Gulf of Mexico Climate and Environmental History
This project documents paleoceanographic, climatic, and environmental changes in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and adjacent land areas. The information is used to determine cycles of natural climate variability and environmental change primarily over the last 10,000 years.
Information on natural climatic variability is needed to establish possible causes of climate variation on human timescales and help discriminate between natural variability and any human-related changes. Better understanding of the frequency and magnitude of natural climate variability during the Holocene will lead to better forecasts of future change and its societal impact.
Detailed Climate History Time Series
Highly-resolved records of past climate variability are increasingly important in light of the current need to differentiate between natural and anthropogenic climate change. Studies concentrate on the last few thousand years. Analysis of sediment cores are at sub-millennial to decadal resolution.
The development of oxygen depleted bottom waters off the continental shelf of Louisiana and Texas has been identified as a human-related environmental problem but little work has been done to determine if the occurrence of hypoxia is related to natural processes and cycles.
Modern Calibration Study
Microfossils recovered in a sediment trap in the northern Gulf of Mexico are used to better assess the control of temperature and salinity on the composition of microfossil assemblages and the chemical composition of their shells. The new information will be used to develop better estimates of past conditions from analyses of microfossils in sediment cores.
Seasonal flux and assemblage composition of planktic foraminifera from the northern Gulf of Mexico, 2008–2009 - USGS Open-File Report 2011–1002
Gulf of Mexico Climate-History Calibration Study - USGS Fact Sheet 2010-3044
Regionally coherent Little Ice Age cooling in the Atlantic Warm Pool - Geophysical Research Letters
Seasonal Flux and Assemblage Composition of Planktic Foraminifera from the Northern Gulf of Mexico - USGS Open File Report 2009-1293