Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Tephra layers and early warning signals for critical transitions (Award# 1249313)

PI: Dugmore, Andrew (Andrew.Dugmore@ed.ac.uk)
Phone: 44GB(0131) 650.8156 
Institute/Department: U of Edinburgh, Geography 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (akerttul@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):
Data: http://www.nabohome.org
NSF_Award_Info: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=12...
Data: http://www.tdar.org/

Science Summary:
This project aims to develop early warning signals for threshold-crossing events within human-occupied landscape systems. The focus is on the tipping point between surface stability and erosion and the alternative stable states of vegetated soil cover and no soil. Threshold-crossing events are common features of complex dynamic systems ranging from financial markets and medical conditions to climate and ecological systems. It is very difficult to predict threshold-crossing before it happens, but there is good evidence that early warning signals do exist. ‘Critical slowing down’ has been identified as a key underlying phenomena that develops with proximity to a threshold change or bifurcation point. Critical slowing down describes the increased time taken to return to equilibrium following disturbance and as a result there are marked increases in auto-correlation and variance. A ‘flickering’ may also occur as a system switches between two stable states. This project considers the stability of the soils that underpin ecosystems and provide an integrated record of past land use. The aim is to use form of volcanic ash (tephra) layers to determine the surface stability of landscapes and their proximity (or otherwise) to threshold-crossing events in the time between the deposition of the tephra and its incorporation within the stratigraphic record.

Logistics Summary:
This proposal builds directly on a RAPID grant (1042951, PI Dugmore) that assessed the most promising approaches to the study of postdepositional transformations of the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 tephra in Iceland. The project considers the stability of the soils that underpin ecosystems and provide an integrated record of past land use. This project will measure the thickness variation of volcanic ash (tephra) layers to determine the stability of landscapes and their proximity (or otherwise) to threshold-crossing events in the time between the deposition of the tephra and its incorporation within the stratigraphic record. Fieldwork will be undertaken in Iceland focused on recent (2010, 2011) tephra deposits, and those incorporated in the stratigraphy of both historical and pre-settlement times. In 2014 a field team of 5 will travel to Iceland joining a field team including archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology, Iceland. The team will be mapping, excavating soil sections, recording soil stratigraphy, identifying tephra layers and undertaking photographic analysis.

All logistics will be organized by the researcher and paid through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2014Iceland - Eyjafjallajökull06 / 16 / 2014 07 / 17 / 20145
 


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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1249313", IPY = "ALL" 
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