Energy Research at the University of Washington

Julian P. Sachs

Energy Research Area: Constructing climate variations for the pre-the pre-industrial period from sediments in oceans and tropical island lakes, lagoons and bogs.

Professor
College of the Environment
School of Oceanography

We study the mechanisms that cause climate to change on time-scales from decades to tens-of-thousands of years and how those changes are propagated through the ocean-atmosphere-ice system. To accomplish this they develop paleoclimate records from sediment cores from throughout the world's oceans and lakes. Molecular fossils and their hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen isotopic ratios provide estimates of past temperature, precipitation and biological productivity. Those observations are then used to test mechanisms of climate change with computer simulations. Reconstructing natural climate changes in the past provides the means to determine when the modern climate is outside the range of natural variability and will improve predictions of how it will change in the future.

Collecting sediment cores on Washington Island, Republic of Kiribati, July 2005.  Local helpers abound!  (Prof. Julian Sachs carrying a core)
Collecting sediment cores on Washington Island, Republic of Kiribati, July 2005. Local helpers abound! (Prof. Julian Sachs carrying a core)

Research Images

Coring the sediments of a mangrove swamp for a rainfall reconstruction of the last 2,000 years on Kosrae Island, Federated States of Micronesia.  August 2009  (From L to R: UW graduate student Dan Nelson and Prof. Julian Sachs). Collecting sediment samples from the Chesapeake Bay for historical rainfall reconstructions, May 2006.  (From L to R:  UW postdoc Dr. Valerie Schwab, Prof. Julian Sachs, and UW postdoc Dr. Rienk)

Campus and Other Collaborators/Partners

Record last updated on September 18th 2013 PST.