Projects Detail

Holocene climate change in Alaska

The Holocene represents the most recent warm period on Earth. It is currently being critically examined with high-resolution, multi-proxy records across the globe as it contains important implications for future climate scenarios. However, Alaska represents an important “white spot” in this global Holocene reconstruction. There are currently no high-resolution, multi-proxy records that span the entire Holocene in Alaska. Because of this, it is largely uncertain how this region will respond to future warming. Here, we use speleothems (which are abundant in Southeast Alaska) to reconstruct a high-resolution, multi-proxy record to better constrain future climate scenarios in this sensitive region.
This project aims to: (1) establish a replicated, precisely dated, high-resolution (<10 year resolution) speleothem stack back to the beginning of the Holocene. This will allow a substantial improvement over the resolution of lake sediments (typically ~200 yr resolution in Southeast Alaska records). (2) Link the speleothem record with existing paleovegetation records from lakes in Southeast Alaska, in order to better understand differences or similarities between proxy records. (3) Launch the first cave monitoring program in Alaska, needed to understand climate-proxy relationships.

FWF project no. P33896
P.i.: Paul Wilcox
Duration: 2020-2023

Christoph Spötl (our group)
Jeffrey Dorale (University of Iowa)
James Baichtal (Tongass National Forest)
Larry Edwards (University of Minnesota)
Sarah Fowell (University of Alaska Fairbanks)