Baylor University Scientists Build Database for More Accurate and Efficient Soil-based Climate ReconstructionAug. 21, 2012
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Contact: Frank Raczkiewicz, (254) 710-1964
WACO, Texas (Aug. 21, 2012) - Baylor University scientists are developing a soils database that will help geologists and soil scientists to more quickly and accurately analyze data from fossilized soils to determine and reconstruct ancient climates.
"Research in ancient climates recorded in the geologic past provides us with our only means of testing climate models for the future, particularly the anticipated climate change that would be brought about by increased anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane," reported Steven Driese, Ph.D., professor and chair of the geology department at Baylor University's College of Arts & Sciences.
Geologists and soil scientists face a data overload problem due to numerous global and continental-based soil geochemical databases becoming more widely available, according to Driese.
"The overwhelming nature of available data makes ancient climate construction difficult and time consuming," he said. "Accurate and easily accessible data can help build more reliable models."
Driese reported on the new database, currently still in the development phase, at the recent meeting of the International Goldschmidt Conference on Geochemistry in Montreal.
Follow this link to watch a video of Dr. Driese's and Dr. Stinchcomb's research.
Called the Baylor University Paleosol Informatics Cloud (BU-PIC), it combines soil, climate, topography, and vegetation data from the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), the PRISM (Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model) Climate Group, the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) and peer reviewed journals.
The database is fully searchable and can be queried using various whole-soil and geochemical parameters to predict specific ancient climate conditions.
Post-doctoral student Gary Stinchcomb, Ph.D., working with Driese and Lee Nordt, Ph.D., professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will present further improvements and a test of the database at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Charlotte, N.C. in November 2012.
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