William Easterling

Introduction

I am a Professor of Geography (with a courtesy appointment in Agronomy) and Dean of the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. I was trained as an economic geographer and climatologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previous positions include the Department of Agricultural Meteorology at the University of Nebraska (1991-1997), Resources for the Future, Inc. in Washington DC (1987-1991), and the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois (1984-1987). My current research focuses on:

  • The potential for agriculture in developed and developing countries to adapt to climate variability and change
  • The role of scale in understanding the vulnerability of complex systems, especially agro-ecosystems, to environmental change
  • How land use change may influence the uptake and release of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere
  • The use of experimental long-term climate forecasts to assist decision making under conditions of uncertainty
  • The development of methodologies for detecting the impacts of observed 20th century climate change on natural and managed ecosystems

My research involves a combination of simulation modeling and field-based case studies.

Research Interests

  • environmental change
  • agricultural systems
  • climate
  • renewable natural resources
  • land use

Education

  • Ph.D. Geography-Climatology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1984
  • M.A. Economic Geography, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1980
  • B.A. Geography and History, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1976

Advisees

Seth Baum, Ph.D. (current)

Awards

Wilson Award, Honoring Excellence in Research, April 2003, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University.

Faculty Affiliate, Energy Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, 1999-present.

Faculty Affiliate, Department of Agronomy, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, 2000-present.