Project Details


Human-induced changes in the global climate and atmospheric environment are among the most significant scientific challenges to address this century. Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century. Earth System Models are used to both understand these issues as well as project the future state of the climate and the environment. However, significant uncertainties remain in these models, owing to the lack of high-quality data of key variables, especially from complex terrains that encompass mountains, rainforests, and a variety of land uses. This IRES project will provide five U.S. undergraduate students each year the opportunity to spend eight weeks in Peru to study the extreme weather manifestations of climate change. Peru is on the extreme side of potential impacts that climate change can have, and therefore, the training we will develop in Peru could be applied to the United States. Students will learn the necessary research skills to apply theories about climate change, impacts, adaptation, and solutions within the Peruvian context. Students will also work in Peru to address challenges associated with climate change. The international experiences will contribute to increasing retention and graduation rates of participating students, improve programs and strategies for sustaining diversity in science and engineering.

The program provides individually challenging experiences in research and well-organized integrative team activities and professional development to undergraduate students. The program aims to provide a high quality, and balanced research activities that positively impact the participants' lifelong career choices in science and engineering research. The students will work with faculty and investigators from Peru and United States to integrate weather sensors and mount them on a drone, design experiments, collect and analyze data, and present results to scientific and non-scientific audiences. Students will study complex terrain and ecosystems in collaboration with local scientific and engineering experts, and utilize laboratory and local field infrastructure. Proposed activities rely on existing and new data sets, social science data collection, and ground-based and remote sensing measurements in collaboration with local partners in Peru to study extreme weather events such as severe hailstorms and frost conditions in the Peruvian Andes, and wildfires in the Peruvian Amazon. Research activities will include data analyses to mitigate El Niño phenomena and identify Drawdown solutions to combat climate change. Students will work within the areas of faculty expertise but choose and define a project of personal interest. Each project will have at least two faculty mentors to help the students develop with multidisciplinary approaches to tackle their research activities. This program includes a robust mentoring component aimed at sharing best practices for future researchers. The involvement of undergraduates in research with exposure to climate change and the social impact on humankind has implications well beyond the technical scope of the individual research projects, and the inclusion of science communication shows how research can directly impact society.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date10/1/188/31/24


  • National Science Foundation: $300,000.00


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