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ORNL Doctoral Student Research Profile: Fulden Batibeniz

ASTRO participant contributes to international climate science efforts


Fulden Batibeniz

As a participant in the Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, atmospheric sciences student Fulden Batibeniz supports an international effort to develop high-resolution climate change data.

Fulden Batibeniz has always been concerned with climate change and its implications for the planet. Mindful of the potential environmental damage from an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, Batibeniz dedicated her academic studies to understanding their harmful impacts.

As an atmospheric sciences doctoral student at Istanbul Technical University, Batibeniz applied to further her research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity (ASTRO) Program. The program assigns recent master’s or doctoral graduates to real-world projects in the basic and applied sciences, energy and environment.

Under the guidance of her mentor, Moetasim Ashfaq, Ph.D., in the Climate Change Science Institute, Batibeniz is supporting a multi-national effort toward the development of high-resolution climate change data over a number of regions.

“I am involved in the dynamical downscaling of global climate models using a high-resolution regional climate model over multiple regions. This work is part of a scientific international collaboration known as the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX),” Batibeniz said.

Global climate models provide projections of how the earth’s climate might change in the future. While the large-scale models impact the international conversation on climate change mitigation strategies, CORDEX focuses on regional climate models. By downscaling the data, the researchers are able to achieve greater detail and accuracy. Communities can better prepare strategies when they use precise data relevant to their local landscape.

“These data will help to prepare parts of the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report by providing the most detailed climate projections to date involving North America, Central America, South Asia and the Mediterranean,” explained Batibeniz, who is researching alongside scientists at ORNL and in Europe. “The data in the assessment report will be extremely useful for better understanding climate change and its impact on natural and human systems relevant to policy making.”

After completing her bachelor’s degree in meteorological engineering, Batibeniz took a break from her academic pursuits to work full-time at a bookstore. However, she quickly realized her passion was in advancing climate change science. She returned to the university to complete her master’s degree in atmospheric sciences.

The research Batibeniz conducts at ORNL will form the basis of her doctoral thesis. Her experience at ORNL has opened her eyes to the possibilities of an academic career. After she completes her doctorate, she envisions continuing to contribute to climate change science research in a setting similar to ORNL.

“ORNL is a great place to focus on your research,” Batibeniz said. “The computational support here provides the opportunity to design and solves problems at scales that cannot be achieved elsewhere.”

The ASTRO program is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy.