McMaster University

McMaster University

Contact Information

Altaf Arain, Professor,
Director, McMaster Centre for Climate Change,
Associate Director, School of Geography and Earth Sciences

Office: General Science Building, Rm 214
Tel: (905) 525-9140 ext. 27941
Fax: (905) 546-0463

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Ph.D  Student Opportunities in Ecosystem Modelling

McMaster Hydrometeorology & Climatology Group

McMaster Centre for Climate Change

McMaster University Weather Station

Dr. Altaf Arain

Altaf Arain

Research Interests

  • Hydrometeorology;
  • Biometeorology;
  • Climatology;
  • Forest carbon and water cycles;
  • Evapotranspiration; Ecosystem and Land surface-atmosphere interaction models;
  • Global climate models;
  • Air pollution;
  • Environment and health.


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Dr. Altaf Arain current research involves measurement of carbon dioxide, water vapour and energy fluxes and other meteorological variables over a chronosequence of planted conifer forest in southern Ontario under a McMaster Univesity Initiative and boreal mixed wood forests in northern Ontario under Fluxnet-Canada program. Objectives are to find out how much carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere as these forests grow and how seasonal and annual climate variability and other environmental factors regulate this carbon uptake.




Current Courses

Earth Sc/Envir Sc 2C03 Surface Climate Processes & Environmental Interaction, Term One, 2015-16
Earth Sc/Envir Sc 4C03 Advanced Physical Climatology, Term Two, 2015-16
Earth Sci 6C03
Advanced Physical Climatology, 2015-16
Earth Sci 755 Bio- and Hydro-Meteorology, 2015-16




Selected Publications (Peer reviewed)

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Huang S., Bartlett P., Arain M.A., 2016. Assessing nitrogen controls on carbon, water and energy exchanges in major plant functional types across North America using a carbon and nitrogen coupled ecosystem model. Ecological Modelling 323 (2016) 12-27.

Chen B., Arain M.A, Chen J.M., Croft H., Grant R.F., Kurz W.A., Bernier P., Guindon L., Price D., Wang Z., 2016. Evaluating the impacts of climate variability and cutting and insect defoliation on the historical carbon dynamics of a boreal black spruce forest landscape in eastern Canada. Ecological Modelling, 321(10): 98-109. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.11.011.

Verma M., M.A. Friedl, B.E. Law, D. Bonal, G. Kiely, T.A. Black, G. Wohlfahrt, E.J. Moors, L. Montagnani, B. Marcolla, P. Toscano, A. Varlagin, O. Roupsard, A. Cescatti, M.A. Arain, P. D'Odoricos. 2015. Improving the performance of remote sensing models for capturing intra- and inter-annual variations in daily GPP: An analysis using global FLUXNET tower data Improving the performance of remote sensing models for capturing intra- and inter-annual variations in daily GPP: An analysis using global FLUXNET tower data. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 214-215: 416-429.

Skubel, R., Arain, M. A., Peichl, M., Brodeur, J. J., Khomik, M., Thorne, R., Trant, J., and Kula, M., 2015. Age effects on the water-use efficiency and water-use dynamics of temperate pine plantation forests. Hydrological Processes. 29(18): 4100-4113. doi: 10.1002/hyp.10549.

Thorne R., and Arain M.A., 2015. Influence of Low Frequency Variability on Climate and Carbon Fluxes in a Temperate Pine Forest in Eastern Canada. Forests, 6(8): 2762-2784; doi:10.3390/f6082762.

Mao J., Fu W., Shi X., Ricciuto D.M., Fisher J.B., Dickinson R.E., Wei Y., Shem W., Piao S., Wang K., Schwalm C.R., Tian H., Mu M, Arain A., Ciais P., Cook R., Dai Y., Hayes D., Hoffman F.M., Huang M., Huang S., Huntzinger D.N., Ito A., Jain A., King A.W., Lei H., Lu C., Michalak A.M., Parazoo N., Peng C., Peng S., Poulter B., Schaefer K., Jafarov E., Thornton P.E., Wang W., Zeng N., Zeng Z., Zhao F., Zhu Q., Zhu Z., 2015. Disentangling climatic and anthropogenic controls on global terrestrial evapotranspiration trends. Environmental Research Letters, 10: 094008.

Xia, J., S. Niu, P. Ciais, I. A. Janssens, J. Chen, C. Ammann, A. Arain, P. D. Blanken, A. Cescatti, D. Bonal, N. Buchmann, P. S. Curtis, S. Chen, J. Dong, L. B. Flanagan, C. Frankenberg, T. Georgiadis, C. M. Gough, D. Hui, G. Kiely, J. Li, M. Lund, V. Magliulo, B. Marcolla, L. Merbold, L. Montagnani, E. J. Moors, J. E. Olesen, S. Piao, A. Raschi, O. Roupsard, A. E. Suyker, M. Urbaniak, F. P. Vaccari, A. Varlagin, T. Vesala, M. Wilkinson, E. Weng, G. Wohlfahrt, L. Yan, and Y. Luo. 2015. Joint control of terrestrial gross primary productivity by plant phenology and physiology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112:2788-2793.

Huntzinger, D.N., C.R. Schwalm, Y. Wei, R.B. Cook, A.M. Michalak, K. Schaefer, A.R. Jacobson, M.A. Arain, P. Ciais, J.B. Fisher, D.J. Hayes, M. Huang, S. Huang, A. Ito, A.K. Jain, H. Lei, C. Lu, F. Maignan, J. Mao, N. Parazoo, C. Peng, S. Peng, B. Poulter, D.M. Ricciuto, H. Tian, Xiaoying Shi, W. Wang, N. Zeng, F. Zhao, and Q. Zhu (2015). NACP MsTMIP: Global 0.5-deg Terrestrial Biosphere Model Outputs (version 1) in Standard Format. Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. DOI: 10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1225.

Yuan, W.P., S.L. Liu, W.C. Cai, W.D. Dong, J. Chen, A. Arain, P.B. Blanken, A.C. Cescatti, W.G. Georg, T.G. Georgiadis, L.G. Genesio, D.G. Gianelle, A.G. Grelle, G.K. Kiely, A.K. Knohl, D.L. Liu, M.M. Marek, L.M. Merbold, L.M. Montagnani, O.P. Panferov, M.P. Peltoniemi, S.R. Rambal, A.R. Raschi, A.V. Varlagin, and J.X. Xia. 2014. Vegetation-specific model parameters are not required for estimating gross primary production? Ecological Modeling, 292(24): 1–10. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.08.017

Yuan W.P., Cai W., Xia, J., Chen J., Liu S., Dong W., Merbold L., Law B., Arain A., Beringer J., Bernhofer J., Black A., Blanken P.D., Cescatti A., Chen Y., Francois L., Gianelle D., Janssen I.A., Jung M., Kato T, Kiely G., Liu D., Marcolla B., Montagnani L., Raschi A., Roupsard O., Varlagin A., Wohlfahrt G., 2014. Global comparison of light use efficiency models for simulatingterrestrial vegetation gross primary production based on the LaThuiledatabase.
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 192–193 (2014) 108–120.

He L., Chen J.M, Liu J., Mo G., Bélair S., Zheng T., Wang R., Chen B., Croft H., Arain M.A., and Barr A.G., 2014. Optimization of water uptake and photosynthetic parameters in an ecosystem model using tower flux data. Ecological Modelling 294: 94–104.

Chang K-H., Warland J.S., Bartlett P.A., Arain M.A., and Yuan F, 2014. A simple crop phenology algorithm improves the carbon cycle simulation in land surface model: CN- CLASS. Agronomy Journal, 106: 297–308. doi:10.2134/agronj2013.0164.

Xiao, J., S. V. Ollinger, S. Frolking, G. C. Hurtt, D. Y. Hollinger, K. J. Davis, Y. Pan, X. Zhang, F. Deng, J. Chen, D. D. Baldocchi, B. E. Law, M. A. Arain, A. R. Desai, A. D. Richardson, G. Sun, B. Amiro, H. Margolis, L. Gu, R. L. Scott, P. D. Blanken, and A. E. Suyker. 2014. Data-driven diagnostics of terrestrial carbon dynamics over North America. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 197:142-157.

Kasurinen, V.; Alfredsen, K.; Kolari, P.; Mammarella, I.; Alekseychik, P.; Rinne, J.; Vesala, T.; Bernier, P.; Boike, J.; Langer, M.; Marchesini, L.B.; van Huissteden, K.; Dolman, H.; Sachs, T.; Ohta, T.; Varlagin, A.; Rocha, A.; Arain, A.; Oechel, W.; Lund, M.; Grelle, A.; Lindroth, A.; Black, A.; Aurela, M.; Laurila, T.; Lohila, A.; Berninger, F., 2014. Latent heat exchange in the boreal and arctic biomes. Global Change Biology, 20(11), 3439-3456.

Peichl M., Arain A. M., Moore T. R., Brodeur J. J., Khomik M., Ullah S., Restrepo-Coupé N., McLaren J., and Pejam M. R., 2014. Carbon and greenhouse gas balances in an age sequence of temperate pine plantations. Biogeosciences, 11: 1–12, 2014. doi:10.5194/bg- 11-1-2014

Camino-Serrano M., Gielen B., Luyssaert S., Ciais P., Vicca S.,Guenet B., De Vos B., Cools N., Ahrens B., Arain M.A., Borken W., Clarke N., Clarkson B., Cummins T., Don A., Pannatier E.G., Laudon H., Moore T., Nieminen T.M, Nilsson M.B., Peichl M., Schwendenmann L., Siemens J., and Janssens I., 2014. Linking variability in soil solution dissolved organic carbon to climate, soil type, and vegetation type. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 25(5): 497–509.

Wu H, Peng C., Moore T.R., Hua D., Li C., Zhu Q., Peichl M., Arain M.A., and Guo1 Z., 2014. Modeling dissolved organic carbon in temperate forest soils: TRIPLEX-DOC model development and validation. Geoscientific Model Development, 7:867-881.

Mallick K., Jarvis A.J., Boegh E., Fisher J.B., Drewrya D.T., Tu K.P., Hook S.J., Hulley G., Ardö J., Beringer J., Arain A., Niyogi D., 2014. A Surface Temperature Initiated Closure (STIC) for surface energy balance fluxes. Remote Sensing of Environment 141: 243–261.

Fisher, J. B., Sikka, M., Oechel, W. C., Huntzinger, D. N., Melton, J. R., Koven, C. D., Ahlström, A., Arain, A.M., Baker, I., Chen, J. M., Ciais, P., Davidson, C., Dietze, M., El-Masri, B., Hayes, D., Huntingford, C., Jain, A., Levy, P. E., Lomas, M. R., Poulter, B., Price, D., Sahoo, A. K., Schaefer, K., Tian, H., Tomelleri, E., Verbeeck, H., Viovy, N., Wania, R., Zeng, N., and Miller, C. E., 2014: Carbon cycle uncertainty in the Alaskan Arctic, Biogeosciences, 11, 2887-2932, doi:10.5194/bgd-11-2887-2014.

Christoffersen BO, Restrepo-Coupe N, Arain MA, Baker IT, Cestaro BP, Ciais P, Fisher JB, Galbraith D, Guan X, Gulden L, van den Hurk B, Ichii K, Imbuzeiro H, Jain A, Levine N, Miguez-Macho G, Poulter B, Roberti DR, Sakaguchi K, Sahoo A, Schaefer K, Shi M, Verbeeck H, Yang Z-L, Araújo AC, Kruijt B, Manzi AO, da Rocha HR, von Randow C, Muza MN, Borak J, Costa MH, Gonçalves de Gonçalves LG, Zeng X, Saleska SR. 2014. Mechanisms of water supply and vegetation demand govern the seasonality and magnitude of evapotranspiration in Amazonia and Cerrado. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 191(0): 33-50.

Vicca, S; Bahn, M; Estiarte, M; Alberti, G; Ambus, P; Arain, MA; Beier, C; Bentley, L; Borken, W; Buchmann, N; Collins, S; de Dato, G; Dukes, J; Escolar, C; Fay, P; Guidolotti, G; Hanson, P; Kahmen, A; Kroel-Dulay, G; Ladreiter-Knauss, T; Larsen, K; Lellei-Kovacs, E; Lebrija-Trejos, E; Maestre, FT; Marhan, S; Marshall, M; Meir, P; Miao, Y; Muhr, J; Niklaus, P; Ogaya, R; Penuelas, J; Poll, C; Rustad, L; Savage, K; Schindlbacher, A; Schmidt, IK; Smith, A;
Sotta, E; Suseela, V; Tietema, A; van Gestel, N; van Loon, EE; van Straaten, O; Vargas, R; Wan, S; Weber, U; Janssens, I: 2014. Can current moisture responses of soil respiration be extrapolated into the future? A synthesis of precipitation manipulation experiments, Biogeosciences, 11, 2991-3013, doi:10.5194/bg-11-2991-2014




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Updated January 28, 2016

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