Ecometeorology Lab

Professor Ankur Desai’s

Ecometeorology Lab

Exploring the complicated relationship between
the Earth and Atmosphere
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences


Observe, Integrate, Forecast

Our lab studies how organisms and abiotic features in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems influence and are influenced by climate and weather and how those effects change as you scale from plot to landscape to globe. We specialize in making long-term, ecosystem-atmosphere observations of emission or uptake of carbon, energy, and water, in particular using eddy covariance flux towers. We rely on theories from the disciplines of climate science, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, micrometeorology, land surface modeling, atmospheric boundary layers.

Our lab is highly collaborative, with many of our project revolving around scaling and synthesis of our observations with other groups around the world.


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About the Lab

Findings from our projects provide benchmarks for improving ecological and atmospheric models and forecasts. These models, in turn, improve decision-making around the management of land, air, and water resources.

Our models have been used to support policy-making around topics such as fossil fuel emissions, forest harvest, and agricultural irrigation practices.

Our projects span the globe, including the upper Midwest USA, the central Rocky Mountains, and tropical forests in south and southeast Asia.



Our long-term experiments have led to greater understanding of how a turbulent atmosphere behaves in response to changes in vegetation cover, across wetland, lake, and forest ecosystems. Our measurements and models directly influence the scientific basis of global change and provide a baseline from which policy makers, land managers, and farmers make decisions about fossil fuel emissions, forest harvest, irrigation practices, and more […]



The background of students in universities and colleges today is far more diverse than in the past. Students enter the classroom with different academic preparations, life experiences and cultural backgrounds. Meanwhile, the knowledge and skills we impart has also grown more diverse, expansive and multidisciplinary. As instructors, advisors, and mentors, no longer can we prejudge student expectations or how they will learn, nor can we presuppose to know all the answers […]

Jrmy Lake.JPG


Our lab places high value on engagement with the public, including K-12 groups, local non-profits, and industry, embracing the concept of the Wisconsin Idea. Past projects have including participation in the Madison Metropolitical School District middle school science mentoring program, development of a summer field course for high school and community college students of the Menominee Nation tribe, talks to communities across the state, and advisory service on boards of several organizations […]



Curious about global warming?

Interested in learning more about climate change, what we know, and how you can make a difference?

Check out Ankur's Climate Change Resource page >>

GIF of surface temperature differences over time