Since 2004, University at Buffalo anthropologist Ezra Zubrow has worked intensively with teams of scientists in the Arctic regions of St. James Bay, Quebec, northern Finland and Kamchatka to understand how humans living 4,000 to 6,000 years ago reacted to climate changes.
"The circumpolar north is widely seen as an observatory for changing relations between human societies and their environment," Zubrow explains, "and analysis of data gathered from all phases of the study eventually will enable more effective collaboration between today's social, natural and medical sciences as they begin to devise adequate responses to the global warming the world faces today."
A slide show describing the work of Zubrow and colleagues can be viewed at http://bit.ly/d1dqVD.
This study, which will collect a vast array of archaeological and paleoenvironmental data, began with the Social Change and the Environment in Nordic Prehistory Project (SCENOP), a major international research study by scientists from the U.S., Canada and Europe of prehistoric sites in Northern Quebec and Finland.
Phases I and II of the study were headed by André Costopoulos and Gail Chmura of McGill University (Montreal), Jari Okkonen of Finland's Oulu University, and Zubrow, who directs UB's Social Systems Geographic Information Systems Lab.
Phase III, underway now, is the International Circumpolar Archaeological Project (ICAP) funded by $845,796 from the National Science Foundation's Arctic Social Sciences Program of the Office of Polar Programs, which is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Headed by Zubrow, it focuses on a third sub-arctic region: Siberia's remote Kamchatka peninsula, a rough and extremely volcanic wilderness region the size of California.
"With forecasts of sea-level rises and changing weather patterns, people today have been forewarned about some likely ramifications of climate change," Zubrow says, "but those living thousands of years ago, during the Holocene climatic optimum, could not have known what lay ahead of them and how their land -- and lives -- would be changing.
"This was a slower change," he says, "about one-third the rate we face today. In the Holocene period, it took a thousand years for the earth to warm as much as it has over the past 300 years -- roughly the time spanned since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
"As in other phases of the study," Zubrow says, "our goal in Kamchatka is to clarify ancient regional chronologies and understand the ways prehistoric humans adapted to significant environmental changes, including warming, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and the seismic uplift of marine terraces that impacted the environment during the period in question."
He points out that, despite our more sophisticated prediction technology, and technologies overall, many of the world's people have residences and lifestyles that are just as vulnerable to climatic shift as those of our prehistoric ancestors. They, too, live along estuaries and coastlines subject to marked alteration as oceans rise.
Most of the ARRA stimulus money used in the project is spent in the United States on salaries and research at various universities. Zubrow reiterates a point he often makes with his students: "This research funding is good for science, good for the economy, good for the government and good for the international reputation of the United States."
Ultimately, information gathered over the next year by the geologists, archaeologists, geochemists, volcanologists and paleoecologists on Zubrow's team will be compared with data from the two other ICAP sites.
During an additional study phase funded by a $300,000 grant from NSF, through the ARRA, Zubrow will conduct archaeological research in Mexico to ascertain how arctic climatic changes during the mid- and post-Holocene era affected human populations in a changing temperate climate.
In addition to his position at UB, Zubrow holds academic positions at the University of Toronto and Cambridge University (UK). He is also senior research scientist at the National Center for Geographic Information Analysis Laboratory, which he helped found. His work reflects a diverse set of academic interests -- arctic archaeology and anthropology, climate change, human ecology and demography -- and a deep interest in such social issues as heritage, disability and literacy.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
Patricia Donovan | EurekAlert!
New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences
20.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences