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$5.5 million awarded to tree-ring research and climate studies

Columbia University, New York, New York--The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the Tree-Ring Laboratory of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, a $5.5 million grant to study one of the largest climate systems affecting the globe--the Asian monsoon climate system.

This five-year study will apply the science of tree-ring analysis (dendrochronology) and its application to the study of past climate to key questions regarding the processes that drive the development of the monsoon and its various characteristics through different regions.

"This is the single largest award for tree-ring research from the NSF and represents an aggressive investment in tree-ring research. The aim is to create opportunities that enhance creativity and provide for leaps in understanding of the monsoon," says David Verardo, Director of the NSF's Paleoclimate Program, which funded the project. "The science questions being asked are important, the region being studied is vital to understanding fundamental climate processes at the planetary scale, and the research team is top notch," adds Verardo.

The Asian monsoon is one of the most important modes of natural climate variability on Earth, with differing regional impacts over areas extending from Africa to Australasia, northward into central Asia, and to the Pacific Ocean. Dozens of countries and nearly half the global population are affected by the climate variability it brings. Due to its considerable importance to global climate and implications for the world's population, there is an urgent need for greater understanding of this system, with the ultimate goal being improved prediction on annual to decadal and longer time scales.

"The application of tree-ring analysis to climate studies is essential. Tree-ring records provide absolutely-dated, quantitative estimates of past climate on a year-by-year time scale. This allows us to reconstruct more complete records of variations and int
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Contact: Mary Tobin
mtobin@ldeo.columbia.edu
845-365-8607
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
1-Jun-2004


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