Associate Professor
Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
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.

Current Events:

Enhancing carbon science to support climate policy

In an opinon piece in EOS: Earth and Space News, Professor McKinley and colleagues make the case for strengthening carbon cycle science in support of policies for climate change mitigation. See a summary from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies here.

Prospective Students

Fall/Winter 2015 — 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.

Great Lakes CO2 Acidification paper published

Our assessment of the potential for CO2-induced acidification of the Great Lakes and other freshwater bodies was published in the June 2015 edition of Oceanography.  Find it here.

Congratulations Dr. Chen!

On April 29, 2015, Haidi Chen successfully defended her PhD. Great work and congratulations!

Haidi will be a postdoc at Princeton University starting in late summer 2015.

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Congratulations Dr. Pilcher!

On April 6, 2015, Darren Pilcher successfully defended his PhD. Congratulations!

In Summer 2015, Darren will start a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, WA.

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences