Cardiff University President's Research Scholarship: Quantification of past ice sheet stability during global warming events (PhD Studentship)
Reference Number: R437
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Key Award Information
The Cardiff University Climate Change Network is offering the following President's Research Scholarship:
Project Title: Quantification of past ice sheet stability during global warming events
Project Description: The Antarctic ice sheet grew to near modern volumes across the Eocene-Oligocene Climate Transition (~33.5 Ma)1. The Antarctic ice sheet also expanded across the Middle Miocene Climate Transition (~13-15 Ma). In order to accommodate this Miocene expansion, it is generally assumed that the earlier ice sheet decayed in size during the Late Oligocene Warming (~24-27 Ma) and the Miocene Climatic Optimum ~15-17 Ma). However, current ice sheet models predict that the large ice sheet that formed at the Eocene-Oligocene transition would have been self-stabilising and able to survive most global warming events2.
The student will address the ice sheet stability model-data mismatch by reconstructing quantitative records of ocean temperature and ice volume across the late Oligocene warming and the Miocene Climatic Optimum. A key question to be answered by this work is whether the magnitude of Milankovitch-driven fluctuations in global ice volume is a function of ice-sheet size. The results of this research will be of relevance to future model predictions of ice sheet stability under increasing levels of pCO2. Building on previous work1 this project will:
1. Refine the temperature/saturation state calibration for the benthic foraminiferal species Oridorsalis umbonatus.
2. Quantify changes in ice volume and deepwater saturation state from the Late Oligocene Warming to the Oligocene-Miocene glaciation, and across the Miocene Climatic Optimum.
3. Reassess the current model-data mismatch regarding ice sheet stability by integrating the results of this project with climate model outputs.
The student will be trained in foraminiferal taxonomy, trace metal clean laboratory protocols and trace metal analysis on the School’s state of the art high-resolution ICP mass spectrometer. The student will analyse the trace metal composition of modern benthic foraminifera recently recovered offshore Tanzania (RV Pelagia GLOW Cruise, 2009). These box cores span a water depth transect and will be used to further refine the temperature/saturation state calibration for the foraminiferal species Oridorsalis umbonatus (Obj. 1). The student will construct high-resolution foraminiferal Mg/Ca and Li/Ca records across the Late Oligocene Warming into the Oligocene-Miocene glaciation, and across the Miocene Climatic Optimum (Obj. 2). The student will use samples collected in the Pacific by the Ocean Drilling Program (e.g., ODP Site 12183). These will be used in conjunction with oxygen isotope stratigraphy to quantify ocean temperature, global ice volume and seawater carbonate saturation state. The student will integrate the results of this project with climate model outputs in collaboration with Prof Rob DeConto. This genuinely multi-disciplinary approach will allow the student to synthesise the new data and reassess the current model-data mismatch regarding ice sheet stability.
1 Lear et al., Geology, v. 36, p. 251-254 (2008); 2 Pollard & DeConto, Global and Planetary Change 45, 9-21 (2005); 3 Palike et al., Science 314, 1894-1898 (2006);
Supervisors: Dr C.H. Lear, Prof P.N. Pearson, Prof I. Hall
This award will cover UK/EU Fees plus a Stipend matching the UK Research Council minimum (£13,590 for 2010/11)
Residency: This award is available to all UK and EU students.
Academic Criteria: Applicants must have either a 1st class Honours Degree in a relevant subject, or a 2:1 Honours Degree with an MSc or MSci degree in a relevant subject.
How to Apply
To apply, prospective applicants must first send a CV and Covering Letter to Ms. Liesbeth Diaz (Diaz@cardiff.ac.uk):
School of Earth & Ocean Sciences
Tel: 029 2087 5772.
Fax: 029 2087 4326.
For more information on this project:
More information is available on the website:
Alternatively, please contact Dr C.H. Lear:
Tel: 44 (0)29 208 74830
For more information on the President's Research Scholarships: