The John and Maryann Montrym Fund expands the range of research opportunities available to EAPS students via climate research mini-grants.
When John Montrym '83 and his wife Maryann established the John and Maryann Montrym Fund in 2016, they wanted to help EAPS students go the extra mile with their climate research. With an interest in environmental issues, and as Chief Architect at NVIDIA— the company which invented graphics processing units (GPUs)—Montrym found a place that matched his interests: EAPS, where computation, theory, and laboratory investigation come together to answer fundamental climate questions. About a dozen mini-grants later, the Montryms' generosity has helped expand the resources and opportunities available to EAPS climate science students, thereby enriching their work.
A new NVIDIA GPU-based computer has helped Sam Levang PhD '19, formerly with the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, track particles in numerical ocean models. This tool helped him examine how ocean salinity and circulation patterns will respond to a changing climate, the global water cycle, and rain patterns. "It is a complicated problem, because salinity also drives large-scale overturning circulations through its effect on density," says Levang. "This has important implications for climate by affecting heat and carbon storage in the ocean."
Another GPU workstation helped EAPS graduate student Ziwei Li try a data-driven approach to improve convective parameterization schemes in large-scale global atmospheric circulation models. "Uncertainties in climate change predictions lie largely in the representation of clouds in global climate models," says Li. "Innovative and contemporary machine learning methods can help us tackle this important problem, and the powerful GPIJ has enabled me to implement algorithms such as neural networks:
Other students enriched their field research. Graduate student Tyler Tamasi of the "BabLab" was able to join an expedition to Cuba's Gardens of the Queen,a pristine coral reef ecosystem off the southern coast where the biogeochemistry can be used as a baseline for understanding the ocean processes in less pristine areas of the globe. Partnering with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, graduate student Mara Freilich sequenced the phytoplankton populations she collected in the Mediterranean, where different water masses collide, to understand their role in carbon export and the physics of the subduction process.
"It has been gratifying to hear from students about how the Montrym Fund has helped them advance their research. The diversity of their climate research has been fascinating—from the highly computational to more hands-on research. I'm looking forward to continuing my investment in EAPS climate research to help nurture young climate scientists, and to advance understanding of the scientific underpinnings of the climate and ocean system, to better inform future policy and action on climate change."
Photo courtesy John and Maryann Montrym
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