Climate Research and Development

Modeling and reconstructing past, present and future climate in North America

Changes in late-Pleistocene continental ice sheets since the Last Glacial Maximum. The most recent ice age peaked 21,000 years ago (21 ka, extensive gray and white areas in the lower right-hand map) and progressively waned through the Holocene as a result of increasing solar radiation and atmospheric greenhouse gases (18 ka through 12 ka). The ice age ended around 9,000 years ago (9 ka) with the complete melting of the Laurentide ice sheet over North American and Scandinavian ice sheet. These types of maps are incorporated into global climate models that are used to investigate paleoclimate. From Alder and Hostetler (2015).
Changes in late-Pleistocene continental ice sheets since the Last Glacial Maximum. The most recent ice age peaked 21,000 years ago (21 ka, extensive gray and white areas in the lower right-hand map) and progressively waned through the Holocene as a result of increasing solar radiation and atmospheric greenhouse gases (18 ka through 12 ka). The ice age ended around 9,000 years ago (9 ka) with the complete melting of the Laurentide ice sheet over North American and Scandinavian ice sheet. These types of maps are incorporated into global climate models that are used to investigate paleoclimate. From Alder and Hostetler (2015).

This project addresses climate research across a wide range of temporal (the past million years and into the future) and spatial (global to local) scales through modeling and proxy data analysis. Both the modeling and data components are used in fundamental hypothesis-driven research and to provide relevant information to managers. We develop and apply numerical models, analytical methods and visualization techniques to quantify and explain interactions between the atmosphere and lakes, vegetation, glaciers and ice sheets, snow, hydrologic systems, wildfire and land-use change. We also collect, process, and analyze field samples from tree rings and lake cores and combine interpretations of the data with various types of climate and process models to identify mechanisms of change. In addition to a focus on basic science, a key objective of the project is to synthesize diverse data sets to provide and disseminate information to other researchers, agencies, resource managers, and the public.

Visualizing simulated global temperature change

Project Lead:
Steve Hostetler
Project Team:
Jay Alder and Greg Pederson
Project Website

7 publications matching the specified parameters were found.

Ullman, D.J., Carlson, A.E., Hostetler, S.W., Clark, P.U., Cuzzone, J., Milne, G.A., Winsor, K. and Caffee, M., 2016, Final Laurentide ice-sheet deglaciation and Holocene climate-sea level change, Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 152, p. 49-59.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.09.014

Alder, J. and Hostetler, S., 2015, Global climate simulations at 3,000-year intervals for the last 21,000 years with the GENMOM coupled atmosphere-ocean model: Climate of the Past, v. 11, p. 449-471.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/cp-11-449-2015

Alder, J.,and Hostetler, S., 2015, Web based visualization of large climate data sets: the USGS National Climate Change Viewer: Environmental Modeling and Software, v. 68, p. 175-180.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2015.02.016

Allan, A.M., Hostetler, S.W., and Alder, J.R., 2014, Analysis of the present and future winter Pacific-North American teleconnection in the ECHAM5 global and RegCM3 regional climate models: Climate dynamics, v. 42, no. 5-6, p. 1671-1682.

Ault, T.R., Cole, J.E., Overpeck, J.T., Pederson, G.T., and Meko, D.M., 2014, Assessing the risk of persistent drought using climate model simulations and paleoclimate data: Journal of Climate, v. 27, no. 20, p. 7529-7549.

Clark, J., Mitrovica, J.X., and Alder, J., 2014, Coastal paleogeography of the California-Oregon-Washington and Bering Sea continental shelves during the latest Pleistocene and Holocene: implications for the archaeological record: Journal of Archaeological Science, v. 52, p. 12-23.

Hostetler, S.W., Alder, J.R. and Allan, A.M., 2011, Dynamically downscaled climate simulations over North America: Methods, evaluation and supporting documentation for users: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1238, 64 p.

Dynamically Downscaled Climate Simulations

This project addresses climate-related research across a wide range of temporal (the past 106 years and into the future) and spatial (global to local) scales. Since 1990 we have participated in developing regional and global climate models and we have developed a variety of numerical models, visualization techniques, and statistical methods to quantify and explain interactions between the atmosphere, land surface, lakes, vegetation, glaciers and wildfire. Our work is done in the context of broadly interdisciplinary research aimed at addressing past, present and future climate hypotheses, questions and issues. We also maintain a substantial effort to provide climate data and guidance for applied research.

Why is this research important?

Understanding how hydrologic and ecological systems respond to and interact with climate is a pressing need in the context of future climate change. We are testing climate model simulations with geologic data to evaluate the ability of models to reproduce known past changes and to build confidence in their projections of the future. There is a well-established need for climate information at spatial and temporal resolutions that are relevant to processes on the landscape. We are addressing that need, for both paleo and future climate-based research, by producing long (i.e., multi-decadal to multi-century) simulations of past, present and future with regional climate models.