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Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences (CHESS) Strategic Cluster Hire


Multiple lines of scientific evidence have shown that global change including alterations in climate, air and water quality, and land use already has affected the ability of Earth’s ecosystems to provide people with essential goods and services including food, energy, and water in many regions of the world. The US National Climate Assessment indicates that US ecosystems and our economic system are very vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, and are already experiencing increased impacts of persistent extreme weather events (such as droughts and hurricanes), heat waves, and sea-level rise. To provide effective solutions to the most pressing global and regional environmental challenges as well as to support transformation towards global sustainability, it is of critical importance to pursuing an interdisciplinary/systems approach to understanding, predicting, and reacting to changes in coupled human-earth systems across multi-scales from local to global.

The CHESS Cluster: In preparing to deal with such pressing challenges and become a nationally competitive program in these research areas, Auburn University established the interdisciplinary cluster program in Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences (CHESS), which is under the Office of Provost and jointly supported by five school/colleges (School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Engineering, College of Agriculture, and College of Liberal Arts). The climate, human, and earth system sciences, by their very nature, are large, complex, and multi-disciplinary. The CHESS Cluster builds on our strengths in disciplinary research on biological and physical sciences and will leverage the work of current faculty in plant and animal sciences, ecosystems, water resources, geoscience, agronomy, forestry, geospatial science, computational science, and social sciences. The new faculty hires in seven areas will fill the crucial gaps of our understanding about the interconnected and interdependent human and earth systems, and facilitate the integration of existing expertise across multiple disciplines of participating colleges into an interdisciplinary, system-oriented program. The seven new faculty hires would provide crucial expertise needed 1) to understand and predict climate change dynamics using earth system modeling approach, 2) to understand dynamics of coupled natural and human systems, 3) to assess far reaching biological effects and responses of our food-crop systems, 4) to understand global and regional hydrological processes and water resources, 5) to use paleoclimate data and model for understanding the past to predict the future, 6) to address critical challenges for big data management and high-performance computing in CHESS, and 7) to address climate policy and the economic, political and socio-cultural dimensions of the climate-food-energy-water nexus. The activities of this cluster will be initially organized and administrated by the International Center for Climate and Global Change Research (ICCGCR), the CHESS Steering Committee and External Advisory Board. This cluster will propose and offer a new interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree program in CHESS based on the integration of scientific disciplines from five colleges and school. The existing ICCGCR Center is also proposed to upgrade to a new university-level Institute of Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences.

Positions Open:

Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences:
Department of Geosciences:
Department of Geosciences:
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences:
Computer Science and Software Engineering:
Department of Civil Engineering:

Sponsoring Colleges/Schools

Auburn University established the interdisciplinary cluster program in Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences (CHESS), which is jointly supported by five school/colleges:

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
College of Science and Mathematics
College of Engineering
College of Agriculture
College of Liberal Arts

Contact Information

Dr. Hanqin Tian
CHESS Cluster Leader

Solon & Martha Dixon Professor
Director of International Center for Climate and Global Change Research
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University
602 Duncan Drive
Auburn, AL 36849, USA.

Phone: (334) 844-1059
Fax: (334) 844-1084

Last Updated: October 17, 2016