Student Projects

Gerry Rustic is currently working on his PhD dissertation on the El Nino-Southern Oscillation and tropical Pacific climate change in the last 2,000 years from ocean sediments in the Galapagos Islands.

Sarah Clark is currently working on her Master's thesis on multi-species foraminifera isotopes from the eastern tropical Pacific. She is investigating whether oxygen and carbon isotopes can be used to reconstruct thermocline depth and its variability through time.

Hassan Ali sampling conifers in Harriman State Park, New York. For his master's thesis Hassan developed tree-ring chronologies from white pines to investigate climatic and ecologic changes over the past 200 years.

Honors students cross-dating and measuring rings from oak cores collected on the campus of CSI.

Dan Spadaro deployed band dendrometers to study the growth patterns of trees in the western Catskill Mountains of New York. Pictured here next to a white oak, Dan actually spent most of his time studying eastern hemlocks.

Jim Oliveri analyzing tropical Atlantic hurricane data. For his master's thesis Jim carried out regression analysis of Atlantic hurricane activity indices (frequency, duration, maximum wind speed etc.) with climatic variables from 1942 to 2007, to establish the relative significance of sea surface temperature (SST) and atmospheric wind shear on tropical storm development. Results showed a strong dependence of overall tropical storm and major hurricane frequency on SST, with significant but secondary roles exerted by the Southern Oscillation and west African rainfall, through their association with wind shear. 30-year running correlations showed that these relationships have not been stationary but in fact changed markedly after the mid 1970s. In particular the correlation between hurricane frequency and ENSO strengthened after 1976, possibly associated with a large scale climate shift in the Pacific Ocean. Other factors may be acceleration of global warming and establishment of a strong warming trend in the major hurricane development region of the tropical North Atlantic.

Stephan Joanides weighing forams in the microbalance. Stephan's thesis investigated ENSO variability during the Last Glacial Maximum. Stephan completed 250 oxygen isotope analyses of individual G. ruber from core V21-30 in the eastern tropical Pacific. The results indicated an increase in ENSO variance in the LGM relative to the late Holocene. These data provide the first geologic evidence of ENSO activity during the LGM.

Macaulay Honors students doing fieldwork in Tallman Mountain State Park, New York.

George Olive presenting a poster of his research on El Nino variability at the 2006 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. George is also the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship!!!