Skyler Kern

Skyler Kern

PhD student

University of Colorado Boulder

Climate change is studied using Earth System Models (ESMs), which try to simulate the physical, chemical, biological, and anthropogenic influences on the climate. While these large models are useful in understanding trends, they face a problem. Our current computational capabilities limit the range of spatial and temporal scales that can be resolved. ESMs therefore rely on modeling the small scales using Subgrid Scale Models. Skyler’s research focuses on improving our understanding of the biophysical processes that happen at these small scales. A better understanding of what is happening at the SGS level will inform those seeking to improve ESMs.

Skyler’s career has been heavily influenced by his upbringing in Alaska. Skyler graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in December 2016 with his Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He has prior experience in both industry and research. To better understand the oil and gas industry, a major source of employment in Alaska, he interned at BP Exploration Alaska. Coming to better understand the disproportionate impact climate change will have on Alaskan communities, he sought out research opportunities related to renewable energy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He is now seeking to better understand fundamental questions of the carbon cycle and how it is affected by upper ocean turbulence.

He is funded by the Graduate Research Fellowship Program from the National Science Foundation (NSF), with additional support coming from the Alaska Grown PhD Program from the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP).


Ocean biogeochemistry


  • Geophysical fluid dynamics
  • Biogeochemical oceanography
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Turbulence


  • BS in Mechanical Engineering, 2016

    University of Alaska Anchorage