Antarctic Ice Sheet stability in a warming world
How will the Antarctic Ice Sheet respond to continued warming of the climate system? Will it collapse into the ocean, raising sea level by as much as 55 m globally? Is it perhaps impervious to warming on the scale anticipated for the coming centuries? Or is ice sheet sensitivity regionally variable? These are important questions, yet difficult to test in the absence of robust geologic data revealing how the ice sheet has responded to past periods of climate change. I am involved in providing those data.
The role of the tropics in global climate
The tropics are the primary source of heat and water vapour for Earth's climate system, dictating how solar energy is dispersed globally, when, and how fast. Since 2005, I have been working in the tropical Andes of Peru and Colombia, where I use the geologic record of glacial behaviour to reconstruct changes in tropospheric temperature. This is ongoing work involving a large number of collaborators and various cosmogenic nuclides. It is also interwoven with Andean archaeology and volcanism.
Blowing Hot or Cold? Assessing the terrestrial impact of North Atlantic stadials and abrupt climate change
Abrupt climate change poses one of the greatest challenges to 21st Century climatology. Growing our knowledge of past perturbations is key to minimising the risk of future 'climate shock'. This project uses a geologic approach to resolve the terrestrial expression of past abrupt climate change in the North Atlantic region - widely held as the nexus of abrupt change - to identify the drivers of these fascinating phenomena. Of particular interest is the impact of Heinrich stadials in Scotland & Ireland.
Fire and Ice in the Central Volcanic Zone
Links between deglaciation and magmatism have long been hypothesised, particularly on divergent plate boundaries. But what happens along convergent margins when ice is suddenly removed from the landscape? What is the effect of unloading on magma chamber evolution? We don't know, yet the question is increasingly important as our planet warms and the glaciers mantling active volcanoes worldwide continue to shrink. This research combines geomorphology and geochemistry to explore the impact of deglaciation on the internal workings of volcanic systems in the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Quantifying Ireland's Dust Bowl
New project for 2019-20! Hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the Burren, in western Ireland, is a mystery sedimentary deposit that bears the compositional and structural hallmarks of loess - or wind-blown silt. Where did it come from, and when? What has happened to the majority of this sediment since? And what are the implications of possible loess for our understanding of climate/environmental change in Ireland and for infrastructure?