Lucas Vargas Zeppetello
ucas Vargas Zeppetello works to understand the sources of climate variability and the impacts of climate change across Earth’s land surface.
Lucas received his BS in Applied Physics from Columbia University in 2016. Following a brief stint at Los Alamos National Laboratory studying computational physics, he transitioned from research in Columbia’s plasma physics laboratory to studying Earth’s climate at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. This turn led him to the University of Washington, where he obtained his PhD in atmospheric science in 2021. His thesis research focused on developing a theory for summertime temperature variability across the land surface that has contributed to understanding the origin of heat waves, the relationship between soil moisture and temperature, and how the summertime climate will be impacted by global warming. He also worked with a group of public health experts to quantify the impacts of tropical deforestation on occupational safety.
As an Environmental Fellow, Lucas works with Professor Peter Huybers in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Through collaboration with Professors Kaighin McColl and Missy Holbrook, he is working to understand novel soil moisture observations and how they relate to ecosystem dynamics and land surface climate variability.
Faculty Host: Peter Huybers, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
The Salata Institute
The Salata Institute supports interdisciplinary research that leads to real-world action, including high-risk/high-reward projects by researchers already working in the climate area and new endeavors that make it easier for Harvard scholars, who have not worked on climate problems, to do so.