Historical views of the ice sheets as slowly responding parts of the Earth system have increasingly been challenged by palaeoclimate reconstructions. Rapid variability is indicated for the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets during Heinrich Events of the last glacial period, while even the Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to have responded to moderate warming on centennial to millennial timescales. Such behaviour may have been significantly influenced by ocean heat transport, while ice-sheet melting generates significant feedbacks on ocean circulation and climate dynamics.
This project will explore the timescales and processes of interaction between ice sheets, ocean currents, and the climate system during the Pleistocene. Specifically, you will apply radiogenic isotope tracers (e.g. Pb and Nd isotopes) in marine archives, in combination with more conventional paleoceanographic approaches, to constrain key connections in the ocean-climate system. Opportunities include tracing ocean currents and their delivery of heat to ice sheet margins; provenance tracing of ice sheet advance and retreat; and assessing the impact of deglaciation on chemical weathering and nutrient delivery to the oceans.
Research will be carried out in state-of-the-art geochemistry labs and clean rooms within the LOGIC group at UCL. You will develop expertise in marine sediment extractions, chemical separations, and radiogenic isotope analysis by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS), while benefiting from the broad palaeoclimate research community in UCL and across London.
This project outline is intentionally open-ended. Please get in touch for further details, or if you have your own ideas for using radiogenic isotopes to understand palaeoclimate dynamics!