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Searching for Abrupt Climate Change Precursors Using Ultra High Resolution Ice Core Analysis


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The project will undertake an ultra high resolution, multi-parameter investigation of past climate to develop predictors for future abrupt climate change through identification of the "tipping points" which occur prior to an abrupt climate change events. Ultra-high resolution (up to 4 micron) ice core records will be produced -- well beyond the ~1cm resolution currently available -- using continuous flow injection into both a Thermo Element 2 ICP-MS and a Picarro Inc. L-2130-I H2O isotope analyzer sampled using a newly developed state-of-the-art cryocell chamber integrated with digital image recording and annotating software. The PI will look for precursors that reveal evidence of changes in, for example, the timing and magnitude of temperature, precipitation and atmospheric circulation from multi-decadal down to hundreds of sampling levels per year. The project will train students to be well versed in advanced laboratory and numerical modeling methods. Students will learn data reduction and visualization algorithms while also helping to provide a data stream that has broad applicability to climate. Cyberinfrastructure developed under NSF funding to the Climate Change Institute will be used to store, process, and visualize this high volume of ice core data while also making the information available to the public with high transparency for climate change use and attribution.