News & Events

Cultural implications of out-of-phase weather across northern Alaska after 500 CE

Monday, October 19, 2015, 12:00PM - 1:00PM

Speaker

Owen Mason

INSTAAR Affiliate

Full title

Cultural implications of out-of-phase weather across northern Alaska after 500 CE: Regional variability during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and Little Ice Age

Abstract

From a global perspective, a diverse mélange of paleoclimate data reveal that northwest Alaska is partially out of phase with northwest Europe, witnessing cooler periods during the Medieval Climate Anomaly ca. CE 1000 and warmer conditions in the 16th and 17th centuries. The search for climate forces in northern Alaska relies on integration of data drawn from tree rings, lacustrine varves and moraines, diatoms, beach ridges and dunes. This seminar will discuss a 1500-year reconstruction of settlement, landscape evolution and climatic variability employing more than 100 14C age determinations from a variety of sources at Cape Espenberg, located at northern Seward Peninsula. Chronologies from various floating materials in and around the Chukchi Sea covering intervals from 700 to 1700, suggest the identification of cooler intervals from 800 to 1000 and intermittently after 1300. The occupation history of Cape Espenberg, which may be inversely related to cooler temperatures, will be discussed along with the various pieces of evidence.