Kenneth J. Davis

Kenneth J. Davis

  • Professor of Atmospheric and Climate Science
512 Walker Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-8601


  1. A.B. -- Princeton University, Physics with honors, and a Certificate in Theater and Dance, 1987
  2. Ph.D. -- University of Colorado, Astrophysical, Planetary and Atmospheric Sciences, 1992


Professional Society Memberships

  • American Meteorological Society

  • American Geophysical Union

  • Chi Epsilon Pi

Research Interests

Research interests: Boundary layer meteorology, terrestrial carbon and hydrologic cycles, remote sensing using lidar, flux measurement methods, interactions between terrestrial processes and boundary layer development, climate change ethics.

Terrestrial systems and the atmosphere are linked via the atmospheric boundary layer, the lowest layer of the atmosphere characterized by turbulent flows and rapid response to changes in the earth's surface. Surface-atmosphere interactions are important to climate and weather. Dr. Davis studies these interactions via observations of the atmospheric boundary layer, including turbulent flux measurements, trace gas mixing ratio measurements and lidar remote sensing. His group also employs atmospheric models and models of ecosystem biogeochemistry and hydrology to synthesize and interpret complex observations. His current research focuses on study of the terrestrial carbon and water cycles. He has played a leading role in a number of innovative field studies including NASA Atmospheric Carbon and Transport (ACT) - America, the NACP Midcontinent Intensive regional study (MCI), and the Indianapolis Flux experiment (INFLUX).

Teaching interests

Atmospheric physics, boundary layer meteorology, global carbon cycle, observational methods.

Selected Professional Service Activities

Co-chair, North American Carbon Program Science Steering Group, 2008 – 2014.

Member, Carbon Cycle Science Steering Group, 2008 – present.

Contributing Author, A new U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan, 2011.

Director, Northeastern Regional Center of the Department of Energy’s National Institute for Climatic Change Research. 2005 – 2011.

Member, North American Carbon Program interim synthesis steering group, 2008 – 2011.

Member, National Center for Atmospheric Research Earth Observing Laboratory’s Observational Facilities Assessment Panel, Fall, 2005 – 2009.

Jury Member, 2009 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for contributions to knowledge of Climate Change, 2009.

Lead Author, First State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR), 2007.

Chair, American Meteorological Society’s Committee on Boundary Layers and Turbulence, 2003 - 2005. Member, 1998 – 2002.

Selected Publications

  • Miles, N. L., S. J. Richardson, K. J. Davis, T. Lauvaux, A. E. Andrews, T. O. West, V. Bandaru, and E. R. Crosson, 2012. Large amplitude spatial and temporal gradients in atmospheric boundary layer CO2 mole fractions detected with a tower-based network in the U.S. upper Midwest, J. Geophys. Res., 117, G01019, doi:10.1029/2011JG001781.
  • Lauvaux, T., A. E. Schuh, M. Uliasz, S. Richardson, N. Miles, A. E. Andrews, C. Sweeney, L. I. Diaz, D. Martins, P. B. Shepson, and K. J. Davis, 2012. Constraining the CO2 budget of the corn belt: exploring uncertainties from the assumptions in a mesoscale inverse system, Atmos. Chem. Phys.. 12, 337-354.
  • Stephens, B. B., N. L. Miles, S. J. Richardson, A. S. Watt, and K. J. Davis, 2011. Atmospheric CO2 monitoring with single-cell NDIR-based analyzers". Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (1867-8548), 4 (12), p. 2737. DOI: 10.5194/amt-4-2737-2011.
  • Xiao, J., K. J. Davis, N. M. Urban, K. Keller, and N. Z. Saliendra, 2011. Upscaling carbon fluxes from towers to the regional scale: Influence of parameter variability and land cover representation on regional flux estimates, J. Geophys. Res., 116, G00J06, doi:10.1029/2010JG001568.
  • Gibert, Fabien, Grady J. Koch, Jeffrey Y. Beyon, Timothy W. Hilton, Kenneth J. Davis, Arlyn Andrews, Pierre H. Flamant and Upendra N. Singh, 2011. Can CO2 turbulent flux measurements be made by lidar? A preliminary study, J. Oceanic and Atmos. Technology, 28, 365-377, doi 10.1175/2010JTECHA1446.1
  • Butler, M.P., K. J. Davis, A. S. Denning, and S. R. Kawa, Using continental observations in global atmospheric inversions of CO2: 2010. 1. North American carbon sources and sinks. Tellus B, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0889.2010.00501.x.
  • Corbin, K.D., A.S. Denning, E.Y. Lokupitiya, A.E. Schuh, N.L. Miles, K.J. Davis, S. Richardson, I.T. Baker, 2010. Assessing the impact of crops on regional CO2 fluxes and atmospheric concentrations, Tellus,.62B, 521–532, DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0889.2010.00485.x
  • Grabon, Jeffrey S., Kenneth J. Davis, Christoph Kiemle and Gerhard Ehret, 2010. Airborne Lidar Observations of the Transition Zone Between the Convective Boundary Layer and Free Atmosphere During the International H2O Project (IHOP) in 2002. Boundary-Layer Meteorol,134, 61–83, DOI 10.1007/s10546-009-9431-1
  • Hollinger, D.Y., S.V. Ollinger, A.D. Richardson, T.P. Meyers, D.B. Dail, M.E. Martin, N.A. Scott, T.J. Arkebauer, D.D. Baldocchi, K.L. Clark, P.S. Curtis, K.J. Davis, A.R. Desai, D. Dragoni, M.L. Goulden, L. Gu, G.G. Katul, S.G. Pallardy, K.T. Paw U, H.P. Schmid, P.C. Stoy, A.E. Suyker, and S.B. Verma, 2010. Albedo estimates for land surface models and support for a new paradigm based on foliage nitrogen concentration. Global Change Biology. 16, 696–710, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02028.x
  • Schienke, Erich W., Seth D. Baum, Nancy Tuana, Kenneth J. Davis, and Klaus Keller, 2010. Intrinsic Ethics Regarding Integrated Assessment Models for Climate Management, Science and Engineering Ethics. 1353-3452, 1-21,
  • Schwalm, Christopher R., Christopher A. Williams, Kevin Schaefer, Ryan Anderson, M. Altaf Arain, Ian Baker, Alan Barr, T. Andrew Black, Guangsheng Chen, Jing Ming Chen, Philippe Ciais, Kenneth J. Davis, Ankur Desai, Michael Dietze, Danilo Dragoni, Marc L. Fischer, Lawrence B. Flanagan, Robert Grant, Lianhong Gu, David Hollinger, R. César Izaurralde, Chris Kucharik, Peter Lafleur, Beverly E. Law, Longhui Li, Zhengpeng Li, Shuguang Liu, Erandathie Lokupitiya, Yiqi Luo, Siyan Ma, Hank Margolis, Roser Matamala, Harry McCaughey, Russell K. Monson, Walter C. Oechel, Changhui Peng, Benjamin Poulter, David T. Price, Dan M. Riciutto, William Riley, Alok Kumar Sahoo, Michael Sprintsin, Jianfeng Sun, Hanqin Tian, Christina Tonitto, Hans Verbeeck, and Shashi B. Verma, 2010. A model‐data intercomparison of CO2 exchange across North America: Results from the North American Carbon Program site synthesis, J. Geophys. Res., 115, G00H05, doi:10.1029/2009JG001229.
  • Birdsey, Richard, Behrenfeld, Mike, Davis, Kenneth, Doney, Scott, Feely, Richard A., Hansell, Dennis A., Heath, Linda S., Kasischke, Eric, Law, Beverly E., Lee, Cindy, McGuire, A. David, Raymond, Peter, Tucker, Compton J., 2009. Carbon Cycle Observations: Gaps Threaten Climate Mitigation Policies. EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 90, 292.
  • Cook, Bruce D., Paul V. Bolstad, Erik Næsset, Ryan S. Anderson, Sebastian Garrigues, Jeffrey T. Morisette, Jaime Nickeson, Kenneth J. Davis, 2009. Using LiDAR and quickbird data to model plant production and quantify uncertainties associated with wetland detection and land cover generalizations. Remote Sensing of Environment, 113, 2366–2379.
  • Gibert, Fabien, Irène Xuéref, Lilian Joly, Martina Schmidt, Kenneth J. Davis, Michel Ramonet, Pierre H. Flamant, Bertrand Parvitte, Virginie Zéninari, 2008. A case study of CO2, CO and particles content evolution in the suburban atmospheric boundary layer using a 2-µm Doppler DIAL, a 1-µm backscatter lidar and an array of in-situ sensors. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 128, 381–401, DOI 10.1007/s10546-008-9296-8.
  • Davis, K.J., Integrating Field Measurements with Flux Tower and Remote Sensing Data.  In Field Measurements for Landscape-Scale Forest Carbon Monitoring, Hoover, Coeli M (Ed.) 2008, XVIII, 242 p. 20 illus., Hardcover. ISBN: 978-1-4020-8505-5.
  • Kang S.-L., K.J. Davis, 2008. The effects of mesoscale surface heterogeneity on the fair-weather convective atmospheric boundary layer, J. Atmos. Sci., 65, 3197-3213, doi: 10.1175/2008JAS2390.1.
  •  Ricciuto, D. M., K. J. Davis, and K. Keller, 2008.  A Bayesian calibration of a simple carbon cycle model: The role of observations in estimating and reducing uncertainty, Global Biogeochem. Cycles,  doi:10.1029/2006GB002908, in press.
  •  Desai, A.R., A. Noormets, P. V. Bolstad, J. Chen, B. D. Cook, K. J. Davis, E. S. Euskirchen, C. Gough, J. M. Martin, D. M. Ricciuto, H. P. Schmid, J. Tang, and W. Wang, 2008. Influence of vegetation and seasonal forcing on carbon dioxide fluxes across the Upper Midwest, USA: Implications for regional scaling. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 148, 288-308, doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2007.08.001.
  •  Ricciuto, D. M., M. P. Butler, K. J. Davis, B. D. Cook, P. S. Bakwin, A. E. Andrews, and R. M. Teclaw, 2008.  Causes of interannual variability in ecosystem-atmosphere CO2 exchange in a northern Wisconsin forest using a Bayesian synthesis inversion. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology,  148, 309-327, doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2007.08.007
  •  Desai, A. R., P. R. Moorcroft, P. V. Bolstad, and K. J. Davis, 2007. Regional carbon fluxes from an observationally constrained dynamic ecosystem model: Impacts of disturbance, CO2 fertilization, and heterogeneous land cover, J. Geophys. Res., 112, G01017, doi:10.1029/2006JG000264.
  •  Kang, S., K.J. Davis and M.A. LeMone, 2007. Observations of the ABL structures over a heterogeneous land surface during IHOP_2002. J. Hydrometeorology, 8, 221-244, DOI: 10.1175/JHM567.1
  •  Wang, W., K. J. Davis, C. Yi, E. G. Patton, M. P. Butler, D. M. Ricciuto and P. S. Bakwin, 2007. A note on top-down and bottom-up gradient functions over a forested site. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 124, 305–314, doi 10.1007/s10546-007-9162-0.
  •  Wang, W., K. J. Davis, B. D. Cook, C. Yi, M P. Butler, D. M. Ricciuto, and P. S. Bakwin 2007. Estimating daytime CO2 fluxes over a mixed forest from tall tower mixing ratio measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D10308, doi:10.1029/2006JD007770.
  •  Wang, W., K.J. Davis, D.M. Ricciuto and M.P. Butler, 2006.  An approximate footprint model for flux measurements in the convective boundary layer.  Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 23, 1384-1394.
  •  Wang, W., K. J. Davis, B. D. Cook, M. P. Butler, D. M. Ricciuto, 2006. Decomposing CO2 fluxes measured over a mixed ecosystem at a tall tower and extending to a region: A case study, Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences, 111(G2), G02005, doi:10.1029/2005JG000093.
  •  Desai, A.R., Davis, K.J., Senff, C., Ismail, S., Browell, E.V., Stauffer, D.R. and Reen, B.P., 2005. A case study on the effects of heterogeneous soil moisture on mesoscale boundary layer structure in the southern Great Plains, USA. Part I: Simple prognostic model.  Boundary Layer Meteorology, doi:10.1007/s10546-005-9024-6.
  •  Wang, W., K. J. Davis, B. D. Cook, P. S. Bakwin, C. Yi, M. P. Butler, and D. M. Ricciuto, 2005. Surface layer CO2 budget and advective contributions to measurements of net ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of CO2. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 135, 202-214.
  •  Desai, A.R., Bolstad, P., Cook, B.D., Davis, K.J. and Carey, E.V. 2005. Comparing net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide between an old-growth and mature forest in the upper Midwest, USA, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 128(1-2): 33-55 (doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2004.09.005)
  •  Cook, B.D., K.J. Davis, W. Wang, A. Desai, B.W. Berger, R. M. Teclaw, J. G. Martin, P.V. Bolstad, P.S. Bakwin, C. Yi and W. Heilman, 2004. Carbon exchange and venting anomalies in an upland deciduous forest in northern Wisconsin, USA. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 126, 271-295.
  •  Yi, C., K. J. Davis, P. S. Bakwin, A.S. Denning, N. Zhang, A. Desai, J.Ch.-H. Lin, and C. Gerbig, 2004, The observed covariance between ecosystem carbon exchange and atmospheric boundary layer dynamics in North Wisconsin, Journal of Geophysical Research, 109(D08302): doi10.1029/2003JD004164.
  •  Hurwitz, M.D., D.M. Ricciuto, K.J. Davis, W. Wang, C. Yi, M.P. Butler, P.S. Bakwin. Advection of carbon dioxide in the presence of storm systems over a northern Wisconsin forest, 2004. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 61, 607-618.
  •  Davis, K.J., P.S. Bakwin, B.W. Berger, C. Yi, C. Zhao, R.M. Teclaw and J.G. Isebrands, 2003. The annual cycle of CO2 and H2O exchange over a northern mixed forest as observed from a very tall tower. Global Change Biology, 9, 1278-1293.
  •  Werner, C., K. J. Davis, P. S. Bakwin, C. Yi, D. Hurst, and L. Lock, 2003. Interannual variability of methane exchange over a temperate-boreal lowland and wetland forest. Global Change Biology, 9, 1251-1261.
  •  Patton, E.G., P.P. Sullivan and K.J. Davis, 2003. The influence of a forest canopy on top-down and bottom-up diffusion in the planetary boundary layer.  Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 129, 1415-1434.
  •  Yi, C., K.J. Davis, P.S. Bakwin, and B.W. Berger, 2001.  Long-term observations of the evolution of the planetary boundary layer.  Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 58, 1288-1299.
  • Berger, B.W., K.J. Davis, P.S. Bakwin, C. Yi and C. Zhao, 2001. Long-term carbon dioxide fluxes from a very tall tower in a northern forest:  Flux measurement methodology. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 18, 529-542.
  •  Patton, E.G., K.J. Davis, M.C. Barth, C.-H. Moeng and P.P. Sullivan, 2001. Decaying scalars emitted by a forest canopy:  A numerical study. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 100, 91-129.
  •  Davis, K.J., N. Gamage, C. Hagelberg, D.H. Lenschow, C. Kiemle and P.P. Sullivan, 2000. An objective method for determining atmospheric structure from airborne lidar observations. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech., 17, 1455-1468.
  •  Yi, C., K.J. Davis, P.S. Bakwin, B.W. Berger, and L. C. Marr,  2000. The influence of advection on measurements of the net ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of CO2 observed from a very tall tower, J. Geophys. Res. 105, 9991-9999.
  •  Davis, K. J., D. H. Lenschow, S. P. Oncley, C. Kiemle, G. Ehret and A. Giez, 1997: The role of entrainment in surface-atmosphere interactions over the boreal forest. J. Geophys. Res., 102, 29219-29230.
  •  Davis, K. J., D. H. Lenschow and P. R. Zimmerman, 1994: Biogenic non-methane hydrocarbon emissions estimated from tethered balloon observations. J. Geophys. Res., 99, 25587-25598.
  •  Davis, K. J., Surface Fluxes of Trace Gases Derived from Convective-Layer Profiles, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Colorado, 1992. NCAR Cooperative Thesis 139.