Extension Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Michael Rawlins' research activities focus on investigations of large-scale hydrology and biogeochemistry. He is interested in how climate processes affect and influence terrestrial water and carbon cycles through synthesis studies which leverage in situ observations, numerical models, and remote sensing data. Through this work, he seeks to connect and understand water, energy, and carbon cycling across the earth's land, atmosphere, and ocean domains. Most recently he has investigated recent and potential future change in the Arctic's freshwater cycle and its connections with warming across the region. This work suggests that the Arctic's freshwater cycle is accelerating or "intensifying", consistent with global climate model projections. He also studies how a warming climate impacts permafrost and associated cycling of carbon between high latitude ecosystems and the atmosphere. Other research interests center on the use of climate model projections of future climate changes across the Northeast US. This work involves outputs from a suite of high-resolution regional climate models (RCMs) which, relative to coupled global climate models, can account for important local influences on climate. Applying these tools he seeks to advance understanding of the effects of climate change across the region, including likely impacts to forests and agriculture, coastal and marine resources, human health, and a host of other important ecosystem services. Rawlins also manages the Climate System Research Center, a research facility of the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts.

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