Indiana University Bloomington

Michael Prentice

Michael Prentice

Adjunct Faculty

Glacier Climates

Office:   na
Phone:   812-856-3117

Current Additional Academic Positions (non-Departmental)

Research Scientist, Indiana Geological Survey, Indiana University **

Adjunct Faculty Member, Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University

Affiliate Research Professor, Department of Chemical, Earth, Atmospheric, and Physical Sciences and Center for the Environment, Plymouth State University.

Educational Background

  • B.A., Geological Sciences with Engineering Certificate, Princeton University, 1978
  • M.S., Geological Sciences, University of Maine, 1982
  • Ph.D., Geological Sciences, Brown University, 1988
  • Postdoctoral, Geological Sciences, University of Maine

Current Research

In the last few decades, the climate of the tropics has changed significantly, disrupting global weather patterns that impact billions of people. To provide perspective on these changes, a group in the department and the geological survey (Prentice, Sauer, Letsinger) is studying climate change on the island of New Guinea. New Guinea was selected because it neighbors the sprawling western Pacific warm pool, the single largest source of heat and moisture to the global atmosphere, and has tremendous topographic relief. The team is working on records along a vertical transect from the coastal ocean to mountains that reach above 14,000 feet, where ice fields still exist. Records from such an altitudinal transect constrain vertical gradients in atmospheric and oceanic properties that reflect the state of convection over the warm pool, a major component of the tropical circulation.

The IUB group studies fluctuations in New Guinea ice caps, which were surprisingly extensive, over the last several millennia using a variety of records (photo 1).

Photo 1. The glaciers around Mt. Jayawijaya (upper left corner, 4900 m above sea level) in Papua Province, Indonesia, during the 1970s.

Changes in the ice caps unambiguously reflect temperature changes, a first-order climate variable affected by convection from the warm-pool below.

The group also analyzes lake (photo 2) and shallow-marine sediment records in order to understand such properties as sea-surface temperature and hydroclimatic changes at various altitudes on the transect.

Photo 2. Lake Gwam at 3530 m above sea level on the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

The program involves collaboration with scientists from the Australian National University, the Institute of Technology at Bandung (Indonesia), the University of Washington, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the University of Maine, and the Bishop Museum (University of Hawaii).



Ishman, S.E., Leventer, A., Prentice, M.L., Domack, E.W., Brachfeld, S.A., Vernet, M., Cape, M., Rosenheim, B.E., Gunter, M., Vadman, K.J., and Santoro, J., 2012, A unique paleoceanographic record from the Antarctic Peninsula shelf: merging stable isotopic results with multiproxy diatom, IRD, and organic geochemical indices, XXXII SCAR Open Science Conference, July 2012, Portland, OR.

Prentice, M.L., Hope, G.S., and Susanto, R.D., 2012, Freezing level height in the western equatorial Pacific over the last 200 years: Glacier evidence from Mt. Jayawijaya, Papua Province, Indonesia, presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 3-7 Dec.

Arcone, S.A. and Prentice, M.L., 2012, GPR profiles of stratified periglacial deposits in eastern Taylor Valley, Antarctica, presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 3-7 Dec.

Toner, J.D., Sletten, R.S., Prentice, M.L., 2012, Soluble salt accumulations in Taylor Valley, Antarctica: Implications for paleolakes and Ross Sea Ice Sheet dynamics, presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 3-7 Dec.

Ducey, P. W., Prentice, M. L., Rupp, R. F., 2011, Northwest flank of the Erie Lobe in Indiana: Where have all the moraines gone? Northeastern and North-Central Sections of the Geological Society of America, Joint Annual Meeting, Abstract 186436.

Prentice, M. L., Sauer, P. E., Arcone, S. A., Sletten, R. S., Sparrow, A., 2011, Extent of the Ross Sea Ice Sheet in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, at the local Last Glacial Maximum: New constraints on the age and origin of a terminal moraine, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 43, p.66.

Letsinger, S. L., Prentice, M.L., Olyphant, G.A., Riddle, A.D., 2011, Three-dimensional groundwater flow modeling using a geologic framework model of near-surface glacial sequences: northeastern Indiana, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 43, p.560.

Recent Publications

Toner, J.D., Sletten, R.S., Prentice, M.L., 2012, Soluble salt accumulations in Taylor Valley, Antarctica: Implications for paleolakes and Ross Sea Ice Sheet dynamics, Journal of Geophysical Research Earth Surface, in press.

Prentice, M.L. and Hope, G.S. 2012. Little Ice Age glacier fluctuations on Mt. Jayawijaya: A record of mean climate state at 600 hPa. Jurnal Matematika dan Sains. in press.

Prentice, M.L., Hope, G.S., Peterson, J.A., Barrows, T.T., 2011, The glaciation of the south-east Asian equatorial region. In: Ehlers, J.J., Gibbard, P.L., and Hughes, P.D. (eds.), Developments in Quaternary Science, 15, Elsevier Amsterdam, pp. 1023-1036.

Barrows, T. T., Hope, G. S., Prentice, M. L., Fifield, L. K., Tims, S. G., 2011, Late Pleistocene glaciation of the Mt Giluwe volcano, Papua New Guinea: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 30, p. 2676-2689.

Prentice, M. L., Ducey, P.W., Rupp, R.F., Karaffa, M.D., Pigott, J.L., 2011, Map showing preliminary surficial geology of the Columbia City, Lorane, and South Whitley East 7.5-minute quadrangles in Whitley County, Indiana, Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey, Open-File Study 11-01, scale 1:63,360.

Prentice, M.L. and S. Glidden, 2010, Glacier crippling and the rise of the snowline in western New Guinea (Papua Province, Indonesia) from 1972 to 2000. In Haberle, S., Stevenson, J., Prebble, M., (eds.), Altered Ecologies: Fire, climate and human influence on terrestrial landscapes, Terra Australis, 32, ANU EPress, Canberra, pp. 457-471.

Prentice, M.L., 2010, Preliminary surficial geology of the Bippus, Laud, Arcola, and Churubusco 7.5 minute quadrangles in Huntington and Whitley Counties, Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey, Open-File Study 10-04, scale 1:63,360.