I study the interplay of physical structures and biogeochemical processes in large water bodies that drives large-scale carbon cycling and primary productivity. This requires an interdisciplinary approach across a range of fields: from fluid dynamics to aquatic chemistry and ecology. I use numerical models, historical datasets, and remote sensing as my primary tools. In my current projects, my research group and I are working to (1) assess change in the global ocean carbon sink from trends in observed 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 whole-lake biogeochemical cycling under a range of anthropogenic stressors in the Laurentian Great Lakes.
In collaboration with Nicole Lovenduski at University of Colorado Boulder, Amanda Fay and Professor McKinley have published a paper on observed changes on Southern Ocean pCO2 in recent decades. See the paper here.
Darren Pilcher is now officially a dissertator, and intends to graduate in Spring 2015.
Alexis Santos completed her MS in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in May 2014. Her thesis is titled Chlorophyll a Variability Due to Large-scale North Atlantic Circulation Changes.
Professor McKinley gave a seminar entitled Natural Variability and Anthropogenic Trends in the Ocean Carbon Sink at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in March 2013. Watch it on video.
In December 2013, Professor McKinley participated in a forum entitled “Climate Change: What It Means for Wisconsin’s Economy and Natural Resources”, at the invitation of Representatives Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) and Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz). This was a valuable opportunity to share the latest science on climate change and its impacts with state law makers.
The video archive can be viewed here.