Professor Thompson Webb III

Professor Tom Webb

Degrees: PhD in Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1971
MA (ad eundum), Brown University, 1976
BA in Botany, Swarthmore College, 1966

Interests:  Tom has directed the Pollen Lab and Quaternary Paleoenvironments group at Brown since 1972. He is a paleoecologist and paleoclimatologist who studies both vegetation and climate dynamics. His research has focused on the mapping, modeling, and interpretation of vegetation and climate changes that have occurred since the last glacial maximum, 21,000 years ago. Tom is interested in how the vegetation has responded to the large changes in climateincluding global warmingas the ice retreated, as the concentrations of carbon dioxide increased, and as seasonal insolation varied. As a member of  the TEMPO (Testing Earth System Models with Paleoenvironmental Observations) research group, he works closely with global change researchers at the Environmental Change Research Group at the University of Oregon, the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Colorado, the USGS-Denver, and the Paleoclimatology and Global Ecology Research Groups at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. Students studying with Tom have opportunities to visit and study at these other institutions. Tom supervises graduate and undergraduate students doing research in palynology, paleohydrology, paleoecology, climate reconstruction, vegetation modeling, climate modeling, and salt march dynamics. He has developed data sets and methods for using pollen and lake-level data to check the past climates simulated by climate models and to map vegetation changes. He is also directing a project to reconstruct the history of intense hurricanes that have made landfall along the East coast of the US. He has published over 100 articles and been co-editor of two books and two special issues of journals (see Publications).


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