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Lesleigh Anderson

Research Geologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

Lesleigh Anderson is a Research Geologist based in Denver, Colorado with the Geoscience and Environmental Change Science Center.  She received her BS degree in chemistry from the University of Utah, and her MS and PhD in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Her research activities focus on investigating paleoclimate in arctic and alpine regions using geochemical and sedimentary climate-proxies in lake sediments.  Lesleigh's current research is on past climate variability and patterns of western North America with an emphasis on water.  She develops records with decade-to-century resolution that extend from the present to ~10,000 years ago that provide a context for recent hydroclimatic trends and extremes and provide a better understanding of the mechanisms that cause climate change.

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Anderson, L., Berkelhammer, M., Barron, J.A., Steinman, B.A., Finney, B.P., Abbott, M.B. 2016. Lake oxygen isotopes as recorders of North American Rocky hydroclimate: Holocene patterns and variability at multi-decadal to millennial time scales. Global and Planetary Change 137, 131-148. [Link]

Anderson, L., Berkelhammer, M.B., Mast, M.A. (2016). Isotopes in North American Rocky Mountain Snowpack 1993-2014. Quaternary Science Reviews 131, 262-273. [Link]

Jones, M.D., Dee, S., Anderson, L., Baker, A., Bowen, G., Noone, D.C. (2016) Water isotope systematics: Improving our palaeoclimate interpretations. Quaternary Science Reviews 131, 243-249. [Link]

Anderson, L., Brunelle, A.B., Thompson, R.S. (2015). A multi-proxy record of hydroclimate, vegetation, fire, and post-settlement impacts for a subalpine plateau, Central Rocky Mountains U.S.A. The Holocene 25, 932-943 [Link]

Steinman, B.A., Abbott, M.B., Mann, M.E., Ortiz, J.D., Pompeanii, D.P., Stansell, N.D., Anderson, L., Finney, B.P., Bird, B.W. (2014) Ocean-atmosphere forcing of centennial hydroclimate variability in the Pacific Northwest. Geophysical Research Letters 41 (7) 2553-2560. [Link]

Anderson, L., Birks, S.J., Rover, J., Guldager, N. (2013) Controls on recent Alaskan Lake changes identified from water isotopes. Geophysical Research Letters 40, 3413-3418, doi:10.1002/grl.50672. [Link]

Anderson, L., 2012. Rocky Mountain Hydroclimate: Holocene variability and the role of insolation, ENSO, and the North American Monsoon. Global and Planetary Change 92-93: 198-208. [Link]

Minsley, B.J., J.D. Abraham, B.D. Smith, J.C. Cannia, C.I. Voss, M.T. Jorgenson, M.A. Walvoord, B.K. Wylie, L. Anderson, L.B. Ball, M. Deszcz-Pan, T.P. Wellman, and T.A. Ager., 2012. Airborne electromagnetic imaging of discontinuous permafrost, Geophysical Research Letters 39, L02503, doi:10.1029/2011GL050079. [Link]

Anderson, L., 2011, Holocene record of precipitation seasonality from lake calcite 18O in the central Rocky Mountains, United States: Geology 39(3): 211-214. [Link]

Anderson, L., Finney, B.P., and Shapley, M.D., 2011, Lake carbonate δ18O-records from the Yukon Territory, Canada: Little Ice Age moisture variability and patterns: Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 887-898. [Link]

Barron, J.A. and Anderson, L., 2011, Enhanced Late Holocene ENSO/PDO expression along the margins of the eastern North Pacific: Quaternary International 235 (1-2): 3-12. [Link]

Miller, G.H., Brigham-Grette, J., Alley, R.B., Anderson, L., Bauch, H.A., Douglas, M.S.V., Edwards, M.E., Elias, S.A., Finney, B.P., Fitzpatrick, J.J., Funder, S.V., Herbert, T.D., Hinzman, L.D., Kaufman, D.S., MacDonald, G.M., Polyak, L., Robock, A., Serreze, M.C., Smol, J.P., Spielhagen, R., White, J.W.C., Wolfe, A.P., Wolff E.W., 2010. Temperature and Precipitation history of the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 1679-1715. [Link]

Abbott M.B., Anderson, L., 2009. Lake-Level Fluctuations, in "Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments," Springer-Verlag. [Link]

Anderson, L., Abbott, M.B., Finney, B.P. and Burns, S.J., 2007. Late Holocene moisture balance variability in the southwest Yukon Territory, Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews 26: 130-141. [Link]

Anderson, L., Abbott, M.B., Finney, B.P. and Burns, S.J., 2005. Regional atmospheric circulation change in the North Pacific during the Holocene inferred from lacustrine carbonate oxygen isotopes, Yukon Territory, Canada. Quaternary Research 64: 21-35. Erratum 65: 350-351 [Link]

Anderson, L., Abbott, M.B., Finney, B.P. and Edwards, M.E., 2005. Paleohydrology of the southwest Yukon Territory, Canada, based on multi-proxy lake sediment core analyses from a depth transect. The Holocene 15(8): 1172-1183. [Link]

Pilcher, J., Bradley, R.S. Francus, P. and Anderson, L., 2005. A Holocene tephra record from the Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway. Boreas 34: 136-156. [Link]

Fisher, D.A., Wake, C., Kreutz, K., Yalcin, K., Steig, E., Mayewski, P., Anderson, L., Zheng, J., Rupper, S., Zdanowicz, C., Demuth, M., Waskiewicz, M., Dahl-Jensen, D., Goto-Azuma, K., Bourgeois, J.B., Koerner, R.M., Sekerka, J., Osterberg, E., Abbott, M.B., Finney, B.P., Burns, S.J., 2004. Stable Isotope records from Mount Logan, Eclipse ice cores and nearby Jellybean Lake. Water cycle of the North Pacific over 2000 years and over five vertical kilometers: sudden shifts and tropical connections. Géographie physique et Quaternaire 58: 337-352. [Link]

Anderson, L., Abbott, M.B., and Finney, B.P., 2001. Holocene Climate from Oxygen Isotope Ratios in Lake Sediments, Central Brooks Range, Alaska. Quaternary Research 55: 313-321. [Link]


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Water Resourcesdroughts
Water Resourceslakes
Earth Characteristicssnow and ice cover
Environmental Issuesland use change
Hydrologic Processeswater cycle
Geologic Processesgeochemistry
Natural Resourceswater resources
Techniques and Methodsisotopic analysis

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Climate Variability & Change

Holocene Hydroclimate of Western North America

Image of Current Focus for Holocene Hydroclimate of Western North America

Synopsis of Research

This research aims to characterize past and ongoing climate change in Western North America using stable isotopes of water as tracers of atmospheric and hydrologic processes with a focus on development of isotope records from lake sediments .  Paleoclimate archives are the best available data to document shifts in long-term (> 30-yr) averages and Holocene records from western North America indicate that decadal-to-centennial climate variability is a more prominent feature than is recognized from the instrumental record. Holocene records provide insights into how external influences (i.e., duration of seasons, solar intensity, volcanic activity) and internal mechanisms such as ENSO will compound or counteract the climatic effects of human-induced increases in atmospheric CO2. Thus, characterizing decadal-to-centennial climate variations in Western North America in the past is critical to understanding how the region could evolve in the future.

Recent Results

Image of Recent Results

In a study carried out over the entire U.S. Rocky Mountain region, scientists from the USGS and the University of Illinois Chicago examined oxygen and hydrogen isotope tracers within the snowpack from ~60 locations over the 21 year period since 1993. The isotopic tracers provide quantitative information about precipitation and temperature in the region at the time of deposition. Results of this research indicated that snowpack isotopes in some locations are strongly correlated with regional climate.  The scientists then applied these relationships to an ~10,000 year lake sediment isotope record from northwest Colorado to make estimates of past climate conditions. This effort showed that regional 20th century snowpack trends are within the range of natural variability.

This study appears in a special issue of Quaternary Science Reviews (Volume 131 B) titled "Isotope Systematics" guest edited by Matt Jones, Andy Baker, Lesleigh Anderson and Sylvia Dee from the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting Session "Water Isotope Systematics: Improving our Paleoclimatic Interpretations.

Contact Information

Lesleigh Anderson
W 6th Ave Kipling St
Lakewood, CO 80225
303-236-5349 - Fax
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