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Climate Change Science Research
Analysis and attribution of changes in Siberian hydroclimate and implications for the future
Examines the link between fall snow cover over northern Eurasia and hemispheric circulation anomalies in the following winter, including the influence on winter US temperatures. A collaboration with AER, Inc., of Lexington, MA, and the University of Alaska.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Matthew Barlow
Investigating northern peatland methane dynamics
Investigating the dynamics of methane formation in northern peatlands. Methane is a strong greenhouse gas that is emitted naturally from wetlands, especially in the north. Its concentration is increasing rapidly in the atmosphere. We are utilizing microbiological and biogeochemical approaches to determine controls on gas formation followed by data synthesis and scaling using satellite remote sensing to understand methane emissions at regional to continental scales.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Mark Hines, Juliette Rooney-Varga
Late Cenozoic Climate and Glacial History of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica
Investigating recent climate history of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica’s largest ice-free region. The Dry Valleys contain the continent’s longest terrestrial record of climate change (extending to at least 15 million years ago), as well as the world’s southernmost ecosystem (fragile microbial communities that live in a series of meltwater-fed lakes). The main goals of the project are: 1) to generate an alpine glacier chronology in the McMurdo Dry Valleys that will serve as a robust record of regional climate variation over the last several million years, and 2) quantify erosional processes and their effects on dating techniques. In collaboration with researchers from Columbia University, Boston University and Worcester State University.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Kate Swanger
Bio-based plastics as alternatives to fossil-derived materials
Work with biobased, biodegradable polymers to improve the processing and properties of these sustainable materials so that they can become more competitive with petroleum-based plastics used today. These plant-derived materials close the carbon loop and in some cases, can even sequester carbon when used for durable goods. We have found that melt processing and mechanical strength can be enhanced through the addition of readily available silica fillers. If we can contribute to further improvements in these plastics they have the potential to replace more toxic materials made from dwindling petroleum resources in both single-use and durable applications.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Margaret Sobkowicz Kline
SEP Collaborative: Achieving a Sustainable Energy Pathway for Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing
A team from UMass Lowell and Wichita State University will research new forms of bio-derived materials for next generation wind turbine blades, to enable sustainable wind energy pathways. This project will describe how to replace existing petroleum-based epoxy resins with bio-based materials to impart re-workability, allowing repair and/or reuse at end-of-life, as well as understanding the impacts on the economy, wind industry, environment, and society.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Christopher Niezrecki, Emmanuelle Reynaud, Daniel Schmidt, James Sherwood , David Turcotte, Peter Avitabile, Robert Malloy, Stephen Pennell, James Graham-Eagle
WindSTAR Industry/University Cooperative Research Center
The mission of WindSTAR is to bring together university and industry researchers to conduct basic and applied research on topics that relate to the advancement of wind turbines and the wind industry, combine state-of-the-art capabilities and knowledge to advance projects relevant and of mutual interest to industry partners, train students in the advanced technologies that are important to industry members, and foster a community for networking, interactions, and collaborations.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Christopher Niezrecki
Education and Outreach
Climate Education in a Time of Media (CAM)
With support from NASA's Innovations in Climate Education (NICE) program, we are developing approaches to bring student media production into climate change education in ways that is engaging, empowering, and can be readily adopted in a wide range of instructional environments. We have found that student media-making can be used to overcome many of the challenges that climate change education presents and is an excellent way to bring active, social, and effective learning to one of the most important and most complex problems facing human society today.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Juliette Rooney-Varga, Craig Slatin, Mathew Barlow, Robert Gamache, Mitch Shuldman, Mark Hines
The New England Consortium (TNEC)
Based in the College of Health Sciences, TNEC offers a wealth of worker health and safety knowledge, including health and safety training for workers who are or will be engaged in response, recovery, and rebuilding associated with extreme weather event disasters.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Craig Slatin
Mapping Thoreau Country: Tracking Henry David Thoreau’s Travels in Massachusetts
Digital projects that promote public understanding of Henry David Thoreau’s central role in American political and environmental thought. The site uses historical maps to organize images, documents, and information related to Henry David Thoreau's travels throughout the United States.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Susan Gallagher
Science Express represents a collection of research projects that investigate the potential of Out-of-Home-Media (OHM) to foster informal science learning. While the model can be used for any specific science topic, the investigators have chosen to focus the model of engagement on climate change. Climate Change represents a timely and relevant example for which to identify the strengths and weakness of using OHM to foster science learning.
UMass Lowell Faculty: David Lustick, Jill Lohmeier
Transforming Mental Models of Climate Change Through Simulations, Games, and Systems Thinking
With funding from the NSF, the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative and Climate Interactive are partnering to bring transformative climate change education tools to educators and students. Our approach leverages Climate Interactive’s decision-support simulations in immersive role-playing games that enable students, citizens, and decision-makers to come to their own insights, grounded in current scientific understanding, about the impacts of national and regional climate and energy policies. For a brief description of the project, see: http://climateinteractive.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/using-simulations-to-transform-climate-education/
UMass Lowell Faculty: Juliette Rooney-Varga (Faculty at MIT: John Sterman; Co-Directors of Climate Interactive: Elizabeth Sawin and Drew Jones)
Walden Climate Change Collaborative (WCCC)
The WCCC provides multi¬-disciplinary, climate-change education as a public service to the people of Massachusetts. The Walden Climate-Change Collaborative (WCCC) brings UMass Lowell faculty and environmental activists together to advance climate literacy. Partnering with the Thoreau Society and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the WCCC will develop a virtual “classroom in the woods” that documents how climate change is affecting historic landscapes throughout New England. Utilizing a virtual classroom, the WCCC will stage climate-literacy workshops at state parks.
UMass Lowell Faculty: Susan Gallagher, Charlotte Ryan, Joseph Fisher