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Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences has a great diversity of programs and intersecting disciplines, with faculty and students studying in fields such as Tectonics, Geophysics, Atmospheric Dynamics and Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Biogeochemistry, Climate Change, Severe Weather, Planetary Sciences, Astrobiology, Data Science, and many other areas. We are committed to strategic initiatives in Diversity and Inclusion, Education, Interconnections between the Earth’s interior and surface, climate and sustainability, planetary exploration and spacecraft missions, and the development of emerging fields of study.

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Explainer: How is climate change driving dangerous 'wet-bulb' temperatures?

REUTERS —A dangerous combination of heat and humidity is sweeping the Gulf region this week, hitting cities from Dubai to Doha. Dubai, for example, is forecast to see air temperatures hover around 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit). But climate experts say air temperature alone can be misleading. Meteorologists are particularly worried about the "wet-bulb" temperature — a more holistic measurement that accounts not just for air temperature but also how much moisture it holds. In Dubai, humidity this week is expected to be between 35% and 45%. The work of Dr. Matthew Huber, of Purdue EAPS, is discussed in this article by Reuters.

Mars region offers NASA rover environment to search for evidence of ancient microbial life

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University scientist Briony Horgan is leading NASA’s Mars rover into unfamiliar territory as the mission turns toward its next opportunity to find ancient signs of life on the red planet. The rover Perseverance is searching for evidence of ancient microbial life in Mars’ rock record in deposits along the margin areas around Jezero Crater, where the rover initially landed. Any life that once existed on the red planet may have left behind chemical clues that Horgan hopes can still be found in the deposits as part of the rover’s “margin campaign.”

Bringing home asteroids: Purdue scientist will be among the first to examine asteroid pieces from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission

PURDUE NEWS — The culmination of more than a decade of work by a team of thousands, samples of the asteroid will land Sept. 24 in the Utah desert and be whisked off to a clean lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. There, Michelle Thompson, associate professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences in Purdue’s College of Science, will be one of the first six lead investigators from the science team — and the first woman — to study the samples.

Risk of mass deaths as heatwaves start to pass survivability threshold

NEW SCIENTIST — As the world warms beyond 1.5°C, large parts of the world will start to have heatwaves so extreme that healthy young people could die within several hours if they fail to find respite, a study has warned. Recent studies suggest parts of the tropics could exceed this limit at lower levels of warming. What’s more, in practice most people couldn’t survive anything close to a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C according to Dr. Matthew Huber of Purdue EAPS.

NSF announces two awards through the Centers for Innovation and Community Engagement in Solid Earth Geohazards

NSF — The U.S. National Science Foundation has announced two awards through the Centers for Innovation and Community Engagement in Solid Earth Geohazards program. The Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT) and the Statewide California Earthquake Center (SCEC) will receive almost $21 million over the next five years to advance research on Earth processes that underpin natural hazards like earthquakes and tsunamis. Dr. Jonathan Delph, of Purdue EAPS, is one of the senior personnel for the "Cascadia Velocity Model" group in the CRESCENT project.

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Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2051 • Phone: (765) 494-3258 • Fax: (765) 496-1210 • Contact Us

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