Critical Zone Profile – YUNING SHI (meteorologist, research associate)

26 Sep 2016

Research Associate, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, The Pennsylvania State University

Yuning Shi grew up in China, where he obtained his B.S. degree in Atmospheric Sciences from Peking University in Beijing. In 2007, Shi came to the U.S. to study at the Pennsylvania State University, obtaining his Ph.D. degree in Meteorology in 2012. He currently works as a research associate at Penn State in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.

"The impact of climate change on the water cycle is one of the most critical environmental and political issues of the 21st century." – Yuning Shi

My research involves the use of numerical models to study the interactions among the atmosphere, vegetation, and soil, and to incorporate this understanding into prediction frameworks. Numerical models (e.g., land surface hydrologic models and ecosystem models) help improve our understanding of the atmosphere-vegetation-soil nexus, and assess the impact of climate change on water resources and our ecosystem.

The water cycle, or hydrologic cycle, is central to Earth. The impact of climate change on the water cycle is one of the most critical environmental and political issues of the 21st century. Hydrologic models have become essential tools to enhance the understanding of this cycle and its processes, and to simulate and predict hydrological events for better decision-making. The atmosphere, vegetation, and soil are tightly coupled systems, and the interaction among them needs to be taken into account to appropriately assess the impact of our changing climate. Both the study of hydrological and ecological processes must be integrated to achieve sustainable management of water and other natural resources.

The Critical Zone (CZ) concept urges us to explore and investigate the interactions among hydrological, ecological, biological, and geological processes, while motivating collaboration between different disciplines.

The interaction among the atmosphere, vegetation, and soil happens in the CZ. Therefore, studying the CZ will reveal this complex interaction at different temporal and spatial scales. This study approach requires the collaboration of various disciplines and an investigation from different perspectives, thus providing a more comprehensive understanding of our ecosystem.

The Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) network has exposes me to a broad array of disciplines, and helps me observe the CZ as an integrated system. The network also provides an unprecedented chance for modelers with data from solid bedrock to the lower boundary of the atmosphere for a state-of-the-art model-data fusion. At the Susquehanna Shale Hills CZO, the in situ measurements provide topographic information, soil and land cover maps, meteorological forcing data, as well as, calibration and evaluation data for our hydrologic, land surface, reactive transport, biogeochemistry, and land evolution models. The availability of abundant data is unrivaled.

The CZ concept urges us to explore and investigate the interactions among hydrological, ecological, biological, and geological processes, while motivating collaboration between different disciplines. The CZO network enables us to investigate the same research questions and test our models under different climate, geological, and biological conditions. This helps us develop better models to describe CZ evolution to be used for policy- and decision-making on management of natural resources.

Yuning Shi, Penn State

Yuning Shi 


News Category:
PEOPLE


People Involved

CZO

Explore Further

NEWS | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010