What caused the Little Ice Age? UMass research points to a transfer of warm water from the tropics to the Arctic

Francois Lapointe and Ray Bradley have published a study in Science Advances that reveals that the Little Ice Age, one of the coldest periods of the past 10,000 years, was triggered by the transfer of warm Atlantic Ocean water from the tropics. The warming occurred during a time of high solar activity and few volcanic eruptions. Read more in the UMass news release and journal article.

Fourth warmest autumn on record for Northeast U.S.

December 8, 2021
Climate System Research Center
Climate analysis for autumn and summer-autumn 2021.

Temperature ranks for autumn (September-November) for U.S. regions. Accessed from National Centers for Environmental Information, National Climate Report – November 2021: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/202111

Meteorological autumn (Sep-Nov) was the fourth warmest on record for the Northeast U.S. Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island saw their third warmest autumn. A record warm October paced the autumn anomaly.

It was the third warmest autumn for the contiguous U.S.

Four of the five warmest autumns over the Northeast have occurred in the last 11 years (2011, 2015, 2021, 2016). The season is warming at a rate of 0.2 oF per decade since 1895.

Northeast U.S. average temperatures for autumn from 1895-2021. Chart accessed from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/regional/time-series/101/tavg/3/11/1895-2021?trend=true&trend_base=10&begtrendyear=1895&endtrendyear=2021

For minimum temperature, the Northeast experienced the highest average on record for both autumn and the summer-autumn period (Jun-Nov). Minimum temperatures for summer-fall were record warm at most sites in New England, including Boston, Providence, Worcester, and a majority of locations in Maine and New Hampshire. This year Boston had its warmest summer on record, and its year-to-date average temperature is on pace to be warmest ever recorded.

Temperature ranks for June-November period at first-order climate sites in the Northeast U.S. Data accessed from: http://www.nrcc.cornell.edu/wxstation/perspectives/perspectives.html

Autumn was wetter than normal across most of the region. Massachusetts received 16.5 inches of rain, the most of any state in the Northeast. This is 3.5 inches above normal, making for the 12th wettest autumn on record.

Information accessed from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information and the Northeast Regional Climate Center. Period of record is 127 years since 1895.

New research on Arctic Rivers

In a pair of new papers, Michael Rawlins and colleagues describe new numerical model simulations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) loaded to rivers throughout the western Arctic and how flows of water and DOC are increasing in northwest Alaska. Read more in the UMass news release and the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences and Environmental Research Letters journal articles.

Raymond Bradley awarded $2.5 million grant to study climate and environmental history of Greenland’s northernmost region

CSRC Director Raymond Bradley will lead a team of researchers to Peary Land, Greenland’s northernmost region to document past changes in the climate and environment of the area. This project is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Read more here.

Ph.D. candidate Ruthie Halberstadt awarded an NSF Post Doctoral Research Fellowship

Ph.D. candidate Ruthie Halberstadt has been awarded a highly competitive NSF Post Doctoral Research Fellowship: “High-resolution Nested Antarctic Ice Sheet Modeling to Reconcile Marine and Terrestrial Geologic Data”. Her research project includes ongoing collaborations with professors Rob DeConto, her advisor, and Greg Balco at UC Berkeley.

New Modeling Study Points to Antarctic Ice Sheet Contributing to Rapid Sea Level Rise

In a new paper, published today in Nature, Rob DeConto and colleagues describe how warming in excess of 2 C would drastically accelerate the pace of sea-level rise by 2100. The team used a physics-based model of the ice sheet to test Paris Agreement target temperature thresholds. Read more in the UMass news release and the open access journal paper.

Research reveals more than a third of U.S. Corn Belt farmland has lost a carbon-rich topsoil

Research conducted by UMass Amherst Geosciences graduate student Evan Thaler, along with professors Isaac Larsen and Qian Yu, developed a method using satellite imagery to map areas in agricultural fields in the Corn Belt of the Midwestern U.S. that have no remaining A-horizon soil. Read the UMass news release and see the journal article for more information.