Understanding Climate Change

Researchers collect sediment cores from a lake in the Brooks Range of Alaska. (Courtesy of Philip Higuera.)

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore are working to better understand climate variation and sharpen the accuracy of predictive models with an LDRD project on “Mapping Patterns of Past Drought in California Late-Holocene Lake Sediments as Model Diagnostics." Principal investigator Susan Zimmerman is developing lake-sediment records of the natural changes in California’s climate, with the focus on tracking the number of droughts through the centuries. The team is taking time slices of California climate for the last 2,000 years to help reconstruct historical patterns. Accurately predicting the timing, amount, and patterns of precipitation is especially critical in California, with its growing population, enormous agricultural industry, and propensity for droughts. In particular, state agencies responsible for meeting future water demands must depend on scientific estimates for precipitation over the next few decades.

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