PAGES-Powell North America 2k database

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Nicholas McKay, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, United States
Syntheses of paleoclimate data in North America are essential for understanding long-term spatiotemporal variability in climate and for properly assessing risk on decadal and longer timescales. Existing reconstructions of the past 2,000 years rely almost exclusively on tree-ring records, which can underestimate low-frequency variability and rarely extend beyond the last millennium. Meanwhile, many records from the full spectrum of paleoclimate archives are available and hold the potential of enhancing our understanding of past climate across North America over the past 2000 years. The second phase of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) North America 2k project began in 2014, with a primary goal of assembling these disparate paleoclimate records into a unified database. This effort is currently supported by the USGS Powell Center together with PAGES. Its success requires grassroots support from the community of researchers developing and interpreting paleoclimatic evidence relevant to the past 2000 years. Most likely, fewer than half of the published records appropriate for this database are publicly archived, and far fewer include the data needed to quantify geochronologic uncertainty, or to concisely describe how best to interpret the data in context of a large-scale paleoclimatic synthesis. The current version of the database includes records that (1) have been published in a peer-reviewed journal (including evidence of the record’s relationship to climate), (2) cover a substantial portion of the past 2000 yr (>300 yr for annual records, >500 yr for lower frequency records) at relatively high resolution (<50 yr/observation), and (3) have reasonably small and quantifiable age uncertainty. Presently, the database includes records from boreholes, ice cores, lake and marine sediments, speleothems, and tree rings. This poster presentation will display the site locations and basic metadata of the records currently in the database. We invite anyone with interest in participating in the project to visit the poster or contact the author to help identify and assimilate relevant records that have not yet been included. The goal is to develop a comprehensive and open-access resource that will serve the diverse community interested in the climate of the Common Era in North America.