Eastham, Sebastian

Sebastian Eastham
Research Scientist, Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment
Research Scientist, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics





Focus Areas

Earth Systems, Policy Scenarios, Climate Policy, Air Quality & Health, Multi-Sector Dynamics


Seb is a research scientist in the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment, part of MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research career began at Cambridge, where he worked on the environmental impact of expanding Heathrow Airport as part of his undergraduate degree. Seb completed a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering at MIT in 2015, followed by a two year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard in the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group, supported jointly by the Harvard University Center for the Environment and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate and Global Change program. He joined LAE as a research scientist in 2017 

Research Interests

At LAE, Seb’s work is focused on understanding and reducing the atmospheric impacts of aviation. A key part of this is the physical modeling of aircraft exhaust plumes and condensation trails, using high-fidelity local simulations in combination with global-scale numerical models of the atmosphere. His research on this topic also benefits from the application of machine learning methods to Earth observation data, such as an ongoing project to identify aircraft condensation trails – and from there quantify their climate impacts – in geostationary satellite imagery. His work also considers the consequences that a growing aviation industry could have for the climate. One such project that Seb is leading at LAE is concerned with trade-offs which might exist between the design choices of a future supersonic civil airliner and the eventual damage that might be done to the environment.

Education + Credentials
PhD in Aeronautical Engineering, MIT
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group, Harvard University

Recent Publications

Joint Program Report
Atkinson, W., S.D. Eastham, Y.-H.H. Chen, J. Morris, S. Paltsev, C.A. Schlosser and N.E. Selin (2022). Joint Program Report Series Report 359, June, 19 p. [PDF]
Journal Article
Eastham, S.D., T. Fritz, I. Sanz-Morere, P. Prashanth, F. Allroggen, R.G. Prinn, R.L. Speth and S.R.H. Barrett (2022). Environmental Science: Atmospheres, DOI: 10.1039/d1ea00081k

News + Media

News Release
Joint Program News | 
Jun 08, 2022
Joint Program News | 
Jun 08, 2022
News Brief
Joint Program News | 
Oct 07, 2021