Inside Wisconsin did a Q&A on climate change with Professor McKinley in October 2016.
GALEN A. McKINLEY
Professor, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Bryson Professor, Center for Climatic Research
University of Wisconsin - Madison
I study the physical structures and biogeochemical processes in large water bodies that impact large-scale carbon cycling and primary productivity. This requires an interdisciplinary approach across fluid dynamics, aquatic chemistry and ecology. Numerical models, historical datasets, and remote sensing are my primary tools. My research group and I are currently working to (1) assess change in the global ocean carbon sink from surface ocean pCO2, (2) quantify recent carbon uptake and productivity changes in the North Atlantic, (3) directly separate internal variability from anthropogenic change in the ocean carbon sink using large ensembles of coupled climate models, and (4) assess the biogeochemical impacts of invasive species in the Laurentian Great Lakes.
A paper led by our collaborator at UC-Boulder, Nikki Lovenduski, on uncertainty in future ocean carbon uptake is now published in GBC (Lovenduski et al. 2016). This work was selected by GBC for a highlight in EOS by John Dunne of NOAA GFDL, and also for an EOS news story.
Former group member Colleen Mouw, now on the faculty at University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, has led a paper on the mechanisms of carbon export in the global ocean, just published in GBC (Mouw et al. 2016a) with a companion paper describing the dataset in ESSD (Mouw et al. 2016b).
Finally, a review article on variability and trends in ocean carbon uptake is in press with Annual Reviews of Marine Science (McKinley et al. 2017).
Juan Botella, group friend and rotating tank collaborator, has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (Wisconsin for grade 7-12 Science). PAEMST for grade 7-12 is awarded to one math and one science teacher in each state every-other year. Congratulations!
Galen presented the group’s work on detectability of change in the ocean carbon sink at the OCB summer workshop in July. You can watch the talk here.
For more detail on this work, see our 2016 Nature article entitled “Timescales for detection of change in the ocean carbon sink”.
Luke was recognized for Outstanding Student Poster Presentation at the June 2016 Gordon Research Conference on the Biological Pump in Hong Kong. Congratulations Luke!
These graphics were initially sketched by Professor McKinley, and some lovely graphics are now available to all from the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry program. Please see the link above and downloadable files for complete citation information.
Please use widely in your research talks and educational activities!
See also the new Carbon Cycle multimedia feature from WHOI.
I am always interested in discussing graduate school opportunities with students interested in using quantitative methods to learn about coupled physical-biogeochemical processes in the oceans and Great Lakes. Please have a look at my website to understand my research areas and approaches, and then contact me with any questions.
My students are usually in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences graduate program, but I have also worked with students in Environment and Resources. I’d also be glad to discuss opportunities with Freshwater and Marine Science prospective students.
Undergraduates interested in research are also welcome to contact me. I usually host a couple of undergraduate researchers in my group at a time.