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Terrestrial Paleoclimate Group

Understanding interactions between the biosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere of the Cenozoic

Our research is focused on the terrestrial paleoclimate of Earth.  Our efforts are to understand the links and feedbacks between the ancient biosphere, atmosphere, and lithosphere with specific emphasis on the Cenozoic time period.  We use a combination of stable isotope measurements, coupled with field studies, and numerical models in order to build an understanding of the Earth’s past climate.  We are particularly focused on studying past climates to understand how the Earth’s climate may behave in the future as greenhouse gases increase in our atmosphere.  Field sites include western North America, north-central Asia, and Europe. Our laboratory work is currently directed toward developing triple oxygen isotopes as a paleoclimate proxy.

News

The mid-Miocene climatic optimum is a warm period that may be analogous to future conditions. Clumped isotopes from carbonates in the Swiss Alps reveal Central Europe climate has long been linked to the North Atlantic Ocean and warm intervals bring large-scale change in atmospheric circulation...

The vestiges of lakes long extinct dot the landscape of the American desert west. These fossilized landforms provide clues of how dynamic climate has been over the past few million years.

Oct 13 2016 | Stanford News

The first large-scale map of rainfall declines revealed by signatures in ancient soil could help researchers better understand profound regional and global climate transformation.