Kimberly Novick is an environmental scientist who joined O'Neill's faculty in 2012. She studies how climate variability affects ecosystems and complimentary processes by which ecosystem processes determine the pace of climate change. This field of research—land atmosphere interactions—blends concepts from meteorology, plant physiology, and hydrology and has a strong emphasis on socially relevant problem solving. For example, without understanding how plants and the atmosphere interact, we cannot confidently model the land carbon sink, injecting substantial uncertainty in future climate predictions. A holistic perspective on how alterations to land cover and management determine carbon, water and energy cycling is also required to understand the extent to which ecosystems can be managed as “natural climate solutions.” Her research is particularly focused on understanding interactions between climate and land cover change in the productive forests and farms of the Eastern United States, with an emphasis on the influence of drought.
Much of Novick’s research is enabled by the rich information contained in environmental observation networks like AmeriFlux, FLUXNET, and NSF’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), which aggregate data from hundreds of sites and facilitate research by thousands of scientists. Novick and her students use these network data together with finer-scale information on plant ecophysiological function, and coarse-scale information from satellite remote sensing, to drive understanding of ecosystem processes from leaf to continental scales.
At Indiana University, Novick mentors a dynamic lab group comprised of students, postdoctoral researchers, and technicians conducting novel field studies and synthesizing the vast amounts of pre-existing data contained in networks and satellite records. She serves as the program director for the O’Neill School’s Ph.D. program in Environmental Science and serves on the advisory committees to the Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) and the IU Research and Teaching Preserve. She also co-organizes the ERI’s award-winning “Educating for Environmental Change” K-12 teachers workshop series.
In service to the profession, Novick guides the scientific mission and infrastructure of networks like AmeriFlux, NEON and FLUXNET through nominated roles on their scientific advisory councils, and by co-organizing an internationally recognized summer short course on land-surface flux observation and modeling (the “Fluxcourse,” www.fluxcourse.org). She is the lead and co-founder of a new AmeriFlux network working group on Natural Climate Solutions. She also serves as an editor for the journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, and regularly convenes sessions and networking events at conferences and workshops.