Madeleine Burns ’24


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project Title

Impacts of High-latitude Land-Climate Interactions on Arctic Climate Change

Presentation Link

View Madeleine's Presentation

Certificate(s):  Applications of Computing

I analyzed how plant responses to increased CO2 concentrations impact polar amplification, the observed pattern that warming occurs at a faster rate at northern latitudes. Because plant reactions to increased CO2 concentrations have not been thoroughly studied, narrowing uncertainty in this area will enable more accurate predictions of future warming. I focused on the albedo feedback response, in which a decrease in surface reflectiveness (for instance, a reduction in snow cover) results in an increase in absorbed heat, contributing to an increase in global temperatures. I used Earth system models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project to isolate plant physiological changes due to increased CO2 concentrations. Then, I quantified the physiologically driven albedo feedback contributions and analyzed the contributing mechanisms. This project provided a valuable opportunity to expand my data analysis and visualization skills while working with large sets of climate model data. The experience furthered my interest in climate modeling and instilled a curiosity about atmospheric and geological sciences, leaving me inspired to pursue these subjects further at Princeton.

Internship Year


Project Category

Extreme Weather and Impacts


Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington - Seattle, Washington


Kyle Armour, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography, University of Washington; Abigail Swann, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Biology, University of Washington; Lily Hahn, Ph.D. candidate, University of Washington; Claire Zarakas, Ph.D. candidate, University of Washington