Adam Csank

Geography Department Chair, Associate Professor
Adam Csank


Dr. Csank is a paleoclimatologist & paleoecologist with expertise in stable isotope geochemistry and dendrochronology. His primary research involves the use of stable isotope dendrochronology to reconstruct past climates and the impacts of climate change on trees over time periods ranging from the Pliocene to the present. Csank also works at the intersection of human and physical geography in the growing area of critical physical geography using historic timbers to study legacies of exploitation related to the timber trade. Csank also works to understand historic land use patterns and to find novel ways to use paleodata to inform climate adaptation by understanding risk, vulnerability and resiliency. Past projects include studies ranging from climate reconstructions to land use change to studies of drought and tree mortality. Ongoing projects include reconstructions of climate and ecosystems in the Arctic, the response of trees to climatic change, reconstructions of large-scale atmospheric patterns, streamflow and lake levels and reconstructing historic atmospheric pollution. In his research Dr. Csank has worked in diverse settings both locally and internationally including the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, throughout the western US, eastern Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica and Italy.

Research interests

  • Paleoclimatology and paleoecology
  • Critical physical geography
  • Plant-climate interactions
  • Stable isotope geochemistry
  • Dendrochronology
  • Ecohydrology
  • Arctic environmental change

Courses taught

  • GEOG 103 (Physical Geography of Earth’s Environments)
  • GEOG 321 (Understanding Climate)
  • GEOG 335 (Earth Resources & The Environment)
  • GEOG 435/635 (Conservation of Natural Resources)
  • GEOG 437/637 (Geography of Past Environments)
  • GEOG 701R (Graduate seminar in Paleoclimatology)


  • Ph.D. in Geosciences, University of Arizona 2011
  • M.Sc. in Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan 2006
  • B.Sc. in Earth Sciences, Dalhousie University 2003

Selected publications

  • Harris, V.M. & Csank, A.Z. (2023). A new 500-year reconstruction of Truckee River streamflow. Dendrochronologia, 79, 126093
  • ‡Greer, K., ‡Csank, A.Z., Calvert, K., Maddison-MacFadyen, M., Smith, A., Monk, K., & Morrison, S. (2023). Understanding the historic legacies of empire from the timbers left behind: Towards critical dendroprovenancing in the British North Atlantic. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien, 1– 15. ‡authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Mensing, S., Wang, W., Rhode, D., Kennett, D.J., Csank, A.Z., Thomas, D.H., Briem, C., Harper, T.K., Culleton, B.J., George, R.J., Southon, J. (2023) Temporal and geographic extent of the late Holocene dry period in the central Great Basin, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews. 300, 107900.
  • Manning, A., Harpold, A., Csank, A.Z. (2022) Spruce beetle outbreak increases streamflow from snow-dominated basins in southwest Colorado, USA. Water Resources Research. e2021WR029964.
  • Keen, R., Voelker, S., Wang, S.-Y., Bentz, B., Goulden, M., Dangerfield, C., Reed, C., Hood, S., Csank, A., Dawson, T., Merschel, A., Still, C. (2022) Changes in tree drought sensitivity provided early warning signals to the California drought and forest mortality event. Global Change Biology, 28, 1119-1132.
  • Chellman, N., Csank, A.Z., Gustin, M.S., Arienzo, M.M., Estrada Vargas, M., McConnell, J.R. (2020) Comparison of co-located ice-core and tree-ring mercury records indicates potential radial translocation of mercury in whitebark pine. Science of the Total Environment, 743, 140695
  • Csank, A.Z., Czimczik, C., Xu, X., Welker, J.M. (2019) Seasonal patterns of riverine carbon sources and export in NW Greenland. JGR-Biogeosciences, 124 (4), 840-856.
  • Fletcher, T.L., Csank, A.Z., Ballantyne, A.P. (2019) Identifying bias in cold season temperature reconstructions by beetle mutual climatic range methods in the Pliocene Canadian Arctic. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 514, 672-676.