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Keith Lewin

Senior Research Engineer

Keith Lewin has spent his career at Brookhaven investigating the effects of pollutants and climate change on crops and natural ecosystems. His areas of expertise are developing equipment and facilities to apply and quantify experimental treatments and environmental conditions and the management of field research facilities. In the early 1980’s Keith designed a rainfall exclusion shelter and artificial rain delivery system used at BNL, the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and Penn State University to study Acid Rain effects on agricultural crops. Keith Lewin was lead engineer on the 1985 BNL initiative that developed the first Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) facility. The BNL FACE facility was the first manipulative experiment to reliably maintain elevated levels of carbon dioxide in large, unenclosed field plots and provided the basic design for similar FACE experiments deployed world-wide. From 1985 to the present Keith Lewin has led or assisted in the design, construction and management of FACE experiments in the USA, Switzerland, Germany, Panama, New Zealand, Australia and the UK to study the effects of elevated CO2 and ozone levels on meadows, field crops and forests. Keith continues working with research organizations from around the world that want to build and operate FACE research facilities


  • Cornell University, B.S.


  • 1999 Recipient of Brookhaven National Laboratory's "Brookhaven Award"

Research Interests

  • Effects of environmental pollutants on natural and managed terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Development of computer aided control and data collection systems.
  • Management of field experiments.
  • Use of wired and wireless networking to improve data collection, storage, and distribution at field research sites.

Summary of Experience

  • Design, fabrication, and operation of unique research facilities used at BNL and elsewhere to study the ecological effects of acid rain and global climate change.
  • Design, implementation, and analysis of growth chamber, greenhouse, and field-scale experiments examining the effects of environmental pollutants and climate change on plant growth and ecosystem function.
  • Supervision of the installation and operation of experimental field sites in the United States, Europe, Central America and Australia.
  • Interfacing measurement and control instrumentation with personal computers.
  • Use of networking equipment and software to improve collection and distribution of research data within and from remote research facilities.

Current Projects

  • Forest-Atmosphere Transfer and Storage (FACTS-1)
    Keith Lewin manages the operations of a large Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiment in the Duke Forest. Experimental elevation of the CO2 concentration to 200 µmol mol-1 above ambient concentration began August 27, 1996 and ended October 31, 2010. Post-enrichment studies will continue through 2013.
  • EucFACE Experiment, University of Western Sydney, Australia
    BNL is assisting the University of Western Sydney with the design and construction of a FACE experiment in a mature eucalyptus forest. BNL designed the CO2 treatment and sampling systems hardware and software. Construction is nearing completion with CO2 enrichment expected to commence in September, 2012.
  • Tropical forest warming prototype, International Institute of Tropical Forestry Keith Lewin is working with the US Department of Agriculture, University of California at Berkley and others to design and test a climate warming facility that can be used over regenerating forest plots.

Recent Publications (since 2008)

Kimball, BA, Conley, MM & Lewin, KF (2012) Performance and energy costs associated with scaling infrared heater arrays for warming field plots from 1 to 100 m. (pdf) Theoretical and Applied Climatology 108, 247-265, DOI 10.1007/s00704-011-0518-5.

Calfapietra C, Ainsworth EA, Beier C, De Angelis P, Ellsworth DS, Godbold DL, Hendrey GR, Hickler T, Hoosbeek MR, Karnosky DF, King J, Körner C, Leakey ADB, Lewin KF, Liberloo M, Long SP, Lukac M, Matyssek R, Miglietta F, Nagy J, Norby RJ, Oren R, Percy KE, Rogers A, Scarascia-Mugnozza G, Stitt M, Taylor G, Ceulemans R (2010) Challenges in elevated CO2 experiments on forests. (pdf) Trends in Plant Science 15, 5-10.

Lewin KF, Nagy J, Nettles WR, Cooley DM, Rogers A (2009) Comparison of gas use efficiency and treatment uniformity in a forest ecosystem exposed to elevated [CO2] using pure and pre-diluted Free Air CO2 Enrichment technology. (pdf) Global Change Biology 15, 388-395.

Ainsworth EA, Beier C, Calfapietra C, Cuelemans R, Durand-Tarfid M, Godbold DL, Hendrey GR, Hickler T, Kaduk J, Karnosky DF, Kimball BA, Körner C, Koorneef M, LaFarge T, Leakey ADB, Lewin KF, Long SP, Manderscheid R, McNeil DL, Mies TA, Miglietta F, Morgan JA, Nagy J, Norby RJ, Norton RM, Percy KE, Rogers A, Soussana J-F, Stitt M, Weigel H-J, White JW (2008) Next generation of elevated [CO2] experiments with crops: A critical investment for feeding the future world. (pdf) Plant, Cell & Environment 31, 1317-1324.