The ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of climate change, as well as its impacts on society and ecosystems, are the broad foci of my research interests. Of particular concern to me is the tropics, a region lying at the heart of Earth’s climate system and which is home to the majority of all life. The tropics play a key role in ice ages and the global transmission of abrupt climate signals. Thus, deciphering both the timing and true nature of past events at low latitudes is fundamental to our understanding of the role of the tropics in climate. Currently, I am working with colleagues at UMaine, Dartmouth College, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Pacific Lutheran University, Berkeley Geochonology Center, and the Escuela de Ingeniería de Antioquia in Colombia to resolve the timing and magnitude of late-Quaternary climate change. This is a broad investigation involving geomorphic mapping and stratigraphy, surface-exposure dating, and snowline reconstruction in both the northern and southern tropical Andes.
As natural extensions of these paleoclimate investigations, I am involved in research into glacial contributions to regional hydrology in arid tropical regions, the potential ramifications of rapid deglaciation on volcanic activity, and climatic/environmental parameters influencing human settlement and adaptation in the high Andes during the terminal Pleistocene. Elsewhere, I am involved in deciphering the deglacial history of the Ross Sea Embayment, Antarctica, and investigating the terrestrial manifestation of abrupt climate change in the North Atlantic region.