Reconstructing Indian Ocean climate variability over the last 125,000 years

This project is available from the academic year 2025/26 onwards.

Theme: Past Life & Environments

Primary Supervisor:

Heather Ford

School of Geography, QMUL

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Secondary Supervisor:

Chris Brierley

Geography, UCL

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Project Description:

Climate variability in the Indian Ocean affects a large portion of the global population. Recent research has shown that not only were year-to-year fluctuations in climate in the geologic past different than today, there was even an interannual mode similar to the Pacific’s El Niño. This work aims to reconstruct climate variability on seasonal to centennial timescales during the Last Glacial Maximum (20,000 years ago) and the Last Interglacial (125,000 years ago) and explore the underlying the climate dynamics through data-model comparison.

This project necessitates a multi-proxy approach including stable isotopes (d13C, d18O) and minor (Mg/Ca, temperature) elements and data-model comparison from modelling output included in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment. The project can be tailored to focus on a particular interval or climate process.

Policy Impact of Research:

Climate fluctuations in the Indian Ocean impacts over two billion people. The ability to constrain the Indian Ocean’s variability during the past to help constrain future climate change on a variety of time scales has significant economic and societal impacts.

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