This project is establishing detailed records of paleoceaonographic, climatic, and environmental change in the Gulf of Mexico and its coastal areas. The primary time interval studied is the Holocene (last 10,000 years) with a focus on the last few thousand years. Climate and environmental proxies from sediment cores are used to document cycles of natural climate variability and environmental change. Specific objectives include developing and refining proxy indicators of past conditions, quantifying the rate and magnitude of past changes, linking marine records with environmental changes on adjacent lands, and providing well-dated, and replicated, time-series of climate and environmental data that can be used to identify and test possible forcing of natural climate variability. Resolution of records ranges from sub annual (corals) to multidecadal (sediment cores).
Why is this research important?
Information on natural climatic variability is needed to establish possible causes of climate variation on human timescales and help discriminate between natural variability and any human-related changes. Better understanding of the frequency and magnitude of natural climate variability during the Holocene, especially the last few thousand years, will lead to better forecasts of future change and its societal impact.
Principal Investigator: Lisa E. Osterman
Project Team: Richard Poore, Caitlin Reynolds, Kathryn Richwine