Kaighin A McColl

Kaighin A McColl

  • Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and of Environmental Science and Engineering


Kaighin McColl is a hydrologist whose research is focused on the biophysical coupling of the water, energy and carbon cycles at the land-atmosphere interface. His group broadly aims to understand and predict the effects of water-limitation on evapotranspiration over land, and consequent changes to the surface energy balance, atmospheric boundary layer, and convective precipitation. This work has implications for agriculture, water resource management, weather prediction and climate modeling.

To do this, Kaighin uses models and observations. The models used span a wide range of complexity, from idealized models that can be studied with a pencil and paper, through to computationally expensive models that require a computer cluster. The group also uses satellite observations of the earth system to test model predictions, particularly observations of soil moisture and near-surface atmospheric temperature and humidity.

Kaighin completed a Ph.D. at MIT in 2017, followed by postdoctoral work as a Ziff Environmental Fellow at Harvard University's Center for the Environment. He joined the faculty of SEAS and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard in July 2018.

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Positions & Employment

Harvard University

Assistant Professor (Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)

Jul. 2018 - Present

Harvard University Center for the Environment

Ziff Environmental Fellow

Oct. 2016 – Jul. 2018

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Graduate Research Assistant

2012 – Sep. 2016

The University of Melbourne

Research Assistant


Sinclair Knight Merz

Water Resources Engineer