PhD Studentship: Changes in Temperature, Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds and CO2 Degassing of the Southern Ocean Over the Last 20,000 Years

University of Bristol - School of Chemistry

The project:

The Southern Ocean (SO) is a key driver of present and past global climate. This project focuses on determining spatial and temporal relationships between temperature and wind strength across the SO for the last c. 20,000 years using peat records from the sub-Antarctic region. The overall project aim is to determine whether the SO has acted net source or sink for global atmospheric CO2 in the past c. 20,000 years. For this purpose temperature-sensitive membrane-spanning biomarkers (branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether, brGDGTs, produced by bacteria, and found in peat deposits) will be used to generate quantitative biomarker-based palaeotemperatures for the last c. 20,000 years from up to five strategically located peat records in the terrestrial sub-Antarctic region. The hypothesis being tested is that key warm periods since the last deglaciation were also associated with an increased westerlies strength and a poleward shift in westerlies intensity.

Specific tasks include:

  • Analyse modern samples for biomarkers and compare results with meteorological data.
  • Update existing peat biomarker temperature calibration datasets.
  • Establish laboratory and field experiments investigating seasonal and temperature driven changes in biomarker distribution and abundance in active (sub-) Antarctic peatlands.
  • Quantify palaeotemperatures using biomarkers from up to five SO peat records.
  • Test relationships between past temperature and wind strength at each location and across the SO and compare field data with model simulations.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project at http://www.bris.ac.uk/pg-howtoapply. Please select Chemistry PhD on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form

Candidate requirements:  A background in Earth Sciences, Geography, and/or (bio- geo-) Chemistry is essential. Past knowledge of paleoclimate is desirable. The candidate should have good laboratory and data analytical skills and/or willingness to learn new techniques and develop existing ones.

Funding: The NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) will be offering studentships to commence in September 2018. The GW4+ DTP is a 3.5 year NERC-funded PhD programme that encompasses the Earth and Environmental Sciences with a strong emphasis on postgraduate training. Studentships are available for eligible candidates from the UK and mainland Europe.

Contacts: david.naafs@bristol.ac.uk

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South West England