USGS Mendenhall: tropical cyclone landfall records

Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Seminar

Terrence McCloskey, USGS – St. Petersburg, FL

When: Thursday, August 18, 2016 – 12 Noon

Where: Via WebEx and National Center, Room 3A409 (Chief Geologist’s Conference Room)


Paleotempestology: Using organic geochemical proxies to improve the resolution of tropical cyclone landfall records

Due to the brevity of the historical record, the long term activity pattern of tropical cyclones along the western margins of the North Atlantic is not well understood. Paleotempestology attempts to mitigate this lack by using geologic methods to extend landfall records thousands of years into the past. A primary objective is to identify climatic mechanisms driving the large, low-frequency changes in activity levels observed in nearly all millennial-scale landfall records. Increasing the spatial coverage of long-term records and the sensitivity of event detection are important challenges in improving our understanding of these activity regime changes. This project aims at using organic geochemical proxies capable of detecting smaller/more distant storms in order to improve the completeness of local records. Doing so requires several preliminary steps, including proxy development, the identification of event signatures, the assessment of event layer preservation/alteration over time, and deconvolving the environmental history of each study site. We address these issues based on work conducted in the Pearl River marsh, LA and Waccasassa Bay, FL.

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