What Are They Doing?

The goal of this project was to reconstruct the behavior of atmospheric circulation, specifically the Aleutian Low pressure system, over the past 10,000 years and to assess how its variability relates to past shifts in climate. In the summer of 2009, the research team recovered sediment cores and conducted monitoring at nine lake sites in southern Alaska. They used the physical and chemical characteristics of the samples they collected to reconstruct a record of past climate in this area. The data was compared with records across the Arctic and sub-Arctic to better understand climate variation overall. Information gathered as part of this project helped researchers better understand modern climate warming in the context of the long-term climate changes that took place in the region.

Additionally, the research team discovered that two of the lakes visited contain unique sediment layers called varves, which provide a lot of information about past climate changes. These are among only a few varved lakes presently known in Alaska.

Where Are They?

The team visited several lakes in both south-cental and southwest Alaska. Allison Lake (in the south-central part of the state near Valdez) is a glaciated watershed where the team extracted sediment cores 3-4 meters in length. In the Ahklun Mountains, in southwest Alaska, they visited Upper Togiak Lake and retrieved previously deployed instrumentation and collected more sediment cores. Both regions are known for mountainous terrain, alpine lakes, and moist coastal climate.

Latest Journals

  The last email I received from Janet Warburton encouraged me to post a final journal entry to let folks know that I made it home safely and to wrap of the story of my research trip. She said, "Just let folks know what you learned, how you feel about the experience, and what your plans are…
I am in my tent, wet and bedraggled, working on thawing my fingers, drying my clothes, and writing yet another journal entry. It is raining again....still. I hung my rain suit on a line in my tent while I was working on the computer during a rainstorm at Allison Lake. It was a balancing act to…
At James Monroe Elementary we work together to make sure students and staff follow the 3 R's: Be respectfull, Responsible and Resourceful.  On this expedition I have seen just how important those qualities are. I am here with a team from Northern Arizona University.  The team leader is Dr. Darrell…
We arrived at Allison Lake after a 6 hour drive from Anchorage. From Valdez it took 3 float plane trips (Cordova Air) to get all 5 of us and a lot of gear (really heavy gear) up to the lake. The first job was to set up our tents and then put together our inflatable motor boat and the raft that…
Dates
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Location
Southcentral and Southwest Alaska
Project Funded Title
Coupled Glacial and Lacustrine Evidence for Decadal- to millennial-scale variability in the climatologic Aleutian Low, southern Alaska
Barney Peterson - Teacher
Teacher
James Monroe Elementary School

Barney Peterson has been a teacher for 19 years and is currently a 4th grade teacher at James Monroe Elementary in Everett Washington. She currently teaches students in an applied learning program in which students use skills and knowledge from core areas to carry out projects in environmental science. In addition to studying native plants, each year, her students raise Coho salmon and maintain a webcam on their tank . Ms. Peterson is a National Board Certified Teacher, has been a Teacher at Sea and a Teacher in the Air with NOAA, and, in 2006, received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Her interest in paleoclimatology and the International Polar Year is what led her to participate in PolarTREC.

Heidi Roop - Researcher
Researcher
University of New Hampshire/ Desert Research Institute

Heidi Roop grew up exploring the formerly glaciated landscape of Wisconsin, and today continues her love for studying glaciers and climate variability through research in Antarctica and alpine regions around the world. Spending the austral summer of 2010-2011 in Antarctica, it will be her second season working as a part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide project. When she is not in Antarctica, she works throughout the Sierra Nevada studying climate variability and hydrology for the United States Geological Survey.

Caleb Schiff - Researcher
Researcher
Northern Arizona University

Caleb Schiff is a Senior Research Specialist at Northern Arizona University where he manages the Sedimentary Records of Environmental Change Laboratory. This will be his fifth field season in Alaska, and his primary duties are to help coordinate the field season and laboratory work. Mr. Schiff has pursued climate change research in Alaska, Norway, and Indiana and has participated in three previous PolarTREC collaborations. His interest in outreach and mentoring stems from past research experiences and the advisors he has come to know along the way. When not working in the lab, Mr. Schiff enjoys hiking, baking pizza in his homemade wood-fired pizza oven, and basking in the wonderful Flagstaff weather.

Heidi Roop - Researcher
Researcher
University of New Hampshire/ Desert Research Institute

Heidi Roop grew up exploring the formerly glaciated landscape of Wisconsin, and today continues her love for studying glaciers and climate variability through research in Antarctica and alpine regions around the world. Spending the austral summer of 2010-2011 in Antarctica, it will be her second season working as a part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide project. When she is not in Antarctica, she works throughout the Sierra Nevada studying climate variability and hydrology for the United States Geological Survey.

Darrell Kauffman - Researcher
Researcher
Northern Arizona University

Darrell Kaufman is a professor of geology and environmental science at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Dr. Kauffman's research focuses on paleoclimatology and the geologic records of past environmental changes and he has conducted climate change research in Alaska for over 20 years. He and his students are currently focusing on records of past climate change and volcanic activity using sediment cores from lakes across southern Alaska.

Alaska Climate Variation 09 Resources

There are currently no resources associated with this expedition.