Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2019

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Earth Sciences


Paul A. Mayewski

Second Committee Member

Kirk A. Maasch

Third Committee Member

Sean D. Birkel

Additional Committee Members

Keah C. Schuenemann

Andrew M. Carleton


The Arctic is warming at a rate nearly double that of the global average. The enhanced rate of warming impacts weather and climate across the Northern Hemisphere. As the meridional (south to north) thermal gradient weakens, the middle-latitude westerlies are expected to slow and become “wavier” increasing heat and moisture advection to higher latitudes. A quasi-stationary ridge-trough system of the jet stream increases chances for droughts, floods, heatwaves, and cold spells. These impacts have already been observed as North American forest fires and early or extended Great Lake ice out. It is more important than ever to understand how the Arctic is changing, what impacts this Arctic change, and how Arctic change will impact people who live at high latitudes. This dissertation gathers a broad base of knowledge of past, present, and future Arctic climate and builds a risk assessment framework for stakeholders, policy makers, and climate scientists to use as a tool for understanding the impacts of climate on Arctic nations and indigenous communities.

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