The future climate of the Americas is uncertain and presents a challenge as countries strive to prepare for droughts, floods, or wildfires. Future preparation may be guided by a better understanding of how climate varied naturally over the past millennium - preceding the start of the industrial revolution and significant human impact on the environment. Our PIRE brings together a team of international experts from five research institutions in the United States, Brazil and Argentina. By improving our understanding of past climate variations over North and South America, we will place future climate projections within a longer-term framework to better inform international policymakers and stakeholders. PIRE researchers will investigate the nature of extreme events over the two continents during the last one thousand years by merging data from the two largest tree-ring and cave sediment (stalagmite) archives in South America with new, unpublished records. By combining new tree-ring chronologies and speleothem records, the PIRE's research team will investigate the characteristics and causes of climate extremes spanning North and South America during the last millennium.
Specifically, the PIRE will advance the following scientific objectives: 1) document the sensitivity of the South American monsoon to external forcing; 2) create a new reconstruction of the El Niño - Southern Oscillation and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation; 3) identify past extreme events and analyze their causes and societal response; 4) merge tree-ring and speleothem records over tropical South America into a new blended product that serves as the basis for a spatiotemporal climate reconstruction over tropical South America; and 5) reduce the uncertainty of future projections by constraining past model performance with observed variability from proxies. This PIRE will produce new climate reconstructions, detect and analyze past climate extremes (droughts, wildfires, floods) and their societal response, create a new paleo-product by synergistically blending different proxies, and better constrain regional-scale future projections based on past model-data comparisons, which will serve as an ideal testbed for model assessment.
Education and outreach
This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) and Paleoclimate Program.