Publications by authors named "Heather L Ford"

5 Publications

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Past climates inform our future.

Science 2020 11;370(6517)

Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA.

As the world warms, there is a profound need to improve projections of climate change. Although the latest Earth system models offer an unprecedented number of features, fundamental uncertainties continue to cloud our view of the future. Past climates provide the only opportunity to observe how the Earth system responds to high carbon dioxide, underlining a fundamental role for paleoclimatology in constraining future climate change. Here, we review the relevancy of paleoclimate information for climate prediction and discuss the prospects for emerging methodologies to further insights gained from past climates. Advances in proxy methods and interpretations pave the way for the use of past climates for model evaluation-a practice that we argue should be widely adopted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aay3701DOI Listing
November 2020

Gender inequity in speaking opportunities at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Nat Commun 2018 04 24;9(1):1358. Epub 2018 Apr 24.

Department of Earth & Climate Sciences, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, 94132, California, USA.

Implicit and explicit biases impede the participation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) fields. Across career stages, attending conferences and presenting research are ways to spread scientific results, find job opportunities, and gain awards. Here, we present an analysis by gender of the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting speaking opportunities from 2014 to 2016. We find that women were invited and assigned oral presentations less often than men. However, when we control for career stage, we see similar rates between women and men and women sometimes outperform men. At the same time, women elect for poster presentations more than men. Male primary conveners allocate invited abstracts and oral presentations to women less often and below the proportion of women authors. These results highlight the need to provide equal opportunity to women in speaking roles at scientific conferences as part of the overall effort to advance women in STEM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-03809-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5915405PMC
April 2018

Reduced El Niño-Southern Oscillation during the Last Glacial Maximum.

Science 2015 Jan;347(6219):255-8

Biology and Paleo Environment, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major source of global interannual variability, but its response to climate change is uncertain. Paleoclimate records from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) provide insight into ENSO behavior when global boundary conditions (ice sheet extent, atmospheric partial pressure of CO2) were different from those today. In this work, we reconstruct LGM temperature variability at equatorial Pacific sites using measurements of individual planktonic foraminifera shells. A deep equatorial thermocline altered the dynamics in the eastern equatorial cold tongue, resulting in reduced ENSO variability during the LGM compared to the Late Holocene. These results suggest that ENSO was not tied directly to the east-west temperature gradient, as previously suggested. Rather, the thermocline of the eastern equatorial Pacific played a decisive role in the ENSO response to LGM climate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1258437DOI Listing
January 2015

Late Miocene decoupling of oceanic warmth and atmospheric carbon dioxide forcing.

Nature 2012 Jun 6;486(7401):97-100. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

Ocean Sciences Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA.

Deep-time palaeoclimate studies are vitally important for developing a complete understanding of climate responses to changes in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (that is, the atmospheric partial pressure of CO(2), p(co(2))). Although past studies have explored these responses during portions of the Cenozoic era (the most recent 65.5 million years (Myr) of Earth history), comparatively little is known about the climate of the late Miocene (∼12-5 Myr ago), an interval with p(co(2)) values of only 200-350 parts per million by volume but nearly ice-free conditions in the Northern Hemisphere and warmer-than-modern temperatures on the continents. Here we present quantitative geochemical sea surface temperature estimates from the Miocene mid-latitude North Pacific Ocean, and show that oceanic warmth persisted throughout the interval of low p(co(2)) ∼12-5 Myr ago. We also present new stable isotope measurements from the western equatorial Pacific that, in conjunction with previously published data, reveal a long-term trend of thermocline shoaling in the equatorial Pacific since ∼13 Myr ago. We propose that a relatively deep global thermocline, reductions in low-latitude gradients in sea surface temperature, and cloud and water vapour feedbacks may help to explain the warmth of the late Miocene. Additional shoaling of the thermocline after 5 Myr ago probably explains the stronger coupling between p(co(2)), sea surface temperatures and climate that is characteristic of the more recent Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11200DOI Listing
June 2012