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Amy Hessl

Director of Undergraduate Research, Honors College, and Professor of Geography

Categorized As

Role: Faculty,
Focus or Research Area: Geography,

Paleoclimate — Dr. Hessl uses the environmental information stored in the growth rings of trees to study Earth’s climate variability, solar storms, ecosystem processes, and human activities over the last 2000 years. She has worked in the American West, Mongolia and Southern Australia and has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers. Her research has been covered by the international press including outlets such as The Economist, The New York Times, USA Today, and the LA Times. She is passionate about supporting the next generation of geoscientists.

Montane Forest Dynamics Lab
PI: Amy Hessl, Professor of Geography

Current and ongoing research projects

  • Empowering Appalachian Students through the Exploring Geosciences Solutions Curriculum and the Appalachian Geoscience Learning Ecosystem – funded by the National Science Foundation Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering Division (2023-2026)

  • Resolving the Magnitude of Past Extreme Solar Energetic Particle Events Using 14C in Tree Rings – funded by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium (2023-2024).

Representative Publications

*Designates student authors 

King, J., Anchukaitis, K., Allen, K., Vance, T., and A. Hessl. 2023. Trends and variability in the Southern Annular Mode over the Common Era. Nature Communications 14:2324.

*Walker, M., Mueller, A.  Allen, K., Fenwick, P., Anchukaitis, K. and A. Hessl. 2023. High resolution radiocarbon spike confirms tree ring dating with low sample depth. Dendrochronologia 77: 126048.

Hessl, A., Anchukaitis, K.J., Jelsema, C., Cook, B., Byambasuran, O., Leland, C., Nachin, B., Pederson, N., Tian, H., Andreu Hayles, L. 2018. Past and future drought in Mongolia. Science Advances 4, e1701832.

de Graauw*, K. and Hessl, A. 2020. Do historic log buildings provide evidence of reforestation following the depopulation of indigenous peoples? Journal of Biogeography.

Pederson, N., A. Hessl, K. Anchukaitis, Nachin Baatarbileg, and N. Di Cosmo. 2014. Pluvials, Droughts, the Mongol Empire, and Modern Mongolia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(12):4375–4379.   10.1073/pnas.1318677111

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