Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
Thomas Chase is a CIRES fellow and Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado. Much of Tom's recent work has addressed the climatic effects of landcover change both through climate model studies and observational analysis. He is particularly interested in atmospheric circulation changes which may have resulted from recent landcover changes and interactions with other natural circulation regimes such as those due to El Nino/Southern Oscillation or monsoons. Because changes in tropical circulation have been strongly related to the recently observed planetary surface warming, this research is relevant to the issues of greenhouse warming. A main issue for the future is adequately characterizing the changes in land surface properties over the course of time.
Tom has also been involved in examining general feedback behavior to changes in the climate system, particularly as mediated by the hydrological cycle. Because the hydrological cycle is strongly coupled to the biosphere, landcover change has many implications for hydrological cycle feedbacks and may explain some discrepancies between model simulations and observed behavior. One example of a regulation mechanism mediated by the hydrological cycle under investigation here is seen in observations of mid-tropospheric Arctic winter temperatures where a minimum is reached in late autumn which is not exceeded later in the winter despite several months of continued net energy loss. This minimum temperature can be related to convective activity over open ocean and suggeest the presence of an active regulation mechanism.
Please visit Tom's homepage at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.