Luke Schiferl

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Originally from Wisconsin, Luke completed his PhD in Environmental Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017. At MIT, he focused on understanding various interactions between air quality and agriculture using satellite, ground, and aircraft measurements along with atmospheric chemistry and crop production models. Luke brings his numerical analysis and modeling expertise to the Commane group, working on various projects including improving our understanding and representation of the carbon system in arctic and boreal ecosystems. Luke enjoys traveling, visiting breweries, skiing, and cheering on his teams (Go Badgers!).


Luke is leading our research on Arctic carbon and global simulations of carbonyl sulfide as part of the NASA ATom mission


Arctic and boreal ecosystem carbon flux analysis

As part of the NASA Arctic and Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) Program, Luke's ongoing work aims to quantify ABoVE-domain CO2 and CH4 fluxes seasonally and spatially and identify the sources and dominant processes in this area. Tools being applied to this problem include aircraft measurements, an atomspheric transport model, a stastical-driven photosynthesis and respiration model, and geospatial inversion techniques. Optimized CO2 and CH4 fluxes in time and space.will allow us to develop an annual budget for CO2 and CH4 throughout the ABoVE domain, improving upon our understanding and representation of the carbon system in arctic and boreal ecosystems.





Colm Sweeney, Abhishek Chatterjee, Sonja Wolter, Kathryn McKain, Robert Bogue, Tim Newberger, Lei Hu, Lesley Ott, Benjamin Poulter, Luke Schiferl, Brad Weir, Zhen Zhang, and Charles E. Miller. 2020. “Atmospheric carbon cycle dynamics over the ABoVEdomain: an integrated analysis using aircraft observations (Arctic-CAP) and model simulations (GEOS).” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, Pp. 1–30. Publisher's Version Abstract Sweeneyetal2020_ACPD.pdf

Erika von Schneidemesser, Charles Driscoll, Harald E. Rieder, and Luke D. Schiferl. 2020. “How will air quality effects on human health, crops and ecosystems change in the future?” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 378, 2183, Pp. 20190330. Publisher's Version Abstract vonSchneidemesseretal2020_RSTA.pdf



  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - February 2018
    • Environmental Chemistry
  • M.S., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO - December 2012
    • Atmospheric Science
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI - May 2010
    • Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Environmental Studies Certificate

Research Appointments

  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist - July 2018-June 2019, January 2020-Present
    • Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY
    • Advisor: Róisín Commane
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow - January 2018-June 2018, July 2019-December 2019
    • John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
    • Advisor: Róisín Commane
  • Graduate Research Assistant - September 2012-December 2017
    • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
    • Advisor: Colette L. Heald
  • Graduate Research Assistant - August 2010-August 2012
    • Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
    • Advisor: Colette L. Heald
  • Summer Intern, Undergraduate Student Research Program - June-August 2009
    • Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
    • Advisor: Gary J. Jedlovec

Previous Research

Interactions between agriculture and air quality

Concern is ever growing over increasing human population and the effects of industrialization on the environment, agriculture and air quality have become important areas of research. My PhD research at MIT focused on exploring the interactions of these topics in both directions. Using new observations at the surface, on aircraft, and from satellite, we found summertime ammonia emissions and concentrations were underestimated in an atmospheric chemistry model. While this has little impact on PM during the summer, accounting for these missing ammonia emissions contributes significantly to inorganic PM during colder time periods. We also employed this atmospheric chemistry model, empirical relationships, and a crop production model to assess the net impact of PM and ozone on global crop production. While varying by crop and location, our results indicate that production enhancement due to increased diffuse light from PM may offset a significant portion of ozone damage, especially in winter growing seasons. Full description of these studies is found on his Publications page.