LMU Professor Helps Develop Climate Change Model for Great Lakes

Loyola Marymount University professor Jeremy Pal, Ph.D., is part of a team that developed a computer model to chart both climate and hydrodynamic factors around the Great Lakes. The new model will be useful in climate predictions, habitat modeling for invasive species, oil spill mitigation and other environmental research.

The Great Lakes are like inland seas, yet they are all part of one climate system. From the cold depths of Lake Superior fisheries to the shallow algae blooms of Lake Erie, the bodies of water differ greatly from one another.

Until now, atmospheric models and hydrodynamic models in the region have remained separate to a large extent, with only a few attempts to loosely couple them. In the new study, published this week in the Journal of Climate (DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0225.1), an integrated model brings together climate and water models.

Researchers from Michigan Technological University, Loyola Marymount University, LimnoTech and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory worked on the project.

Pengfei Xue, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, led the study through his work at the Great Lakes Research Center on the Upper Peninsula campus.

“One of the important concepts in climate change, in addition to knowing the warming trend, is understanding that extreme events become more severe,” Xue says. “That is both a challenge and an important focus in regional climate modeling.”

Pal, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at LMU, said, “Regional climate models allow us to translate global climate change projections to a regional scale, which is essential to assess potential impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation measures.”

For more information, go to:  http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2016/november/weather-storm-improving-great-lakes-modeling.html