Lab Alumnus, Sloan Coats, Visits Lamont to Give OCP Seminar

September 23, 2019

Sloan Coats visited Lamont to give the OCP Seminar on September 20th.  The title of his talk was A Story of Mega Droughts: New methods that highlight novel pathways for solid earth-climate coupling (see his talk abstract below).  Sloan finished his PhD in the PaleoDynamics Lab in 2015 and is starting a tenure track faculty position at the University of Hawaii this fall (he was previously a Staff Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).  Sloan's visit was an occasion to gather lab members and collaborators for an evening dinner.  Hun Baek, Arianna Varuolo-Clarke, and Park Williams joined from Lamont, while Ernesto Tejedor and Natalia Ruiz Menal, our collaborators on the NSF PIRE project, were able to join from the University of Albany (see picture).

A Story of Mega Droughts: New methods that highlight novel pathways for solid earth-climate coupling

Abstract: A long standing question is what role natural external forcings, largely in the form of volcanic eruptions and cycles of solar output, play in driving climate variability on longer than decadal timescales. During relatively stationary climate states like the mid Holocene to present day, climate models and paleoclimate reconstructions suggest little role for these external forcings in driving hydroclimate variability. Herein, novel machine learning based methods that identify drought in three-dimensional space-time (latitude, longitude, and time) are applied to climate model simulations of the last millennium over North America. Analyzing the spatiotemporal characteristics of the most persistent and severe droughts in these simulations provides important insights into how external forcings can impact drought—principally through interactions of volcanic eruptions and internal modes of coupled climate variability.