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I began my M.S. in Land and Atmospheric Science at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2009. Prior to graduate school, I received my B.S. in Environmental Science and worked with the Biometeorology Group for a year. My research focuses on understanding how the exchange of water vapor between the surface and the atmosphere influences the isotopic composition of water vapor. Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas and may provide a strong positive feedback on surface warming. The role of water vapor in the climate system is complex, and there is significant uncertainty about potential implications due to anthropogenic warming.
My work includes direct measurements of isotopic water vapor mixing ratios using an EC-TDL system, and analysis of the isotopic composition of precipitation, ground water, soil water, and plant water using an off-axis laser spectroscopy system and cryogenic water extraction. Through isotopic analysis of water at these stages as it moves through the biosphere and atmosphere, we will be able to develop an understanding on how local land-atmosphere processes influence the fractionation of water isotopes. By identifying the dominant forcing mechanisms and their influences on the isotopic composition of the atmosphere, we can better utilize water isotopes as tracers of global and regional climate change.