NSF Awards Florida Tech Professor $375,000 to Study Central American Climate Change

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Institute of Technology Professor of Biological Sciences Mark Bush has been awarded $375,199 from the National Science Foundation to study the evidence of past climate change using Central American lakes.

Bush will lead an international team of researchers as they investigate the last time Earth was warmer than it is today. The following key questions will be addressed during the study: Does a warmer world lead to less stable climates? To what extent will coming climate change force migrations of species?

Before the last ice age, between 115,000 and 129,000 years ago, there was an interglacial period with temperatures about two degrees C warmer than those of today. The study will examine fossil pollen to reconstruct vegetation, fossil charcoal to quantify past fire regimes, and fossil diatoms—a type of phytoplankton— to track lake level and water quality.

“Looking at previous warm periods allows us to gain insights from history that may directly apply to setting policy and strategy for both development and conservation,” said Bush. “Because changes in sea-surface temperature are so important in controlling climate, we wanted to find suitable records in that are strongly and directly influenced by the ocean.”

The data should be of interest to climate modelers as they prepare projections for Earth under a greenhouse climate and to agronomists and foresters as they plan food and timber production for the rest of the 21st century.

Show More
Back to top button