David McGee

Associate Professor, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
MIT School of Science

David McGee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, where he is also the Associate Department Head for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In addition, he directs the Terrascope Learning Community at MIT, which engages first-year students in student-led exploration of challenges related to sustainability and the environment. In this role, he has joined with MIT’s Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center to develop long-term partnerships in the Navajo Nation and Puerto Rico in which MIT students and researchers work with community organizations to learn about and confront local sustainability challenges.

David’s research focuses on understanding the response of precipitation patterns to past climate changes using lake and cave deposits and deep-sea sediments; his work has taken him from 2,000 m below sea level (in a submersible) to 4,000 m above sea level (in the central Andes). His group integrates field geology, geochemistry, climate science and computation to reconstruct the patterns and magnitudes of past changes as a means of evaluating the models and theory used to project the future. Past and ongoing research projects explore the sensitivity of permafrost during past warm climates, the response of monsoons to changes in global temperatures and ocean circulation, and the drivers of dramatic fluctuations in water availability in the western U.S. 

In joining the MCSC Faculty Steering Committee, David is excited to learn from the varied perspectives around the (virtual) table, and to find ways to connect MIT’s fantastic undergraduate students to the consortium’s work on sustainability challenges.