Kaighin McColl is a hydrologist who studies the terrestrial water cycle and its coupling with the atmosphere.
Kaighin earned a B.E. in environmental engineering and a B.Sc in applied mathematics from the University of Melbourne in 2009. After graduating, he worked as a water resources engineer in the private sector, as well as a research assistant at the University of Melbourne. He moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, graduating with a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering in 2016. His doctoral research primarily focused on the physics of turbulent exchanges of heat and momentum between the land and atmosphere. He also contributed to NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission, which measures soil moisture and vegetation properties from space.
As an Environmental Fellow, Kaighin will work with Zhiming Kuang from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. He plans to work on interactions between clouds and fluxes of heat and moisture from the land-surface. He will also explore possible causes of a warm bias in weather and climate models over land, which may be related to missing land-atmosphere coupling in models. This work also has applications to water resources management, agriculture, and ecosystem health.