Assessment of paleoclimate resources for studies of climate extremes

Project Type: 
Core Research Project
Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
Debra Willard (USGS, Reston); Tim Cook (Worcester State University)
Project Fellows: 
Status: 
Ongoing
Science Themes: 

This project is focused on compiling existing paleo-limnological data from lakes throughout the Northeast. The goal of this project is to create an editable database of existing chronologies and proxy data. This resource can then be accessed and added to by any paleo-limnologists working in the region. Based on the existing information, researchers will be able to identify "high-reward" lakes that may be targeted for future high-resolution paleoclimate analysis and also pinpoint regions of the Northeast that may be currently lacking sufficient paleo-limnological data. This work will also help place modern extreme weather events in perspective by creating a record of floods, droughts, etc., back in time beyond instrumental and historical records.  

As a first step, a sediment core has been recovered from Basin Pond, near Augusta Maine.  This record is thought to be annually laminated, and so could provide a high resolution record for the last 203 millennia.  Studies are in progress to examine the record for geochemical and sedimentological evidence ralated to floods, fire history and drought. Extreme events are likely to have the biggest impact on the region, and our research will place recent changes in a long-term perspective.

Publications: 
Presentations: 
  • DISCCRS Interdisciplinary Climate Change Research Symposium, Seattle, Washington; Nov 2014