Human Origins Program
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
10th St. and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20560
Email: moermanj [at] umich.edu
I am a National Science Foundation Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan and Research Associate at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
My research focuses on understanding atmospheric dynamics, circulation, and hydrology applied to past and future climate change scenarios. I use water isotopes as tracers of past and present precipitation amount, atmospheric circulation, and water balance. My research blends together techniques from climate dynamics and modeling, isotope hydrology, and statistical analyses to better understand the mechanisms of climate variability and change.
I am currently collaborating with Naomi Levin (U. Michigan) and Richard Potts (Smithsonian) to investigate the impact of monsoon circulation and water balance on the evolution and migration of early humans in East Africa. In this work, I combine two newly developed climate proxies for temperature and aridity - the clumped isotope paleothermometer and triple oxygen isotopes, respectively - with traditional oxygen and carbon isotopes to tease apart monsoon-related variability from local environmental influences.
I received my PhD in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology in May 2015. At Georgia Tech, I worked with Kim Cobb to constrain the atmospheric and hydrological processes driving isotopic variability in Borneo rainfall and cave dripwaters to improve interpretations of paleoclimate records from nearby stalagmites.