Dr. Alexis Berg
Land surface climate, continental water cycle, land-climate interactions
Hello! Welcome to my webpage.
I am a Research Associate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, working in Prof. Kaighin McColl's group.
I am an Earth System scientist whose research interests center around global hydrology and land surface hydroclimate, with a focus on water/vegetation/atmosphere interactions taking place at the land-atmosphere interface.
Indeed, the energy, water and carbon cycles are tightly coupled at the land surface; thus, the dynamics and future changes of the water cycle cannot be understood independently from its interactions and feedbacks with surface climate and vegetation dynamics. For instance, water availability influences vegetation growth, which in turn modulates evaporation, and thus impacts the surface energy budget; the latter may feed back on atmospheric dynamics, further modulating regional climate and thus water availability. The complexity of these surface-atmosphere processes, ranging from plant physiology to boundary layer dynamics, is further compounded by the high spatial (and temporal) heterogeneity of the land surface, human perturbations (e.g., land-use change, irrigation), etc.
My research is motivated by the desire to better understand how this nexus of coupled processes operate across a range of spatial and temporal scales, how they can best be represented in land/climate models, and ultimately how they modulate surface climate and hydrology in terms of variability, extremes, and changes under greenhouse warming. I am particularly interested in the role land-atmosphere processes play in future trends in droughts and aridity under climate warming.
To address such questions, my works relies on theory, analysis of large-scale observational data and a suite of modeling tools, from land surface models to Earth System Model simulations. I use these different approaches to investigate the mechanisms that influence water distribution and exchanges at the land-atmosphere interface, understand past and projected trends in land hydroclimate and hydrology, and assess their impacts on ecosystems and water resources.