Squeezing a climate change record out of soggy sand

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talkResearch


The 2nd W. Mike Edmunds Memorial Lecture.

This lecture will examine how a record of past climate change becomes stored within soggy sand dunes in desert regions. These dunes represent the part of the groundwater cycle above the water table (the unsaturated zone). Sand-rich deserts are remote and sparsely populated regions, meaning they have relatively poor records of historical rainfall trends. Past rainfall records are vital to (i) constrain the connection between the forcing of our climate and the response of rainfall and (ii) to provide data that can be used as a training set to improve the numerical climate computer model simulations that are the tools used to predict future changes in regional rainfall. Predictions of future regional rainfall patterns remain one of the most uncertain parameters for climate science. Improving these predictions is of great value for humankind in order to plan adaption and mitigation strategies for climatic changes that will be felt in already water-stressed desert regions of the world.

Dr Abi Stone, will explore and unpick how we extract rainfall record from the sand dune rain gauges (the unsaturated zone), and reflect on how these datasets might be used by climate modellers and what this might mean for the future of these desert regions. While progress is still to be made on the latter, there are fantastic examples of where past climate change clues have been squeezed out of the unsaturated zone groundwater record from deserts around the world.

For a preview (2-page highlight) of this approach, including a diagram designed in propelling pencil by Mike himself, see http://pastglobalchanges.org/download/docs/magazine/2016-1/PAGESmagazine_2016(1)_24-25_Stone.pdf
Period2 Nov 2017
Event titleW. Mike Edmunds Memorial Lecture
Event typeOther
LocationOxford, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational