A few days ago, I gave a lecture to undergraduate students in geology at Chulalongkorn University. I chose the title ‘Lakes and wetlands tell an important story’ since the focus of our Asian monsoon project is on lakes and wetlands in Thailand, and on using sediments to reconstruct past climatic and environmental changes.
I was surprised to see so many students attending the lecture, and was even more surprised by all the clever questions I got after the lecture.
Having worked pretty much with our latest Lake Kumphawapi manuscript (thanks to my sabbatical, which finally gives me time to read and write!), I was able to show the most recent results and interpretations we now have regarding the lake’s development and its response to moisture availability.
Last week we were also notified that the manuscript on Lake Pa Kho’s 2000 year long history is finally accepted and online in Quaternary Science Reviews. Pa Kho’s record provides us with the very first, detailed reconstruction of moisture availability and as such summer monsoon intensity changes, and shows several distinct shifts between drier and wetter conditions.
Below is the abstract of the lecture at Chulalongkorn University
Lakes and wetlands are important geological archives because they preserve a detailed sedimentary record of past climatic and environmental changes. By analyzing different biological, physical and chemical proxies in these sediments it is possible to reconstruct how the lake/wetland and its catchment evolved and changed over time. These changes may be linked to shifts in climate, to human activities, or to a combination of both. As such lake and wetland sedimentary records can inform us about natural climate variability, about the way lakes/wetlands responded to dramatic changes in temperature and/or moisture availability in the past and also reflect how humans modified and impacted these ecosystems.
Few natural lakes/wetlands with intact sediments remain in Thailand since many have been altered to provide fishing and agricultural resources. Within the frame of a joint research project between Stockholm and Chulalongkorn University we have investigated a number of lake/wetland sedimentary records in different parts of Thailand during the past seven years. These records show in detail how lakes/wetlands responded to changes in the strength of the Asian summer monsoon and inform us about the climatic and environmental history of the past 50,000 years.