Project traces climate history

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Scientists are using Lake Ohau to reconstruct the climate of the past 17,000 years, which will be one of the most detailed, long-term terrestrial records of the South Island’s climate to date.

The Oamaru Mail spoke to GNS Science Quaternary Paleoclimate scientist Marcus Vandergoes about the project and what the research team hopes to uncover.

Collecting short (6m) sediment cores from the bottom of the lake, they hope to build an annual record of climate in the central South Island extending back 1500 years, with the ultimate goal being to recover a 100m core from beneath the lake bed to reconstruct climate for the past 17,000 years.

Dr Vandergoes said Lake Ohau became a prime target due to its ideal location to capture the way South Island rainfall responds to changes in the Southern Hemisphere’s westerly wind circulation.

 

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