Holocene climatic variation in southern Alaska
Splitting the First Core Coring Platform
Professors Darrell Kaufman and R. Scott Anderson are working
together to document the range of Holocene climatic variability in southern
Alaska based on proxy climate data stored in lake sediment. Their research
blends paleoecologic and isotopic analyses, glacial-geological studies at
proglacial lakes, GIS-based local climatic modeling, and synoptic climatology.
The goal is to apply this complementary suite of approaches
to reconstruct past winter precipitation, which in southern Alaska is
positively correlated with the strength of the Aleutian low, and past summer
temperature, which places recent and projected climatic warming in a long-term
Dr. Kaufman has been studying the Quaternary geology of
Alaska for the past 20 years. During this time, his interests have evolved from
longer-term records of Pleistocene climate change, i.e., those preserved in
deposits left by fluctuating Pleistocene sea level and glacial ice, to
higher-resolution proxy records of climate, i.e., those preserved in lake deposits,
particularly glacier-fed lakes (more
on Dr. Kaufman's research).
Dr. Anderson has studied vegetation history of southern
Alaska since 1994. His interests include understanding the immigration of plant
species into the region after the last glaciation. More recently, he has
focused on late Holocene immigration of mountain hemlock (Tsugu mertensiana)
and vegetation changes associated with climatic reversals, such as the
late-glacial Younger Dryas period.