Processes Operating at the Surface and in the Subsurface of the Atacama Desert

Extreme precipitation events that impacted northern Chile in the last several years raise the question, ‘Are these rains driven by modern climate change and an omen of the future, or are these simply examples of the rains that have intermittently shaped the Atacama Desert landscape over the last several millennia, yet have been rarely witnessed?’. Through a combination of novel remote sensing methods and field observations, I work with colleagues and students to quantify the impacts of those events across the landscape. 

Related Publications

  • Pfeiffer, M., Morgan, A., Heimsath, A., Jordan, T., Howard, A., and Amundson, R., 2021, Century scale rainfall in the absolute Atacama Desert: Landscape response and implications for past and future rainfall: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 254, 106797

  • Jordan, T. E., R. B. Lohman, L. S. Tapia, M. Pfeiffer, C. Scott, R. Amundson, L. Godfrey, and R. Riquelme, 2020, Surface Materials and Landforms as Controls on InSAR Permanent and Transient Responses to Precipitation Events in a Hyperarid Desert, Chile: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 237, p.1-18 plus Supplemental Files,
  • Jordan, T.E., Herrera L., C., Godfrey, L.V., Colucci S., Gamboa, C., Urrutia, J., González, G., and Paul, J., 2019, Isotopic Characteristics and Paleoclimate Implications of the Extreme Rain Event of March 2015 in Northern Chile: Andean Geology, 46 (1), p. 1-31.
  • Scott, C., Lohman, R., and Jordan, T. 2017, InSAR constraints on soil moisture evolution after the March 2015 extreme precipitation event in Chile: Scientific Reports, v. 7, # 4903, doi: :10.1038/s41598-017-05123-4
  • Cosentino, N. J., Jordan, T. E., Derry, L. A., and Morgan, J. P., 2015, 87Sr/86Sr in recent accumulations of calcium sulfate on landscapes of hyperarid settings: A bimodal altitudinal dependence for northern Chile (19.5-21.5°S): Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geosystems, v. 16, doi: 10.1002/2015GC005954