Climate is a complex topic which involves numerous atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns and interactions which are not fully understood. To better comprehend this climate system, Iclimate is committed to climate research, especially as it impacts Indiana climate. For example, work is beginning on a new electronic climate atlas for Indiana. The threat of soybean rust infection on Indiana farms is being studied as it is highly dependant on Indiana weather conditions and it could have a significant impact on the overall Indiana economy. These are just a few examples of important climate related research projects underway at Iclimate.

driNET U2U

Weather and climate patterns are a driving force behind the success or failure of cropping systems. With U.S. corn and soybean production accounting for nearly one-third of global supplies and contributing $100 billion annually to the national economy, the ability to successfully produce crops under more variable climate conditions is critical.

Useful to Usable (U2U): Transforming Climate Variability and Change Information for Cereal Crop Producers, is an integrated research and extension project working to improve farm resilience and profitability in the North Central Region by transforming existing climate information into usable knowledge for the agricultural community. Our goal is to help producers make better long-term plans on what, when and where to plant, and also how to manage crops for maximum yields and minimum environmental damage.

Drought Triggers

Identifying drought triggers and providing spatio-temporal information on anticipated water deficits is crucial for both food and energy security. To establish reliable drought triggers and water deficits over various space-time horizons, we propose two types of graphical models - (a) directed graphical models (homogeneous hidden Markov models) for capturing time dependence, and (b) undirected graphical models (Markov random fields) for preserving spatial dependence in the data. The models will be trained adaptively in the Bayesian framework. The probabilistic basis of these models will facilitate informed drought response decisions by quantifying uncertainty in drought states and projected deficits, that can be used for quantifying drought risks and impacts.

Indiana Climate Atlas

In 2005, Iclimate began work on a new Indiana Climate Atlas. This work is funded by a Rice Grant from the Agricultural Research Programs office of Purdue University.

State climate atlases typically are written in book format. The new Indiana Climate Atlas will be in electronic form using current GIS mapping technology. Climate variables of importance to Indiana will be analyzed, such as temperature, precipitation, snowfall, evapotranspiration, solar radiation, and probabilities of climate events such as freezing and flooding.

An electronic atlas enables the publication and distribution of the completed atlas via various media, including the Internet. Instant and easy access to climate data and information is a goal Iclimate will pursue in many of its research studies.

Aerosol Climate Studies

Aerosols are super fine particles that exist in the atmosphere and sources are from both natural and anthropogenic activities. Aerosols can absorb/diffuse radiation and have cooling/warming temperature feedback due to different kinds of aerosols. This cooling/warming effect is comparable to greenhouse effect but in different mechanism. Aerosol-Climate study: choosing multiple ground covers around the United States and examine the aerosol-caused climate feedback. We will collaborate with Pielke group in Colorado State University using GEMTM-RAMS models for model sensitivity tests.

Urban Severe Weather Climatology

Beginning in the summer of 2005, the Iclimate will begin developing a 5 year climatology of severe weather in the Indianapolis , Indiana urban region. The focus of the study will be to examine the effects of land-surface processes on convection (thunderstorms) in an urban area.

Upon completion of the observational analyses of these events, atmospheric model simulations will be performed on select cases. This will enable the Iclimate to not only examine the accuracy / performance of atmospheric models in urban areas, but also assist the development of urban- atmospheric – land surface models. The increase in knowledge of these events, will aid in better forecasting atmospheric conditions in urban regions.

Conceptualizing Climate and Climate Change

This project aims to develop an innovative instructional program that consists of a series of activities that scientifically move from climate to climate variability to climate change, exploring the complex interface between science and society that forms the basis of management decisions related to climate change issues

Evapotranspiration: measured vs modeled

Water is naturally lost from vegetation through evapotranspiration (ET), the combined processes of evaporation and transpiration. The rate of water loss is regulated by environmental factors as well as the type of vegetation or crop. To account for the large variety in crop types, ET is usually determined for one or two reference crops (grass and/or alfalfa) grown under specific criteria, known as reference ET. Reference ET can then be generalized to other crops using individual crop coefficient factors.

Finding reference ET can be done using computer models or field measurements. The purpose of our research is to compare these methods under Indiana environmental conditions. Hourly and daily values of reference ET for grass cover using models that require many weather variable inputs is compared to single variable measurements. The results of these comparisons can help determine which techniques are most efficient and accurate for operational applications of ET data in Indiana.