Kevin Anchukaitis

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October 18, 2021 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Paleoclimate reconstructions of western North American snow droughts during the last millennium

Mountain snowpacks provide essential water supply for human populations and ecosystems in the western United States. Warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns will continue to alter both the quantity and persistence of snow over coming decades, yet snowpack observations are limited and forecasts contain considerable uncertainty. Likewise, the utility of snowpack projections may be greatly limited by significant internal climate variability. Here we compare a new spatial reconstruction of Snow Water Equivalent for the mountains of western North America covering the period 1400 to 1980 with downscaled SWE estimates from last millennium general circulation models. Both models and data reveal the spatial fingerprint of large-scale ocean-atmosphere variability on the space-time patterns of snowpack anomalies. We characterize internal and forced variability in both models and our paleoclimate reconstruction, and use this novel 600 yr record to evaluate the extent to which simulations are able to capture temporal, spatial, and spectral properties of snowpack variability and change in western North America.

Kevin Anchukaitis is Professor of Earth Systems Geography at the University of Arizona and a researcher at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.  He uses an array of techniques to develop and interpret evidence for past, present, and future climate dynamics across a range of temporal and spatial scales, from local to global and interannual to millennial. These include dendroclimatology, climate field reconstruction and spatiotemporal data analysis, stable isotope geochemistry, proxy system modeling, and the integration of paleoclimate data with climate model simulations.  His research program includes extensive fieldwork throughout Asia and the Americas.

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    Offshore oil and natural gas platforms are responsible for about 30% of global oil and natural gas production. Despite the large share of global production there is little known about the greenhouse gas emissions from these production facilities. Given the lack of direct measurements, studies that seek to understand the greenhouse gas contribution of offshore oil and gas platforms are incredibly important. The use of airborne remote sensing to map greenhouse gases from onshore oil and gas infrastructure has become a prominent method to quantify and attribute large individual emissions to their sources. However, until now, this method has not been used offshore due to the lack of consistent reflected radiance over water bodies.  In this talk I will present the results from a 2021 study where we used visible/infrared imaging spectrometer data collected over the Gulf of Mexico to map methane emissions from shallow water offshore oil and natural gas platforms. I will discuss the methods we employed to map methane in the offshore environment and how that differs from the onshore environment. I will show how remote sensing can efficiently observe offshore infrastructure, quantify methane emissions, and attribute those emissions to specific infrastructure types.

    Bio

    Dr Alana Ayasse is a research scientist at Carbon Mapper and the University of Arizona. She earned her BA in Geography and Environmental Studies from UCLA and her PhD in Geography from UCSB. Her research focuses on improving remote sensing techniques to map methane and carbon dioxide plumes, understanding the role of satellites in a global carbon monitoring system, and using remote sensing data to further understand trends in carbon emissions.

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