Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Ivar van der Velde

Dr. Ivar van der Velde is a meteorologist with a keen interest in the land-atmosphere exchange processes of atmospheric trace gases. He is working together with Dr. John Miller and Dr. Stephen Montzka at NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory’s Global Monitoring Division to study the global terrestrial carbon dioxide sink with a focus on North America. This sink remains uncertain in a warming world where droughts may be more extreme and more frequent. The impact of droughts is likely to be net carbon release, potentially leading to more extreme drought conditions. These feedbacks between the terrestrial carbon cycle and climate are poorly understood and represent a first order uncertainty in climate prediction. It is therefore critical to improve the representation of the terrestrial biosphere in carbon-climate models. Ivar’s previous work at Wageningen University in the Netherlands indicated that the combined use of atmospheric CO2 and its isotopologue (δ13C) could potentially help to constrain the net carbon balance and underlaying exchange processes. In the current project he is focussing on the development of a data assimilation system that utilizes a novel combination of atmospheric CO2 and δ13C data to optimize well-known model parameters in terrestrial biosphere models. The main research goals are to improve our understanding of the large-scale moisture controls on carbon dioxide fluxes. This will be valuable for the plant-physiological research community and will help define where NOAA should measure CO2 and δ13C in the United States and around the globe in order to better understand the drivers of carbon exchange variability. In his spare time Ivar can be found exploring Colorado’s hiking trails and investigating the quality of Boulder’s brewery pubs.