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Natalie M. Kehrwald


Dr. Natalie Kehrwald is a Research Geologist at the Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center in Denver, Colorado. She came to the USGS after working as a Research Scientist at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Dr. Kehrwald was awarded the Marie Sklowdowska Curie post-doctoral fellowship to work with the Italian National Research Council.

Dr. Kehrwald studies interactions between climate, fire and humans using biomarkers in ice cores and sedimentary records. Droughts and vegetation changes can affect fuel availability, and changing atmospheric conditions can alter the number of natural fire ignitions through lightning strikes. Humans are particularly adept at setting fires both for survival (cooking, warmth, and land clearance) but also often accidentally ignite wildfires. Paleoclimate records such as lake cores and ice cores provide detailed records of fire activity, variations in precipitation, changing vegetation and human activity through time, and help place recent droughts and wildfires into the context of a longer timescale.