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Meet our students: Chen Lu

Meet our students: Chen Lu

Learn about IEESC’s graduate students and our research

Meet our students profile of Chen Lu 

Chen Lu is a University of Regina PhD student in the Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities. 

  1. When did you start your PhD studies?

I started my PhD in September 2017. 

  1. How/when did you know that you wanted to attend graduate school?

My dream since childhood is to become a scientist. When I learned that a PhD degree is a prerequisite of my dream, I vaguely considered graduate studies as a viable and necessary step in life. Although growing up I gained a clearer understanding of degree and career, I find that I still enjoy thinking and researching. I cherish the opportunity of joining Dr. Huang’s group and will work hard to achieve my dream. 

  1. Could you tell us a little about your research?

The topic of my research is regional climate modeling. My research is focused on regional climate change as influenced by global warming and/or large-scale alteration in land surface conditions. For example, the construction of a large dam, such as the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei, China, is usually accompanied by the formation of a reservoir which can provide extra moisture to the atmosphere and store a larger amount of heat than other surfaces. Using a regional climate model named RegCM, I am trying to find out if changes in surface properties can affect the upper air and if the possible variations in local circulation can influence the surface climate of a distant location. 

When I hear or read statements such as “I can feel the wind becoming weak because the nearby wind farm has taken it away” or “It has become exceptionally wet in these years; I bet it must be because of the recently constructed dam,” I think that my research is important because it might possibly provide answers to such curiosities. My research can help provide a scientific foundation for the design of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

My previous research focused on regional climate simulations in China. The figure below shows the future projected temperature in China in the 2080s under RCP8.5 (representative concentration pathway 8.5, i.e., a high emission scenario). It is obtained by driving the RegCM with boundary conditions provided by GFDL-ESM2M. The results showed that the temperature in China is projected to increase by 4 °C at the end of the twenty-first century under the RCP8.5 scenario. Details regarding the simulation setup and results can be found in my paper.

More regional climate projections like the one above can be found at IEESC’s Climate Change Data Portal ( 

  1. What do you find most interesting about your research topic?

To bring the context of my research to the local level, if we were to build a fountain just outside our Institute in Regina, it would demonstrate all the properties a water body has e.g., providing water vapor and heat to the surrounding air). It is interesting to see that when this “fountain” becomes large enough, it may alter the climate of Regina. 

  1. Tell us about your experience with IEESC. What have you learned that is most valuable?

Regina has long, cold winters. The members in IEESC care for each other, and our enthusiasm for research is as warm as a fire. 

The most valuable thing I have learned here is that making valid progress on work and helping others are simple, yet meaningful, sources of happiness. 

  1. What advice would you give to a student considering a visit to IEESC?

It is easy to feel lost when on the path of pursuing a PhD degree. Do not panic! There is always someone to talk to in IEESC. Moreover, do not fear self-doubt; it is an opportunity to reflect on and learn more about ourselves.

  1. Where do you find your inspiration?

I can usually find inspiration from reading journal papers. 

  1. What are your next goals/future plans?

My next goal is to modify the relevant modules in regional climate model and try to better represent the land surface variations and thus more realistically simulate their effects on the regional climate. 

  1. For more information about Chen Lu’s research, see the following publication:

Lu, C., Huang, G., & Wang, X. (2019). Projected changes in temperature, precipitation, and their extremes over China through the RegCM. Climate Dynamics, 53(9-10), 5859-5880.

Thanks for your time, Chen, and best wishes with your research!

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