Simulated global changes in summer (JJA) air temperature over the past 21,000 yr. The 3,000-yr time series shows how summer temperatures of the past differed from the pre-industrial period (PI). The temperature differences reflect the influence of continental ice sheets (darkest blue), changing atmospheric trace gases and changes in Earth-Sun geometry (reddest colors).
This project addresses climate-related research across a wide range of temporal (the past 106 years and into the future) and spatial (global to local) scales. Since 1990 we have participated in developing regional and global climate models and we have developed a variety of numerical models, visualization techniques, and statistical methods to quantify and explain interactions between the atmosphere, land surface, lakes, vegetation, glaciers and wildfire. Our work is done in the context of broadly interdisciplinary research aimed at addressing past, present and future climate hypotheses, questions and issues. We also maintain a substantial effort to provide climate data and guidance for applied research.
Why is this research important?
Understanding how hydrologic and ecological systems respond to and interact with climate is a pressing need in the context of future climate change. We are testing climate model simulations with geologic data to evaluate the ability of models to reproduce known past changes and to build confidence in their projections of the future. There is a well-established need for climate information at spatial and temporal resolutions that are relevant to processes on the landscape. We are addressing that need, for both paleo and future climate-based research, by producing long (i.e., multi-decadal to multi-century) simulations of past, present and future with regional climate models.