Max Berkelhammer

Research Interests

My research aims to shed light on the natural and anthropogenic processes that influence the atmospheric branch of the water cycle. The motivation for this line of inquiry is to provide better constraints on how ecological systems respond to changes in water availability. The work involves reconstructions of past hydrological regimes using paleoclimate proxies to study how the climate system behaved prior to strong anthropogenic influences.  In addition, satellite data and in situ observations of the water and carbon cycles are used to characterize the behavior of the system in real-time.  Lastly, the research takes advantage of models of the climate and hydrological systems to help project how the water and carbon cycles will evolve in the future.  Current projects are heavily focused on the use of water and carbon cycle tracers (e.g. HDO, H218 O and COS) to characterize exchanges of water carbon between the land surface and the atmosphere. Examples of ongoing projects include work at Summit Station on top of the Greenland Ice sheet to study the exchange of water between the ice sheet and Arctic atmosphere and work at the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Observatory in the Rocky Mountains, which focuses on the water utilization patterns of forest ecosystems.  Additional ongoing projects look at the tropical water cycle with an emphasis on long term trends in the Indian monsoon and how changes in the monsoon are related to the development of large convective systems in the Indian Ocean.  These latter projects rely on the analysis of satellite and paleoclimate proxy data.  Prior to pursuing a career in research, I worked as a high school teacher and maintain an active interest in science education in secondary schools. This work seeks to provide more hands-on research opportunities for high school students. 

Selected Recent Publications

  • M. Berkelhammer, D. Asaf, C. Still, S. Montzka, D. Noone, M. Gupta, R. Provencal, H. Chen, D. Yakir. (accepted) Constraining surface carbon fluxes using in situ measurements of carbonyl sulfide and carbon dioxide. Global Biogeochemical Cycles.
  • M. Berkelhammer, J. Hu, A. Bailey, D. Noone, C. Still, H. Barnard, D. Gochis, G. Hsiao, T. Rahn, A. Turnipsheed. (2013) The nocturnal water cycle in an open canopy forest.  Journal of Geophysical Research. Volume 118, Issue 17, pages 10225–10242.
  • S. McCabe-Glynn, K. Johnson, C. Strong, M. Berkelhammer, A. Sinha, H. Cheng & R. Edwards. (2013) Variable North Pacific influence on drought in southwestern North America since AD 854. Nature Geoscience 6, 617–621.
  • M. Berkelhammer, C. Risi, N. Kurita, D. Noone. (2012) The moisture source sequence for the Madden‐Julian Oscillation as derived from satellite retrievals of HDO and H2O. Journal of Geophysical Research. Volume 117, Issue D3, 16 February 2012.
  • M. Berkelhammer, A. Sinha, L. Stott, H. Cheng, F.S.R. Pausata, K. Yoshimura (2012) An Abrupt Shift in the Indian Monsoon 4000 Years Ago. In: Climates, Landscapes and Civilization, Eds: Liviu Giosan, Dorian Q. Fuller, Kathleen Nicoll, Rowan K. Flad, Peter D. Clift. DOI: 10.1029/2012GM001207.
  • M. Berkelhammer, L. D. Stott (2012) Secular temperature trends for the southern Rocky Mountains over the last five centuries. Geophysical Research Letters.Volume 39, Issue 17, 16 September 2012.