Raj Saha mentors students, will continue work with MCRN
As an MCRN postdoc for the last three years I had the opportunity to explore some of the fundamental questions in climate science - such as what processes drive long term periodic fluctuations in climate and how these cycles may be altered through environmental forcing. My studies have shown sea ice to be an important ingredient as a climatic regulator on a spectrum of timescales from the 1,500 year Dansgaard-Oeschger events to the 65 year Atlantic multi-decadal oscillations. I am also studying how longer durations of ice-free seas in the Arctic may affect the stability of marine ecosystems through the phytoplankton-zooplankton-algae food chain.
I taught a course on Dynamical Systems and Chaos in the fall of 2013 and another on Mathematical Modeling in the spring of 2014. Coming from a background in physics, I found it challenging and exciting to study and teach these topics from a mathematician's perspective. Teaching these courses gave me a powerful insight into how dynamical systems can be used as a tool to investigate the behavior of a multitude of systems. In the math modeling course I helped my students build dynamical models of coupled oscillators, traffic flows, homeostasis of a planet's climate due to the presence of organisms, bipolar disorder, evolutionary algorithms to evolve eyesight in simple creatures through mutations and natural selection, and applying chaos to encrypt data. Here is a link to the student project's site: math.umn.edu/~rsaha/math4428/projects.html.
In the near future I am continuing my studies with sea ice and climate cycles, and beginning an MCRN project on the dynamics of Indian monsoons.