World Island Paleoclimate Project

In this project, we are studying the nature and cause of long-term climatic variations from the sediment record of island lakes.
Even though understanding long-term climatic variation is necessary to correctly forecast Earth’s future climate states, the nature and causes of long-term climate change are still poorly understood.  There is much work to be done if we are determine the likely result of, for example, projected increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Island lakes offer the possibility of understanding long-term climatic variations by comparing two types of paleoclimate records – the record of oceanic conditions and the record of atmospheric conditions – in one geographic region. The sediments of island lakes record pure atmospheric responses to pure oceanic forcings. Atmospheric records from these lake sediments can be compared with sea-surface temperature records from nearby marine sediments to help us understand exactly how the atmosphere responded to a specific oceanic forcing at a specific time in the past. Hence, island lakes have the potential for yielding tremendous insight into long-term, global climate change.
Project Collaborators:
Catherine A. Rigsby
East Carolina University
Paul A. Baker, Duke University
Sherilyn C. Fritz, University of Nebraska
Svante Bjorck, University of Lund


Research Objectives
 Read the planning proposal

Graduate Research
Current Graduate Researchers: Amy N. Caulder

Research Sites
Maps and photos of our field sites

Results to Date
What does our research mean for understanding Holocene climate change?