Holocene Landscape and climate change in northern Arizona
1. Holocene Landscape Evolution, Sediment Flux,
and Climate Change in Drylands of the southwestern Colorado Plateau
The overall objective of this work is to understand and
quantify changes in Holocene sediment flux in various landscape elements in the
semiarid lands of northeastern Arizona.
Research is being conducted to assess prehistoric, historic
and modern landscape change, and involves developing alluvial chronologies in
selected stream reaches, analyzing sequential landscape images in the context
of changing historical precipitation regimes, and establishing of baseline
surveys of stream and hillslope morphometry.
Understanding the long-term variability of sediment flux
will contribute to a better understanding of landscape changes that might occur
during future low amplitude climate change.
2. Holocene Fluvial
Geomorphology in Forested Ecosystems of Northern Arizona
Studies related to developing a long-term (Holocene) record
of sediment flux in the ponderosa pine ecosystem of northern Arizona continue
with two main foci.
One is to understand the relationship between debris flows,
fire, climate, and land use in complex terrain in the ponderosa pine forest
during the latest Pleistocene through the Holocene.
The second focus area is to build a Holocene chronology of
stream activity through mapping, describing and dating stream and alluvial fan
deposits and analyzing these chronologies in the context of Holocene climate
This information will help to provide land managers with a
better understanding of the long-term natural variability in sediment flux in
local forested ecosystems.
3. The Northern Arizona Mesonet
The Northern Arizona Mesonet (NAM) is a network of sixteen
wireless, solar-powered weather stations located throughout northeastern
Arizona that upload thirteen measured and calculated parameters automatically
to a web server every 2 minutes.
The network was initiated in 2003 through a partnership
between NAU and the National Weather Service, and most of the stations were
established as part of ABOR-sponsored teacher professional development
opportunities to enhance technology-based physical science education. Nine of
the stations are in the Flagstaff area and seven are in rural and tribal
NAM data is utilized by the National Weather Service,
secondary school teachers and the general public. The establishment of weather
stations at arid and semiarid Colorado Plateau sites will provide an
opportunity to estimate sand flux using standard equations that incorporate
wind speed, wind duration, and local soil texture.
Simple dust collectors will eventually be added to selected
stations to quantify dust flux and to determine dust composition. In addition
to eolian sediment flux, the stations will also provide data on rainfall
intensity, closely linked to arroyo incision.