image courtesy of NASA

Together, remote sensing and atmospheric trace gas observations, models, and field measurements provide a foundation for our work. We use remote sensing observations from a number of satellite missions from NASA, including the Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua, Terra, and Aura satellites. In the future, we will use data from the second Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) and the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). Atmospheric trace gas observations are available through collaboration with colleagues at UC Irvine, NOAA Climate Monitoring Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL), University of Utah, and Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). We use a suite of modeling approaches to interpret these data, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Earth System Model, the Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach (CASA) biogeochemistry model, and new land use and biogeochemical models under development at UC Irvine. We have an ongoing research program in interior Alaska supported by NASA.