carbon in action

Milford Sound, New Zealand - photo taken by Tim Hoar
IMAGe logo

The Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences
and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
Summer Graduate Workshop on Data Assimilation for the Carbon Cycle
Boulder, CO   8-13 July 2007

MSRI logo
Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences

Summer Graduate Workshop on Data Assimilation for the Carbon Cycle

Boulder, CO   8-13 July 2007

This summer school will expose students in the geosciences, ecology, and mathematics to multidisciplinary science through a focus on estimating the sources and sinks of carbon for the Earth system. One goal is to train the next generation of researchers to work within a multidisciplinary science team that combines geoscientists, ecologists, applied mathematicians, and statisticians. Participants will obtain an overview of this problem but also some specific skills in tackling inverse problems and working with geophysical and biogeochemical models.

Quantifying the flow of carbon into and out of the atmosphere through both natural and human activities is an important problem in biogeoscience and also a key factor in understanding climate change. Measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are limited to a small number of towers or to irregular spatial sampling from the ground or from satellites. The challenge is to make use of these observations to estimate carbon fluxes into the atmosphere. A solution to this problem requires a multidisciplinary perspective that includes an understanding of the carbon cycle, the use of atmospheric circulation models and skill in statistical modeling and data assimilation.

Lectures and discussion will be supplemented by a series of computational examples and exercises based on state-of-the-art atmospheric and biogeochemical models and will include problem-solving with NCAR's Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) facility. DART is a publicly-available software environment that supports a variety of geophysical models, different kinds of observations, ensemble filters, and smoothers.

IMAGe logo Image courtesy of Constance Brown, SAHRA, Journal of Arid Environment

Principal lecturers and invited speakers


This workshop is part of the Thematic Program: Statistics and Computer Models supported by the Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences and is also sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Morning sessions will include tutorial lectures and afternoon sessions will use computer exercises to gain enhanced understanding of the topics presented in lecture. Each day will also feature a special invited lecture on a topic related to the geosciences, ecology or applied mathematics.

Meetings will be at the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Mesa Lab, located on the edge on the Rocky Mountain foothills above Boulder, Colorado.

Participation and Support

Funding is available to support attendance with special emphasis given to graduate students and other young researchers. Students who are not working directly on the workshop topics yet have an interest in the program, are also encouraged to apply, as are members of under-represented groups. The registration form for the workshop provides the opportunity to apply for financial support.

Application Procedures

Everyone who wants to attend the workshop must register and have all application materials delivered by 31 March 2007. Decisions will be made by 7 April 2007.

A letter of application stating your research interests is required. If you are a graduate student, please include a brief description of relevant coursework and training and a short letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor.
Please submit application materials electronically to:

Silvia Gentile
email: sgentile 'at' ucar 'dot' edu
Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences
National Center for Atmospheric Research


The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) exists to further mathematical research through broadly based programs in the mathematical sciences and closely related activities. From its beginning in 1982 the Institute has been primarily funded by the NSF with additional support from other government agencies, private foundations, and academic and corporate Sponsors. Now more than 1500 mathematical scientists visit MSRI each year, many for substantial periods.


The Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences is a group embedded within the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) for the purpose of advancing mathematical theory and its application to all facets of NCAR and the geophysical community at large. IMAGe is substantially funded by the National Science Foundation.


NCAR was formed in 1960 and has a broad interdisciplinary research program involving more that 1000 employees of which several hundred hold advanced scientific or engineering degrees. The NCAR scientific program includes nearly all aspects of the atmosphere including climate and weather, atmospheric chemistry, ecology, instrumentation, scientific computing, and economic and societal impacts of atmospheric processes.