Research Areas



Useful Things

Nathan Moore
Assistant Professor
Room 202, Manly Miles Building
Department of Geography
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI, 48823

joint appointment with:

The College of Environmental and Resource Sciences
Zhejiang University ( 浙江大学 )
Hangzhou, China

Climate Change, the Water Cycle, Physical Geography, 
Land Surface Interactions, Regional Climate Modeling

Download my CV (.pdf)
Ph.D. 2004 Earth and Ocean Sciences, Duke University 
M.S. 1997 Physics, University of Oregon
B.A. 1993 Physics, University of Virginia
Current Research:

China. With colleagues at Zhejiang University (ZJU) I am working to combine remote sensing, climate modeling, hydrology, and crop modeling to develop
estimates of crop yield, water quality, and land cover/land use change (LCLUC). In addition, with Peilei Fan, Jiaguo Qi, and Joe Messina, I am researching impacts of land use change in urban environments on climate in China-- focusing on the fast-growing urban centers of Shanghai and Urumqi.

East Africa. I am modeling and projecting climate trends and variability in Eastern Africa as part of the Climate-Land Interactions Project (CLIP) at Michigan State University. Using the RAMS atmospheric model we are investigating the potential impacts of land use change in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Economic, cultural, and natural drivers are being assessed via landscape models like LTM and MABEL. Once we understand how RAMS responds under current conditions, we will use landscape models in conjuction with GCM results to assess likely regional climate responses to different boundary conditions and land surface conditions. I am employing a variety of GIS tools and remote sensing data to compare model results with observed temperature, rainfall, and other variables.

The Amazon. I am exploring the range of uncertainty in Amazonian land-climate interactions by explicitly simulating 50 different "worst case scenario" landscapes and 50 "best case scenario" landscapes. A large portion of this research includes joining the work of human geographers (via GIS methods) with a physical representation of a land surface in terms of biophysical parameters like fractional cover and albedo.

Experimental Design. I am also interested in experimental design and how choices in the structure of an experiment can influence the
range of possible outcomes. Both projects, being interdisciplinary, lend themselves to this sort of analysis,
and both groups are studying what constraints (and uncertainties) we have introduced to the systems in question
by make the choices we have made in our modeling/measuring efforts.


(in prep) Moore N, Dong-Yun Kim, Matt Williams. Changes in meteorological droughts and drought frequency in East Africa, 1950-2002, 3rd draft.
(in prep) Moore N, Qi J. Modeling Changes in Growing Season Rainfall caused by Land Cover/Land Use Change in eastern China, 2nd draft.

o In review:
Pijanowski B, Davis A, Robinson K, Moore N, Pekin B, Quantifying error in a land change model across
     multiple scales: Implications for coupling land-climate models.
     Int J G I Sci, In review.
Wang X, Wang K, Moore N, Spatial analysis of habitat selection of Chinese torreya and topography in
     Huiji Mountain, China. International Journal of Ecology, in review.
Lin S, Moore N, Messina J, Wu J. Evaluation of MODIS surrogates for meteorological humidity data in east Africa,
     submitted to International Journal of Remote Sensing.
Lin S, Jing C, Coles N, Chaplot V, Moore N, Wu J. Evaluating DEM source and resolution uncertainties
      in the Soil and Water Assessment Tool, submitted to
     Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, in review.
Wang X, Wang K, Moore N, Spatial Analysis of habitat selection of Chinese torreya and topography in
      Huiji Mountain, China. submitted to International Journal of Ecology.

o In press:
Messina J, Devisser M, Moore N, 2012. Climate Change and Risk Projection: Dynamic Spatial Models
      of African Trypanosomiasis in Kenya. Annals of the Association of
      American Geographers, accepted. Lin S, Moore N, Messina J, DeVisser M, Wu J, 2012. Evaluation of estimating daily maximum and minimum
     a ir temperature with MODIS data in east Africa. Int. J. Appl Earth Obs.
      and Geoinf., accepted, doi:10.1016/j.jag.2012.01.004.
Lin S, Jing C, Moore N, Wu J, 2012. Impacts of different resolution DEMs on terrain and hydrological
     parameters of distributed watershed model. Water Research Advances, accepted.

18. Shahtahmassebi A, Yu Z, Wang K, Xu H, Deng J, Li J, Luo R, Wu J, Moore N, 2011.
     Monitoring rapid urban expansion using a multi-temporal RGB-impervious surface.
     ZJU-Science A, in press.
17. Pijanowski B, Moore N, Mauree D, Niyogi D, 2011.
     Evaluating error propagation in coupled land-atmosphere models.
     Earth Interactions 15, 1–25. doi: 10.1175/2011EI380.1.
16. Shahtahmassebi A, Wang K, Shen Z, Deng J, Zhu W, Han N, Lin F, Moore N, 2011.
     Evaluation on the two filling functions for the recovery of forest information
     in mountainous shadows on Landsat ETM + Images.
     J Mt Sci 8(3), 414-426.
15. Moore N , G Alagarswamy, B Pijanowski, P Thornton, B Lofgren, J Olson, J Andresen, P Yanda, J Qi, 2011.
      East African Food Security as Influenced by Future Climate Change and Land Use Change at Local to Regional Scales ,
     Climatic Change, published online June 2011.
14. DeVisser M, J Messina, N Moore, D Lusch, J Maitima, 2010.
      A dynamic species distribution model of Glossina subgenus Morsitans: The identification of tsetse reservoirs and refugia.
     Ecosphere 1 (1):art6, doi:10.1890/ES10-00006.1.
13. Moore N, J Messina, 2010.
      A landscape and climate data logistic model of tsetse distributions in Kenya, PLoS One 5(7): e11809. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011809
12. Hession S, & Moore N, 2010.
      Spatial Regression Analysis of Monthly Rainfall in East Africa , IJOC 10.1002/joc.2174
11. Moore N , N Torbick, B Pijanowski, B Lofgren, J Wang, D-Y Kim, J Andresen, J Olson, 2010.
     Adapting MODIS-derived LAI and fractional cover into the RAMS model for East Africa,
     Int. J. Climatol., 30 (13), 1954–1969.
10. Walker R , N Moore, E Arima, S Perz, C Simmons, M Caldas, D Vergara, C Bohrer, 2009.
     Protecting the Amazon with Protected Areas.
     PNAS 106 :10582 - 10586.
9. Lozier, M.S., S. Leadbetter, R. Williams, V. Roussenov, M. Reed, N. Moore , 2008.
     The Spatial Pattern and Mechanisms of Heat Content Change in the North Atlantic,
     Science , doi:10.1126/science.1146436.
8. Olson J, G Alagarswamy, J Andresen, D Campbell, J Ge, M Huebner, B Lofgren, D Lusch, N Moore , B Pijanowski, J Qi, P Thornton, N Torbick, J Wang, 2008.
Integrating Diverse Methods to Understand Climate-Land Interactions in East Africa, Geoforum 39, 898.
7. Moore N , E Arima, R Walker, and R Ramos da Silva, 2007.
     Uncertainty and the changing hydroclimatology of the Amazon, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L14707, doi:10.1029/2007GL030157.
6. Torbick N, D Lusch, J Qi, N Moore , J Olson and J Ge, 2006.
     Developing land use/land cover parameterization for climate and land modelling in East Africa,
     International Journal of Remote Sensing 27(19), 4227-4244 .
5. Ge, J, J Qi, B Lofgren, N Moore , N Torbick, and J Olson, 2006.
     Impacts of land use/cover classification accuracy on regional climate simulations,
      J. Geophys. Res., 112, D05107, doi:10.1029/2006JD007404.
4. Haberl H, F Krausmann, K-H Erb, N Schulz, S Rojstaczer, S Sterling, N Moore, 2002.
     Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (Response), Science 296, 1968.
3. Moore N & S Rojstaczer, 2002. Irrigation's Influence on Precipitation: Texas High Plains, USA, Geophys. Res. Lett. 29, doi: 10.1029/2002GL014940.
2. Moore N & Rojstaczer, 2001, Irrigation-Induced Rainfall and the Great Plains, J. Appl. Meteor. 40 , 1297-1309.
1. Rojstaczer S, S Sterling and N Moore, 2001. Human Appropriation of Photosynthesis Products, Science 294 , 2549-2552.


Qi, J., C. Li, F. Zhang, N. Moore, J. Ge, and H. Yan (2009), Mechanisms of society, land use, and regional climate interations, in Frontier Research Topics on Human Activity & Ecological System Changes, edited by G. Yu, Higher Education Press.
Qi J, 李常斌,张峰,N Moore, J Ge, and 闫慧敏, 2009, 社会-土地利用 -区域气候的相互作用机理与表达, in 人类活动与生态系统变化的前沿科学问题, 高等教育出版社.

ABSTRACTS & PRESENTATIONS (last 5 years only)
Invited: Moore, N. Climate and Land Use Interactions in East Africa. Virginia Tech, 10 Feb 2011.
Invited: Moore, N. Climate Change and Food Security in East Africa. U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea. 15 June 2010.
Invited: Moore, N. Climate and Environmenal Challenges in China. Student Environmental Sciences Program, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China , 16 Mar 2010.
Invited: Moore, N. Modeling Climate, Land Use, and Hydrologic Impacts. Department of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China , 26 Feb 2009.
Invited: Moore, N. Modeling Impacts of Land Use Change on Climate in Eastern China. Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 27 Jan 2009.
Invited: Moore, N. Modeling Relative Impacts of Land Cover Change and Greenhouse Gas Changes for East Africa. Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town , South Africa, 8 May 2008.
Invited: Moore, N. Climate Projections for East Africa with Feedbacks to Land Use Management . Department of Natural Resources Management and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT , 20Mar 2008.
Invited: Moore, N. Modeling Coupled Human-Natural Systems. Department of Geography, University, East Lansing, MI , 20 Nov 2007.
Invited: Moore, N. Integrating Land Cover/Land Use Change in Regional Climate Models. Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT , 11 Jun 2007.
Moore, N, J Qi. Simulated climate effects of land degradation near Urumqi, China. Eos Trans. AGU, 90 (52), Fall Meet. Suppl., GC23A-0744, SF, CA, 2009.
Moore, N. Regional Climate Change, Simple Modeling, and Water Quality. International Symposium on Science Technology, and Policy for Water Pollution Control at Wastershed Scale , Department of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China , 12 Apr 2009.
Moore N , G Alagarswamy, B Pijanowski, P Thornton, J Olson, B Lofgren, J Andresen, D Campbell. Food production risks associated with land use change and climate change in East Africa. " Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions" , IARU, 10-12 March 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Moore N, Walker R, Arima E, Ramos da Silva R, Revisiting the Avissar Hypothesis: Climate modeling of extreme deforestation in Amazônia. Conferência Científica Internacional LBA, GEOMA & PPBio . Manaus, Brazil, 20 Nov 2008.
Moore, N., B. Pijanowski, B. Lofgren, G. Alagarswamy, J. Andresen, J. Olson, Modeling Future Land Use, Regional Climate, and Maize Yields in East Africa, EOS Trans AGU, 88 (52) Fall Meet. Supp., B43H-07, San Francisco, CA, 2007.
Moore, N., R. Walker, E. Arima, A. Pfaff, E. Reis, R. da Silva, J. Qi. Modelling Land-Climate Interactions in Amazônia under Uncertainty . 11 th LBA Science Team Meeting , 26-28 Sept 2007, Salvador, Brasil.
Moore, N., R. Walker, Eugenio Arima, Alex Pfaff, Marcellus Caldas, Stephen Perz, Eustaqio Reis, Jiaguo Qi ,Claudio Bohrer, Juan Robalino, An Econometric Approach to Amazon Landscapes and Assessing Their Hydroclimatological Impacts . 10 th LBA-ECO Science Team Meeting , 4-6 Oct 2006, Brasilia, Brasil.
Moore, N., B. Lofgren, J. Andresen, J. Olson, D. Ray, B. Pijanowski, N. Torbick. Simulations of Climate Variability Resulting from Projected Land Cover Change in East Africa. AAG Ann. Meeting, Chicago IL, 7-11 March 2006.
Moore, N., B. Lofgren, N. Torbick, J. Wang, J. Andresen. Modeling changes in energy budget variability and distribution due to land cover in East Africa ( 5-P-363 ) . 1 st iLEAPS Science Conf ., Boulder CO, USA, 21-26 Jan 2006.
Moore, N., B. Lofgren, J. Andresen, B. Pijanowski, J. Olson. Projected Changes in Precipitation Variability and Distribution Due to Land Cover Change in East Africa, Eos Trans. AGU, 86 (52), Fall Meet. Suppl., H43I-07, SF, CA, 2005.
Moore, N., B. Lofgren, J. Andresen, CLIP: Modeling Land Use Change and Precipitation in Eastern Africa. 19th Conference on Hydrology , 85th Annual Meeting of the A.M.S., San Diego, CA, January 9-13, 2005.
Moore, N., B. Lofgren, J. Andresen, D. Campbell, D. Conway, C. Hanson, Modeling Land Use Change and Precipitation in Eastern Africa, NASA Earth System Scholars Symposium , College Park, MD, Sept 26-29, 2004.

Teaching Experience:

Spring 2010, 2011: Integrative Study of Environmental Problems in the US (at ZJU)
Spring 2010,2011: Science Writing for Environmental Science Journals (at ZJU)
Sprint 2012: GEO 873, Human-Environment Interactions
Fall 2008,2010,2011, Spring 2012: ISS 310, People and the Environment
     Interdisciplinary Social Studies Teaching Improvement Program (TIP) member
2005-2008 Instructor, GEO 203 Introduction to Meteorology, MSU
2007 Instructor, GEO 490 Independent Study: Dynamic Meteorology
2005 Guest Lecturer, Special Topics, MSU
2001 Teaching Assistant, Environmental Geology, Duke University
2000 Teaching Assistant, The Geology of Yellowstone National Park, Duke University 
1996-97 Teaching Assistant, Introductory Physics, University of Oregon
1994-95 Secondary School Teacher, Forms 5-6 Maths and Physics, Peace Corps, Fiji Islands 

Dissertation Research (Advisor: Stuart Rojstaczer):      

My Ph.D. focused on studying large hydrologic disturbances and how they affect climate, weather, and agriculture. Using AVHRR satellite images and Nexrad precipitation estimates from the Great Plains region, we determined variability in evapotranspiration and irrigation for the region. We have looked at monthly precipitation patterns with Principal Components Analysis which showed that monthly data were not adequate to detect perturbations on the order of an irrigation effect. Subsequent research using hourly precipitation images from NOAA ( suggests that irrigation adds 1-4cm or additional rain to the Texas Panhandle area, which corresponds to a ~15% increase that could possible be attributed to irrigation.

     The final phase of the research centered on modeling the physical processes that could lead to the formation of mesoscale circulations which produce rain. Using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) we explored one month (July 1996) at 4 km resolution. Some physical quantities which are important in regional atmospheric forcing (e.g. latent heat flux, convective available potential energy) are not measured in the area, so we relied primarily on Nexrad estimates of precipitation, GOES satellite imagery, and radiosondes for validation. We found that modeling July 1996 with irrigation in the Texas Panhandle produced about 35% more precipitation than the unirrigated simulations. This difference was statisically significant, but the irrigation did not occur in precisely the same places and times as observed precipitation.

Skill scores, correlation indices, and many other statistical measures show that on the large scale (days/10s of kilometers), the model produced precipitation very similar to observation in terms of timing, amount and location. However, on finer scales (hourly/kilometers) the model's fidelity to observation fades. This is attributable in part to problems of convective parameterization and downscaling. Irrigation is clearly responsible to some extent for the elevated precipitation in and around the Texas panhandle, but the exact amount remains uncertain.


NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowship, 2001-2004
Title:“ To What extent can Increased Evapotranspiration Due to Groundwater Based Irrigation
in the Great Plains of the United States Alter Regional Climate
Center for Hydrologic Science Fellowship, Duke University, 1998-1999
Oregon Graduate Teaching Fellowship
Robert C. Byrd Scholarship
Echols Scholar Program, University of Virginia

Recent Funding:
Date / Role Title Sponsor Amount Apr 10, Co-PI Toward Sustainability of the High Plains Aquifer Region: Coupled Landscape, Atmosphere, and Socioeconomic Systems (CLASS) NSF $1,224,000
Jan 10, Co-I Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Systems in East Africa Rockefeller Foundation $430,000
Jan 09, Co-I Linking Local Knowledge and Local Institutions for the Study of Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change: Participatory GIS in Northern Tanzania NSF:Geog. & Reg. Sci. $500,000
Oct 08, Co-I Urban Expansion and Climate Impacts in China with Feedbacks NASA: LCLUC $700,000
Mar 07, Co-I Dynamic Ecological Simulation Model of Tsetse Transmitted Trypanosomiasis in Kenya NIH $1.1M
Nov 06, Co-I Dynamic Interactions among People, Livestock, and Savanna Ecosystems under Climate Change NSF: CNH $1.4M
Apr 05, Co-I Spatially Specific Land Cover Econometrics & Integration With Climate Prediction: Scenarios of Future Landscapes and Land-Climate Interactions NASA: LBA $278,702
Updated on ... 30 July 2010