Martin De Kauwe

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
in the Climate And Forest Ecosystem Modelling group at Macquarie University.

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Research

My research focuses on improving our understanding of land-atmosphere interactions, with an emphasis on forest ecosystems and their responses to global change. I am particularly interested in ways to utilise experimental and satellite data to develop more evidence-based models.

In 2008, I completed my PhD at UCL, under the supervision of Philip Lewis, Mat Disney and Mathew Williams. I implementing a data assimilation framework to combine satellite derived observations, with a simple carbon balance ecosystem model (DALEC) to estimate (with uncertainty) global carbon stocks and fluxes.

After completing my PhD I moved to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) to take up a position with the grand job title: "Earth Observation and Land Surface Modeller". Here, I worked with Chris Taylor, on applying spectral analysis to satellite derived land surface temperature (LST), to characterise the timescales over which the land surface responds to rainfall events in the Sahel. This analysis framework was also used to evaluate simulated LST data from the JULES (Joint UK Land Environment Simulator) land surface model.

In 2010, I moved to the bottom of the globe (from my perspective), where I have been employed as a postdoc in Belinda Medlyn's Climate and Forest Ecosystem Modelling (CAFE M) lab. At Macquarie University, my focus has been on synthesising a number of Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiments, both from the US and here in Australia, to identify key areas of model weakness. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a new generation of terrestrial biosphere models, which more accurately reflect experimental understanding of the response of vegetation to elevated CO2.

More recently, in collaboration with Andy Pitman's group at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, I have led innovative research that have improved the simulations of water fluxes by the Australian Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange land surface model.

At present, I am developing probabilistic model estimates of the risk of drought mortality for tree species across the Australian landscape. The results of this work will assist conservation management of tree species, in preparation for rising temperature and shifting rainfall patterns expected under a changing climate.

Feel free to drop me an email if any of that sounds interesting!

"The method of science depends on our attempts to describe the world with simple theories: theories that are complex may become untestable, even if they happen to be true. Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification-the art of discerning what we may with advantage omit" - Karl Popper, The Open Universe: An Argument for Indeterminism, pg. 44.

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