James Randerson studies the global carbon cycle. He is recognized for advancing our understanding of the role of fires in the Earth System. In his work, he combines satellite observations with climate models to explore changes in the biosphere. Randerson was born in Fairfax, Virginia and grew up in San Diego, California, where he attended Point Loma High School. He received a BS in chemistry (1992) and a PhD in biological sciences (1998) from Stanford University. He conducted postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley and University of Alaska before joining the faculty at Caltech. In 2003, Randerson moved to UC Irvine where he now holds the position of Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Professor of Earth System Science. Randerson was the recipient of the James B. Macelwane Medal in 2005 and the Piers J. Sellers Global Environmental Change Mid-Career Award in 2017 from the American Geophysical Union. Randerson served as co-chair of the biogeochemistry working group of the Community Earth System Model from 2003-2017 and is currently a member of the Biological and Environmental Research Federal Advisory Committee for the U.S. Dept. of Energy Office of Science. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

James Randerson's laboratory is interested in improving our understanding of contemporary and future changes in the global biosphere. Using high-resolution NASA satellite imagery, the laboratory explores how global patterns of fires are changing in response to climate warming and intensification of land use. Field observations place constraints on the magnitude and composition of fire emissions, and atmospheric models enable researchers to understand fire impacts on atmospheric chemistry, downwind ecosystems, and human health. From the design and analysis of Earth System Model simulations, the research team is interested in exploring how drought and climate-carbon cycle feedbacks are likely to evolve in the future. An emerging theme in the laboratory is to use principles identified from the study of Earth system science to guide sustainable management of ecosystems and the design of optimal solutions for climate mitigation.

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Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology