Research | Paleoclimate Reconstruction and Modeling

Research on past environmental and climate change provides fundamental insight into Earth system processes and critical context for understanding ongoing and future changes. The Geosciences Department’s core strength in climate change builds on a rich tradition of research in Quaternary studies, and now includes leading-edge work in paleoclimate reconstruction, geochronology, modeling, and synthesis. We use paleoclimate reconstructions as windows into physical mechanisms of climate change relevant to the modern changing Earth system, and we explore the implications of physical climate changes for ecological, geomorphic, hydrologic and marine systems. We apply climate system models to explore and anticipate mechanisms for environmental change, and we use paleoclimate data to assess model capabilities. Geosciences faculty working in this area have active field programs worldwide, including substantial efforts in tropical Africa, monsoon Asia, and South America, as well as locally in the Southwest. We have a growing presence in oceanic research, both nearshore and blue-water. We include the human dimensions of environmental change in research ranging from geoarchaeological and anthropological studies to stakeholder interactions related to current environmental policy. Our geochemical and geochronological facilities, and high-end modeling capabilities, enable diverse opportunities to explore a wide range of approaches to this research.


Vic Baker – Paleohydrology and fluvial geomorphology
Julio Betancourt – Paleoclimatology and paleoecology
Andy Cohen - Paleolimnology, paleoecology, limnogeology.
Julia Cole – Paleoclimate reconstruction and modeling; coral reefs; drought
Owen Davis - Quaternary paleoecology and palynology
Karl Flessa – Marine paleoecology; Gulf of California; Colorado River Delta
Vance Holliday – Quaternary geoarchaeology and landscape evolution
Steve Jackson
Tim Jull – Geochronology and paleoenvironmental records
Jonathan Overpeck – Paleoclimate dynamics; global change impacts
Jay Quade – Earth surface geochemistry; geoarchaeology; paleoclimatology
Peter Reiners – Geochronology and paleoenvironmental records
Joellen Russell - Biogeochemistry, oceanography, climate dynamics and modeling
Jessica Tierney - Geochemistry, biogeochemistry, drought, reconstruction & modeling
Jianjun Yin - Climate Dynamics and Modeling Ocean Circulation and Sea Level Change


Warren Beck – Paleoclimate, carbon cycle, geochronology
David Dettman – Isotopic records of paleoenvironments; isotope paleohydrology
Paul Goodman – Ocean and climate modeling

Related Programs on Campus

Institute for the Study of Planet Earth
Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research
Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory
School of Natural Resources
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
Department of Geography and Regional Development
Department of Hydrology and Water Resources