Award Date: September 2010
Effective October 1st, the grant for $302,272 over three years is funded through the Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) mechanism to support his project with Ohio State University entitled “Collaborative Research: RUI: Tropical Holocene Climatic Insights from Andean Paleoglacier Dynamics.” This collaborative effort was submitted to and approved by NSF’s Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change (P2C2) program. This grant gives Prof. Rodbell and undergraduate research assistants the opportunity to travel to Lima, Peru to conduct field work. Specifically, the research will generate continuous, centennial to millennial-scale records of mountain glaciation in Peru spanning the Holocene (~12 ka to present) that will enable rigorous testing of hypotheses concerning the causes of abrupt climate change in the tropics. Relating the changes in tropical glacier mass to climate dynamics is a priority for global climate modeling efforts to predict future changes based on accurately simulating past changes under different greenhouse scenarios. The long-term perspective of temperature and precipitation changes on tropical glacier mass and energy balance is still poorly understood, primarily because of a lack of detailed and continuous glacial records from both the humid and more arid parts of the tropical Andes. This work will substantially improve understanding of the link between alpine glacial variability, water resources and mass and energy fluxes in the tropical “heat engine” of the planet.