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Alaska is a land of opportunity for the Quaternary scientist interested in developing a high-resolution history of climate change.

Research in Alaska

In the summers of 1980 and 1981, I spent my time in the Seward Peninsula, scouting for appropriate paleoecological sites for fire history studies near Imuruk Lake. More recently, research in my laboratory has been concentrated on the history of fire and vegetation change on the Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage. Working with Dr. Ed Berg and others at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, we have been engaged in determining these long-term relationships in lowland mixed spruce forests. This research has resulted in a long record of change there from Paradox Lake (pictured above) and other nearby lakes.

More recently, we have combined forces with several colleagues, including Drs. Darrell Kaufman (Northern Arizona University), Feng Sheng Hu (U of Illinois Champaign-Urbana), Al Werner (Mt. Holyoke College) and others to examine patterns of climate change across southern Alaska. For this project, our transect of sites stretches from the Ahklun Mountains in the west to the Chugach Mountains in the east. Our goal is to determine a high-resolution history of climate change, concentrating on periods of rapid (Younger Dryas) and sustained (Holocene Thermal Maximum; Neoglacial) climate change.

For more about our southern Alaska research, view an annotated slideshow.