Welcome to the UNC Charlotte Hydroclimate Lab! My name is Jack Scheff and I am an Assistant Professor in Geography and Earth Sciences. Our research asks how and why global climate change affects Earth’s water cycle, atmospheric circulation and weather systems — both in our greenhouse present and future, and in the geologic past. I teach classes related to climate, climate change, and surface-atmosphere interaction, and serve the community in a variety of ways.
We have numerous research projects in progress. In an NSF-funded collaboration with colleagues in New York and Germany, my PhD student Xiaoyu Bai and I are testing new theoretical ideas to try to understand why different climate models generate such different predictions for how tropical rainfall patterns will change as the planet warms. My M.S. student Nick Golden and I are examining a range of present and past indications that global warming may be much more accentuated at higher latitudes than theorists have assumed, with major consequences for weather systems, jet streams and precipitation. My M.S. student Maya Robinson is using a novel high-resolution simulation to test recent ideas about global warming’s effect on snowstorms, and my M.S. student Cody Burroughs is probing the nature and patterns of summertime dewpoint and wet-bulb temperature extremes in the southeast U.S. In addition, I am trying to understand why climate model projections of drought indices diverge so strongly from the same models’ projections of key drought impacts, and how past and present evidence can be used to constrain which to believe.
I also enjoy teaching a full menu of courses in our Meteorology and Earth Science programs. At the sophomore/junior level, I teach Global Environmental Change (ESCI 3101) which is a broad, extensive introduction to the science behind global warming. At a higher level, Climate Dynamics (METR 4205 / ESCI 5205) gives students hands-on computational (Matlab) experience in analyzing large datasets to understand major climate phenomena like El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Boundary Layer Meteorology (METR 4240 / ESCI 5240) explores near-surface turbulence and its transport of heat, moisture, wind, and pollutants between the surface and lower atmosphere. And, Hydroclimatology (ESCI 4201/5201) examines how climate, geography and global circulation drive the patterns of precipitation, water resources and vegetation on our planet, and how climate change has altered and will alter those patterns.
Service to my profession and to the public is also a central aspect of my work. I am an active member of the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society, and a frequent and award-winning peer reviewer of studies and proposals across the climate and hydrological sciences. I am closely involved in public outreach on weather and climate, including large science festivals, school group visits, sessions with community groups and churches, and local media.
Please visit our group webpage for more about us!