Shuman Bryan N.

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Bryan N.

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  • Preprint
    Repeated century-scale droughts over the past 13,000 yr near the Hudson River watershed, USA
    ( 2010-02) Newby, Paige E. ; Shuman, Bryan N. ; Donnelly, Jeffrey P. ; MacDonald, Dana
    Sediment and ground-penetrating radar data from Davis Pond near the Hudson River valley reveal past droughts in a historically humid region that presently supplies water to millions of people in and around New York City. A minimum of eleven sandy paleoshoreline deposits in the lake date from 13.4-0.6 cal ka BP. The deposits span 1500 to 200 years between bracketing radiocarbon dates, and intrude into lacustrine silts up to 9.0 m below the modern lake surface in a transect of six cores. Three lowstands, ca. 13.4-10.9, 9.2 and 8.2 cal ka BP indicate low regional moisture balance when low temperatures affected the North Atlantic region. Consistent with insolation trends, water levels rose from ca. 8.0 cal ka BP to present, but five low stands interrupted the rise and are likely associated with ocean-atmosphere interactions. Similar to evidence from other studies, the data from Davis Pond indicate repeated multi-century periods of prolonged or frequent droughts super-imposed on long-term regional trends toward high water levels. The patterns indicate that water supplies in this heavily populated region have continuously varied at multiple time scales, and confirm that humid regions such as the northeastern USA are more prone to severe drought than historically expected.
  • Article
    Climate forcing of unprecedented intense-hurricane activity in the last 2000 years
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-02-23) Donnelly, Jeffrey P. ; Hawkes, Andrea D. ; Lane, D. Philip ; MacDonald, Dana ; Shuman, Bryan N. ; Toomey, Michael R. ; van Hengstum, Peter J. ; Woodruff, Jonathan D.
    How climate controls hurricane variability has critical implications for society is not well understood. In part, our understanding is hampered by the short and incomplete observational hurricane record. Here we present a synthesis of intense-hurricane activity from the western North Atlantic over the past two millennia, which is supported by a new, exceptionally well-resolved record from Salt Pond, Massachusetts (USA). At Salt Pond, three coarse grained event beds deposited in the historical interval are consistent with severe hurricanes in 1991 (Bob), 1675, and 1635 C.E., and provide modern analogs for 32 other prehistoric event beds. Two intervals of heightened frequency of event bed deposition between 1400 and 1675 C.E. (10 events) and 150 and 1150 C.E. (23 events), represent the local expression of coherent regional patterns in intense-hurricane–induced event beds. Our synthesis indicates that much of the western North Atlantic appears to have been active between 250 and 1150 C.E., with high levels of activity persisting in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico until 1400 C.E. This interval was one with relatively warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the main development region (MDR). A shift in activity to the North American east coast occurred ca. 1400 C.E., with more frequent severe hurricane strikes recorded from The Bahamas to New England between 1400 and 1675 C.E. A warm SST anomaly along the western North Atlantic, rather than within the MDR, likely contributed to the later active interval being restricted to the east coast.
  • Preprint
    Abrupt climate change as an important agent of ecological change in the Northeast U.S. throughout the past 15,000 years
    ( 2009-03-30) Shuman, Bryan N. ; Newby, Paige E. ; Donnelly, Jeffrey P.
    We use a series of tests to evaluate two competing hypotheses about the association of climate and vegetation trends in the northeastern United States over the past 15 kyrs. First, that abrupt climate changes on the scale of centuries had little influence on long-term vegetation trends, and second, that abrupt climate changes interacted with slower climate trends to determine the regional sequence of vegetation phases. Our results support the second. Large dissimilarity between temporally-close fossil pollen samples indicates large vegetation changes within 500 years across >4° of latitude at ca. 13.25-12.75, 12.0-11.5, 10.5, 8.25, and 5.25 ka. The evidence of vegetation change coincides with independent isotopic and sedimentary indicators of rapid shifts in temperature and moisture balance. In several cases, abrupt changes reversed long-term vegetation trends, such as when spruce (Picea) and pine (Pinus) pollen percentages rapidly declined to the north and increased to the south at ca. 13.25-12.75 and 8.25 ka respectively. Abrupt events accelerated other long‐term trends, such as a regional increase in beech (Fagus) pollen percentages at 8.5-8.0 ka. The regional hemlock (Tsuga) decline at ca. 5.25 ka is unique among the abrupt events, and may have been induced by high climatic variability (i.e., repeated severe droughts from 5.7-2.0 ka); autoregressive ecological and evolutionary processes could have maintained low hemlock abundance until ca. 2.0 ka. Delayed increases in chestnut (Castanea) pollen abundance after 5.8 and 2.5 ka also illustrate the potential for multi-century climate variability to influence species’ recruitment as well as mortality. Future climate changes will probably also rapidly initiate persistent vegetation change, particularly by acting as broad, regional-scale disturbances.
  • Article
    Centennial-to-millennial hydrologic trends and variability along the North Atlantic Coast, USA, during the Holocene
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-06-25) Newby, Paige E. ; Shuman, Bryan N. ; Donnelly, Jeffrey P. ; Karnauskas, Kristopher B. ; Marsicek, Jeremiah
    Geophysical and sedimentary records from five lakes in Massachusetts reveal regionally coherent hydrologic variability during the Holocene. All of the lakes have risen since ~9.0 ka, but multicentury droughts after 5.6 ka repeatedly lowered their water levels. Quantified water level histories from the three best-studied lakes share >70% of their reconstructed variance. Four prominent low-water phases at 4.9–4.6, 4.2–3.9, 2.9–2.1, and 1.3–1.2 ka were synchronous across coastal lakes, even after accounting for age uncertainties. The droughts also affected sites up to ~200 km inland, but water level changes at 5.6–4.9 ka appear out of phase between inland and coastal lakes. During the enhanced multicentury variability after ~5.6 ka, droughts coincided with cooling in Greenland and may indicate circulation changes across the North Atlantic region. Overall, the records demonstrate that current water levels are exceptionally high and confirm the sensitivity of water resources in the northeast U.S. to climate change.