Note: I am not accepting new graduate students until at least Fall 2024. Please note that inquiries regarding graduate research starting in 2023 will almost certainly be rejected. (Undergraduate research project inquiries are still welcome!)
Welcome to the UNC Charlotte Hydroclimate Lab! My name is Jacob (Jack) Scheff and I am an Assistant Professor in Geography and Earth Sciences. Our research asks how and why global climate change affects Earth’s water cycle, atmospheric circulation and weather systems. I teach classes related to climate, climate change, and surface-atmosphere interaction, and serve my profession and department in a variety of ways.
We have several ongoing research projects. With my national colleagues and my PhD student Grace Mazaleski, I am uncovering why modeled trends in drought indices so strongly diverge from modeled trends in quantities like stream runoff. My M.S. student Zed Bates-Norris is examining the disproportionate effect of climate-change-related flooding in minority communities in North Carolina. My recent PhD graduate Xiaoyu Bai tested the limits of classical energetic theories about why and how climate change affects tropical rainfall. My recent M.S. graduates Maya Robinson and Nick Golden and I are analyzing what controls the jet stream’s response to climate change, and whether the evolution of the jet to date gives us any insight on that response. Another M.S. graduate Cody Burroughs has quantified long-term trends in extreme summer dewpoints across the U.S. Finally, with my departmental colleague Pat Fall and her collaborators, I am using models and proxies to help reconstruct Holocene-era Mediterranean paleoclimate and interactions with Near Eastern prehistory.
I also enjoy teaching a full menu of courses in our Meteorology and Earth Science programs. At the sophomore/junior level, I teach Global Environmental Change (ESCI 3101) which is a broad, extensive introduction to the science behind global warming. At a higher level, Climate Dynamics (METR 4205 / ESCI 5205) gives students hands-on computational (Matlab) experience in analyzing large datasets to understand major climate phenomena like El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Boundary Layer Meteorology (METR 4240 / ESCI 5240) explores near-surface turbulence and its transport of heat, moisture, wind, and pollutants between the surface and lower atmosphere. And, Hydroclimatology (ESCI 4201/5201) examines how climate, geography and circulation drive the patterns of precipitation, water resources and vegetation on our planet, and how climate change has altered and will alter those patterns.
Service to my profession and to the public is also a central aspect of my work. I am an active member of the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society, and regular organizer of international research workshops and sessions. I am closely involved in public communication on weather and climate, including national and local media pieces as well as visits to Charlotte-area community and faith groups.
Please visit our group webpage for more about us!