6. Correlations of sea level rise and climate change over the last 2000 years.  Sea level rise studies are based on paleoenvironmental analyses of dated salt marsh peat sequences (in collaboration with Ellen Thomas). We study a series of marshes along the coast of Long Island Sound in Connecticut, the Dennis Creek marshes in Delaware Bay (NJ) and the Brancaster marshes in East Anglia, UK.
Wesleyan thesis students: Koren Nydick'93, Alison Bidwell'94, Jany Jacobs'95, Naira Manoukian '95 (MA), Bill Thompson '99(MA).
other students: Heather Swartz (Amherst College), Ellen Tobey (Dalhousie University), and Stephany Kuhn (Whittier College), Polina Rabinovich (Wesleyan University).

Relative sea level rise curves from Long Island Sound

Publications:
ES-2. Thomas, E. and Varekamp, J.C., 1991: Paleo-Environmental analyses of marsh sequences (Clinton, CT): Evidence for punctuated sealevel rise during the latest Holocene. Journal of Coastal Research, special issue, v.11, 125-158.
ES-4. Varekamp, J.C., Thomas, E. and van de Plassche, O., 1992: Relative sea level rise and climate change over the last 1500 years. Terra Nova  4, Spec. Issue Global Change (ed. Wezel), 293-304.
ES-5. Nydick*, K.R., Bidwell*, A., Thomas, E. and Varekamp, J.C., 1995: A sea-level rise curve from Guilford, CT,  Marine Geology 124, 137-159.
ES-6. Varekamp, J.C.  and Thomas, E., 1998, Climate change and the rise and fall of sea level over the millenium. EOS 79, p. 69-75.
ES-7. Varekamp, J.C., Thomas,E. and Thompson, WG., 1999: Climate change and sea level rise over the last 1400 years-a comment. Geology 27,189-190.
ES-8. Thompson, W.G., Thomas, E. and Varekamp, J.C., 2000: 1500 years of sea level rise in Long Island Sound. LIS research conference volume (in press).
NOAA Global Change website contains a summary article of our results

ES-9. Thomas, E., Gapotchenko*, T., Varekamp, J.C., Buchholtz ten Brink, M.F., and Mecray, E., 2000, Foraminifera in Long Island Sound surface sediments in 1999: evidence for recent environmental change,  J. Coastal Research. Spec. issue, vol. 16,  641-655.

ES-10. Varekamp, J.C. 2006, The historic fur trade and climate change. Eos, 87, # 52, 26 December 2006.

ES-11. Varekamp, J. C., Thomas, E. and Lewis, R., submitted, The early history of Long Island Sound. Geology (in review)

We found evidence for earthquakesin South Connecticut from our detailed marsh stratigraphy studies near Branford, CT. (see Hartford Courant article: on "shaky ground" July 29, 1999, front page). Apparently, offsets of 20-30 cm occurred every 200-300 years, which may have caused earthquakes with magnitudes on the order of M4-M5.
 

LISPEP - Long Island Sound Paleo Environments Program
We have begun a program on the paleoenvironmental history of Long Island Sound which involves faunal, chemical and isotopic studies of LIS sediment cores. We address questions of pollution and changes in water temperature, turbidity and salinity over the last 100-300 years. We address the 'big question': did anoxia / hypoxia occur in LIS prior to industrialization and population increase? We are reconstructing in great detail the environmental history of the 1900's, the last 4 centuries and ultimately, we hope to reconstruct the environmental history of LIS over the last 15,000 years.

Students currently working on the project or starting this summer are Taras Gapotchenko (MA), Polina Rabinovitch, Irina Abramson, Ryan Huggins, and Janna Shackeroff.

Evidence for increasing level of hypoxia from 1961 (black dots) to 1996 (open circles). The d13C* values are the observed d13C values in foraminifera tests minus the predicted values based on the mixing characteristics of LIS and the observed d18O in the same foram test.
 

ES-9. Thomas, E., T. Gapotchenko, J. C. Varekamp, E. L. Mecray and M. R. Buchholtz ten Brink, 2000, Distribution of Benthic Foraminifera in Long Island Sound in the 1990s J. Coastal Research (in press)
 

Sampling grid in LIS; diamonds: grab samples; squares: cores