Lena Dubitsky, 2018, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

This summer I conducted research on the accuracy of climate models, focusing on the soil decomposition cycle. Soil is a vital component of the carbon cycle, yet there are different proposed models of decomposition. I recreated the cascade soil carbon and nitrogen model in MATLAB in order to better understand how it worked. To attempt to improve the accuracy of soil models, I found decomposition values for a simplified carbon soil cycle that were based on field data. Using the MATLAB optimization tool I found new decomposition values for the model, which could later be incorporated into more comprehensive climate models. Through this internship I gained a deeper understanding of the soil carbon cycle, as well as the challenges of creating climate models that reflect real world data. I also had really interesting discussions on the impact that soil has on the carbon cycle, which in turn affects the world climate. I have always been interested in the environment and will hopefully be able to tie that in to any independent work that I pursue in the future.