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Finding your flow: using sedimentology, geochemistry and micropalaeontology to understand South Atlantic Ocean circulation

Dr Tracy Aze (SEE), Prof Mike Rogerson (UoH), Dr Jason Harvey (SEE)

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Ocean circulation is a major control on global climate, the use of nutrients in ocean ecosystems and the way water and heat are transported around the Earth and a fundamental part of how our planet works. Developing the tools to look at ocean circulation into the geological past is a key challenge for international science, and using these tools to create records of change in ocean circulation is an important part of mapping past global change. The most intensively studied ocean basin in the world is the North Atlantic, and perhaps it is not a coincidence that this region is considered the most important driver of changes in ocean circulation worldwide. This project will use unique core material recovered from the Uruguay margin to develop new tools and approaches to understanding ocean circulation in the South Atlantic. The cores are from a large sediment drift, which is occupied by southward flowing water from the North Atlantic and northward flowing water from the Southern Ocean. This student will exploit this outstanding natural laboratory to develop new tools based on neodymium isotopes and also new ways is using classic palaeoceanographic approaches (foraminifera trace elements and isotopes). These new tools will then be used to enhance our understanding of the South Atlantic circulation, making a major contribution to bringing it up to the level achieved for the North Atlantic.

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Related undergraduate subjects:

  • Earth science
  • Earth system science
  • Environmental science
  • Geochemistry
  • Geological science
  • Geology
  • Geoscience
  • Micropalaeontology
  • Oceanography
  • Palaeontology