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Ocean circulation in a warm world

Dr Daniel Hill (SEE), Dr Tracy Aze (SEE), Dr Jason Harvey (SEE) and Prof Alan Haywood (SEE)

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Global ocean circulation is a key component of the climate system and an important driver of palaeoclimate change. However, its response to a warming climate is poorly understood. The mid-Pliocene is the last period of Earth history when the climate was warmer than today and atmospheric carbon dioxide was similar to today. This project will combine novel applications of Neodymium isotopes from marine cores, with analysis of a new multi-model ensemble of global climate models and new simulations from the Hadley Centre climate model to investigate changes in ocean circulation during the mid-Pliocene warm period.

Previous simulations have shown that changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet can produce a significant and robust response in modelled ocean circulation, but evidence from marine cores of these changes is difficult to interpret. The application of Neodymium isotopes provides a much better tracer of ocean circulation and will allow a much better test of the modelled changes. The successful candidate will work closely with the supervisors to develop a novel technique for analysing bulk sediment samples for Neodymium isotopes. The project is also perfectly timed to take advantage of PlioMIP phase 2, a new ensemble of Pliocene simulations from climate models from across the globe. The student will lead the analysis of global ocean circulation from this ensemble, as well as having the opportunity to set up and run simulations designed to assess the processes driving these changes.

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Related undergraduate subjects:

  • Applied mathematics
  • Astronomy
  • Atmospheric science
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Computing
  • Earth science
  • Earth system science
  • Environmental science
  • Geochemistry
  • Geography
  • Geological science
  • Geology
  • Geoscience
  • Hydrology
  • Mathematics
  • Meteorology
  • Micropalaeontology
  • Natural sciences
  • Oceanography
  • Palaeontology
  • Physical geography
  • Physical science
  • Physics