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Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:UNIVERSITY OF MAINE SYSTEM
Doing Business As Name:University of Maine
PD/PI:
  • Alice M Doughty
  • (207) 581-2152
  • Alice.Doughty@maine.edu
Award Date:07/29/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 38,568
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 38,568
  • FY 2021=$38,568
Start Date:01/01/2022
End Date:12/31/2023
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 R&RA ARP Act DEFC V
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: Evaluating Snowlines Across the Tropics - The geomorphic imprint of tropospheric cooling and drying during the Last Glacial Maximum
Federal Award ID Number:2102947
DUNS ID:186875787
Parent DUNS ID:071750426
Program:GLOBAL CHANGE
Program Officer:
  • Jonathan G Wynn
  • (703) 292-4725
  • jwynn@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:5717 Corbett Hall
City:ORONO
State:ME
ZIP:04469-5717
County:Orono
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Maine
Street:
City:
State:ME
ZIP:04469-5790
County:Orono
Country:US
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

This award is funded in whole or in part under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2). One of the great unsolved mysteries of Earth science is why the global climate oscillates between glacial periods, when multi-kilometer thick ice sheets spread across North America and northern Europe, and interglacial periods, when the Earth is much warmer and continental ice sheets are restricted to very high latitudes. Due to the integrated nature of the global climate system, unlocking this mystery requires knowledge of the chronologic order in which elements of the climate system change during transitions between glacial and interglacial periods and the magnitude of climate changes across latitudes. This project will leverage new and emerging remotely sensed datasets, including high-resolution satellite imagery and digital topography, to address the magnitude of climate changes in the tropical latitudes. Specifically, the researchers will use remotely sensed data to reconstruct former glacial extents throughout the tropics, where glaciers were restricted to the hard-to-reach highlands of high-elevation mountains. The research will produce a globally consistent dataset which will allow the testing of hypotheses about how much the Earth’s low latitudes cooled during the last glacial period, and how tropical changes play into major climate reorganizations. The project will rely heavily on a team of undergraduate researchers and will collaborate with the U.S. Ice Drilling Program to produce public educational material. The methodological approach is based on the realization that past changes in the global climate system can imprint on the topography of mountains. One of the clearest examples of this phenomenon is the transformation of mountain valleys by erosional patterns beneath glaciers. Glaciers only exist where temperatures are cold enough for year-round ice, so if glaciers leave telltale signs of their former extents in erosional and depositional landforms, then it is possible to calculate the position of the freezing line associated with these glaciers. By creating a global dataset of tropical glacial extents in carefully selected areas, the project will achieve three goals: 1) produce a global estimate of the lower bound of the tropical freezing line during the last glacial period 2) use numerical modeling of a “type example” tropical glacial system (Costa Rica) to evaluate the relationship between the annual freezing line and the elevation of glaciers in the tropics and 3) determine whether the lapse rate (change in temperature with elevation) was steeper during the last glacial period. Achieving these goals will advance the understanding of why the global climate has been subject to cyclic variations during Earth’s recent geologic history. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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