What rain and mud can tell us about climate change

Konecky studies how a changing climate affects rainfall and ecosystems in tropical regions. She is pictured with her graduate student Nadia Sae-Lim collecting lake water samples from the tropical Andes. (Photo: Preston Sowell)

Washington University in St. Louis researcher Bronwen Konecky is piecing together a story about Earth’s climatic history — and what it can tell us about our planet’s future.

Konecky, an assistant professor in Earth & planetary sciences, conducts fieldwork in tropical areas from Peru to Uganda to Southeast Asia collecting and analyzing rainwater samples and lake sediment cores. She is looking for precipitation patterns spanning millennia in order to get a clearer picture of long-term climate change.

Her research also has impact for local farmers: Rainfall prediction is extremely important in tropical regions where agricultural production is vital to communities. She collaborates with anthropologists and archaeologists in the regions she works because they are considering in the long-term how humans manage to thrive despite the harsh environmental conditions.

In this Hold That Thought podcast,  Konecky describes her experiences in the field doing climate science research.

Listen here.