iLEAPS Scientific Steering Committee (SSC)

The iLEAPS Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) members are scientists selected from the international environmental research community. New iLEAPS SSC members are appointed by the Scientific Committee of IGBP (SC-IGBP) on the basis of their scientific expertise and serve for a period of three years with the possibility of one renewal period. The SSC guides the overall direction and development of the project by:

  • Providing scientific guidance to and oversee the development, planning and implementation of iLEAPS.
  • Encouraging the promotion and wide awareness of iLEAPS amongst science communities including publication of results.
  • Demonstrating progress and achievements by defining and monitoring milestones and results.
  • Encouraging national governments, regional and international funding agencies to support the implementation of iLEAPS and the achievement of it's goals by providing adequate support to the necessary national, regional and international research.
  • Encouraging collaboration between iLEAPS and other International Programmes and Agencies concerned with the scientific study and assessment of global change.

Current iLEAPS members

Dr Eleanor Blyth (Co-Chair)


Dr. Blyth is a Senior Scientist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK where she is the Head of Land Surface Processes group. Starting January 2011, she will be a member of the GEWEX Science Steering Group and is currently a member of GEWEX-GLASS representing Benchmarking and co-chair of IAHS Hydrometeorology Working Group. In the UK she is the science coordinator of JULES community model and represents hydrometeorology in the UK IAHS committee. She is the Work-Block leader on Feedbacks in the Global Water Cycle for WATCH (EU IP). Her scientific expertise is in land surface modelling, land-atmosphere interactions and arctic land surface processes.


Silvano Fares

Dr Silvano Fares

Silvano Fares is a research director at the National Research Council of Italy – Institute of BioEconomy, where he is the Head of the laboratory of biometeorology. He was awarded his PhD in Forest Ecology at the University of Tuscia, Italy, in 2008, and has worked as a Postdoc at the University of California - Environmental  Science and Policy Department, USA in 2008-2010. His expertise includes exchange processes involving ozone, biogenic volatile organics, methane and carbon between plant ecosystems and the atmosphere. He has experience using leaf level instrumentation and eddy-covariance      techniques to understand fluxes of  greenhouse gases in forest ecosystems. He is the designated Italian coordinator of terrestrial ecosystems in the frame of the EU program ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System).  In iLEAPS SSC, Dr Fares will bring in ecological expertise and his research interests including greenhouse gases and VOCs exchange in Mediterranean forest ecosystems, application of multi-layer models to explain plant atmosphere interactions under abiotic.

Dr Sachin D Ghude

Dr Sachin D Ghude is a Scientist at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and Autonomous institute of Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. He is also adjunct Professor at Department of Environmental Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India. He is also a visiting scientist at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) USA and member of international Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution (iCACGP) and Monitoring, Analysis, and Prediction of Air Quality (MAP-AQ). He was awarded his PhD in Physics at University of Delhi, India, in 2005. His scientific expertise is in atmospheric chemistry and air quality modeling and data assimilation. He is leading Winter fog Experiment (WiFEX) in India and a research group on atmospheric chemistry and modeling.  recent research addresses understanding of atmospheric chemistry of reactive species and its linkage to air quality, vegetation, human health and climate specific to India. His basic research translated into the important socioeconomic application as well as for scientific research related to fog and air quality issues that are important for public service. In iLEAPS, Dr Ghude bring in the scientific community in South Asian countries will try to bring more collaboration with atmospheric chemistry community.  

Dr Sirkku Juhola

Dr Juhola is an assistant professor in urban environmental policy at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki (FIN). She is also a visiting scholar at the Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics at Aalto University (FIN) and an adjunct professor of social and public policy at the University of Jyväskylä (FIN). Dr Juhola holds a BA from the University of Sussex (UK) and a MSc and a PhD from the University of East Anglia (UK). Since obtaining her PhD, Sirkku has worked at the United Nations University - Institute of Advanced Studies (JPN), University of Jyväskylä (FIN) and Umeå University (SWE).
Dr Juhola is the Deputy Chief Scientists of the Nordic Centre for Excellence on Nordic Strategic Adaptation (NORD-STAR) and a member of Finland’s Climate Panel that was set up in 2011 to advice the Finnish Government on climate policy. From 2013, she is also management committee member for Finland of two European Science Foundation Cost Actions; TUD Cost Action TU 1204 "People Friendly Cities in a Data Rich World" and the Targeted network  "Gender, Science, Technology and Environment- genderSTE".

Dr Sebastian Leuzinger

Dr. Sebastian Leuzinger has worked on a large range of ecological topics both in marine and terrestrial environments using a variety of experimental and computational methods. His origin is in marine ecology, but he has mainly worked in terrestrial environments in the past ten years. In iLEAPS, Dr Leuzinger will bring in the scientific community in New Zealand and continue the ecological expertise in the iLEAPS SSC after Francesco Loreto rotates off

Miguel Mahecha

Dr Miguel Mahecha

Dr. Miguel Mahecha is a scientist at the Max Planck Institute fo  Biogeochemistry, Germany, and Leader of the research group "Empirical Inference of the Earth  System". Currently, his research focuses on the role of extreme climate events on ecosystem-atmosphere interactions, the generic derivation of indicators of change, and he is also interested in the question how biogeographical patterns influence land-atmosphere interactions. His expertise is on data analytic methods. He is coordinating the EU H2020 project “BACI: Detecting changes in essential  ecosystem and biodiversity properties – towards a Biosphere Atmosphere Change Index: BACI” and the ESA initiative towards an “Earth System Data Cube”. He is a member of the “German Integrative Center for    Biodiversity Research, iDiv” and strongly involved in the development of “PEACE: Platform for Ecological Analyses on  Colombia Ecosystems”.

Dr Meng

Dr. Meng is a scientist in Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science. She is interested in how land surface conditions respond to climate change, and affect weather and climate substantially, based on observations, satellite data and modelling, particularly over the arid and semi-arid regions, including the high-altitude and cold Tibetan Plateau regions. Now she leads a field observational station called “Zoige Plateau Wetlands Ecosystem Research Station” in Northeast Tibetan Plateau in China. In iLEAPS, Dr Meng will try to bring more collaboration on land-atmosphere interactions and sustainable development in cold Tibetan Plateau region and arid regions between China and other regions globally

Dr Sato

Dr. Sato is a research scientist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Sciences and Technology (JAMSTEC). His main interest exists for the development of mechanistic models of vegetation structure and functioning. Indeed, he has been developing the SEIB-DGVM, which simulates plant and carbon dynamics under specified climatic conditions. He has been serving as a topical ediror of the Geoscientific Model Development since  2013. He has been a member of iLEAPS comittee within the Science Concil of Japan since 2012. In iLEAPS, Dr. Sato is responsible for activities in Japan as the chair of iLEAPS-Japan.

Dr Vinayak Sinha (Co-Chair)


Dr. Vinayak Sinha is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali, Punjab, India where he also leads a research group on Atmospheric Chemistry and Emissions. He has set up a state of the art atmospheric chemistry measurement facility in north western India (Mohali) to investigate biosphere-atmosphere-climate interactions. 
Dr. Sinha is known internationally for his contributions as an analytical and atmospheric chemist for ambient field studies on hydroxyl radical reactivity (OH reactivity) and volatile organic compounds within varied ecosystems (forest, urban, suburban) and research on agricultural crop fire emissions. His current research is focused on ambient chemical composition and climate interactions in South Asia, for improved understanding of emissions and atmospheric chemistry over the Indian subcontinent. He serves as Editor (subject area: atmospheric chemistry and physics) for the journal Earth System Science Data and is co-Lead of Working Group 1 of ACAM (Atmospheric Composition in the Asian Monsoon), an emerging SPARC/IGAC activity. In iLEAPS, Dr Sinha helps create links within the land-atmosphere-society community in South Asia and collaborations with the atmospheric chemistry community.

Dr David Odee

Dr. Odee is a Chief Research Scientist at the Kenya Forestry  Research Institute (KEFRI), Nairobi, Kenya, where he leads the Forest Biotechnology and Ecosystems Group. He is also Visiting  Research Fellow with the Evolution and Environmental Change Group at the NERC  Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). He began his research career studying nitrogen-fixing systems in dryland acacia woodlands of Africa. He has since broadened his work to tropical forestry and agroforestry systems ranging from genes to ecosystems scale,  focussing on the functions and processes underpinning the ecosystem goods and  services for sustainable development. He is currently an Associate Editor for Ecosystems Services Journal. Dr. Odee contributes to the iLEAPS Early Career Scientist Workshop programme. He is leading a national initiative to establish Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) platforms in range of ecosystems, which should also enhance regional coverage for long-term  observation points for land-atmosphere interaction studies.

He will mobilise various stakeholders in East Africa to effectively engage in iLEAPS science goals and programmes through awareness creation, advocacy, strengthening links with the global land-atmosphere community, and networking for knowledge exchange and technical capacity building.



Ben Poulter

Dr Ben Poulter

Dr. Poulter is a Research Scientist in the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory in the Earth Science Division at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA, and an Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland. He received his PhD in 2005 from Duke University in North Carolina, USA, studying ecosystem dynamics of wetland systems. As a Marie Curie Fellow, he worked at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK, 2006-2009) and the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL (2009-2011), and then worked as a Post-Doctoral Scientist at Le Laboratoire des sciences du climat et 'environnement (LSCE, 2011-2013). His research team applies remote sensing and dynamic global vegetation modeling to understand i) the role of secondary forests in the carbon cycle, ii) wetlands as the driver for renewed growth in atmospheric methane concentrations, and  iii) climate mitigation and trade-offs from Bioenergy with Carbon  Capture and Storage (BECCS). He was a Contributing Author to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the US Carbon Cycle Science Program 2nd State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR-2), and to the Global Carbon Project carbon and methane budgets, and currently serves on the Editorial Boards for PLOS ONE and Global Ecology and Biogeography.

Dr Allison Steiner

Allison Steiner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan, USA. Dr. Steiner's research explores the complex interactions of the biosphere and atmosphere with the goal of understanding the natural versus human influence on climate and atmospheric chemistry. She is currently an editor for Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, and serving on the National Research Council's committee on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research..

Prof. Dr Xuemei Wang

Dr. Wang specializes in atmospheric boundary layer physics and atmospheric environmental modeling studies. Her research focuses on physical and chemical impacts of urbanization on regional air pollution and land-atmospheric exchange for BVOCs emissions and reactive nitrogen deposition. Advanced air quality model (e.g., WRF-Chem) has been developed and used by her group to investigate the photochemical pollution characteristics, relationships between ozone and its precursors. Two monitoring sites have been set up in Guangzhou and Dinghu Mountain for dry deposition and wet deposition samples collection since 2007. She serves as an associate editor of Asia Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science and the reviewer of AR5 for IPCC.

Past iLEAPS members >>