Carbon Cycle, Ecosystem & Climate

The Carbon Cycle and ecosystems interact with climate throughout Earth's history, from the rise of oxygen to ice ages to future climate change.

Department researchers trace its path through the Earth system, research its past through paleoclimatology and predict its effect on Earth's future using climate models.


The Carbon Cycle is a biogeochemical cycle where carbon is exchanged through the many parts of the Earth System. Understanding the Carbon Cycle is imperative for predicting future climate change due to anthropogenic burning of fossil fuels because of the multitude of climate feedbacks within the Earth System.

Department researchers seek to understand these feedbacks and the mechanisms governing change and variability within the Carbon Cycle.

Research Areas

  • Variability of the carbon sources and sinks (Zeng, Murtugudde, Carton, Chepurin)
  • Physical Biosphere-climate interaction (Zeng, Murtugudde)
  • Predicting ecosystem and carbon cycle from days to seasons (Zeng, Murtugudde, Kalnay)
  • Monitoring atmospheric CO2 from space (Salawitch)
  • Carbon cycle-climate interaction from glacial-interglacial cycles to the future (Zeng)
  • Carbon data assimilation with ensemble Kalman filter (Kalnay, Zeng)
  • Carbon sequestration, alternative energy and climate change policy (Zeng)



Advising Faculty

  • Carton
  • Ide
  • Kalnay
  • Salawitch
  • Zeng

Non-Advising Faculty

  • Chepurin
  • Murtugudde



Associate Research Scientist
Associate Professor
Distinguished University Professor Emerita
Emeritus Professor