Paleoclimate Research

The Paleoclimate Climate group in the Department of Geoscience studies the forcings and responses of Earth’s past climate history.  Members of this group study time periods from the Holocene and recent climate change to the Phanerozoic.  We use a variety of field, geochemical, statistical, and modeling approaches.  For more information, please refer to individual faculty pages.

Brad Singer GEOCHRONOLOGY, GEOMAGNETISM, VOLCANISM:   Research interests focus on understanding basic processes that shaped the surficial parts of the Pleistocene and older Earth and the history of the geomagnetic field. 40Ar/39Ar and cosmogenic surface exposure dating methods are used together with geologic field and geochemical data to resolve temporal records of volcanism, glaciation, sedimentation, and reversals of the geodynamo.  Research website: here, lab: Rare Gas Geochronology Laboratory.

Clay Kelly MICROPALEONTOLOGY, PALEOBIOLOGY, AND PALEOCEANOGRAPHY:   Research focuses on relating patterns of biotic evolution to ocean/climate change, and the dynamic interplay between the biosphere and global biogeochemical cycles. Research “tool box” includes stable isotopes, morphometrics, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffractometry, and active participation in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. Field areas range from continental deposits in western North Dakota to deep-sea cores from the Weddell Sea off the Antarctic coast.  Phone: (608) 262-1698; email:

Shaun Marcott PALEOCLIMATOLOGY, GEOCHRONOLOGY, GLACIAL GEOLOGY:   Research focused on a broad range of geological and climatological questions largely related to late Quaternary climate change and dating of glacial landscapes.  Understanding the interplay between climate, oceans, and glaciers is a major theme of the research group with an eye toward placing modern climate-glacier interactions into a prehistorical context for understanding future changes. Research devotes considerable time in the outdoors and laboratory. Phone: (608) 262-2368; email:, Research website: here.

Stephen Meyers PALEOCLIMATOLOGY, SEDIMENT GEOCHEMISTRY, STATISTICAL ANALYSIS IN GEOSCIENCE & STRATIGRAPHY:   Research addresses three primary topics: the mechanisms of climate change, the controls on the global carbon cycle, and the measurement of geologic time. These subjects are fundamentally interrelated, as there are linkages between climate and the carbon cycle, and the establishment of reliable chronologies is essential for determining rates of climatic and biogeochemical change in Earth’s past. Research approach integrates geochemical, sedimentologic and stratigraphic data with novel modeling and statistical techniques, to unravel the history of the climate system, oceans and geosphere.  Phone: (608) 262-8960; email:, Research website: here.

Shanan Peters SEDIMENTARY GEOLOGY AND PALEOBIOLOGY:   Research focuses on macrostratigraphy and the large-scale quantitative analysis of sedimentary successions and their relationships to the evolution of life and climate. Field studies address the sedimentary records of key intervals, including the Eocene-Oligocene climate transition and the Cambrian-Ordovician biological radiation.  Phone: (608) 262-5987; email:, Research website: here.