Palaeoclimate reconstruction

The facility uses variety of organic geochemical proxies to interrogate the Earth’s climate history, such as the Uk37 proxy which reflects sea surface temperature (SST) based on the relative distribution of unsaturated alkenones from haptophyte algae, or the TEX86 palaeothermometer, which records SSTs from the relative distribution of archaeal membrane lipids known as glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers, or GDGTs. In addition, state-of-the art compound specific stable isotope techniques (GC/C/IRMS) are also used to provide novel insight into past climates; for example, the stable carbon isotopic compositions of the same alkenones used to reconstruct SSTs can be used to reconstruct atmospheric pCO2, and the carbon isotopic compositions of n-alkanes can be used to study past changes in vegetation. We also use higher plant biomarker hydrogen isotopic compositions to examine a range of questions related to past hydrological change, a topic of much interest due to its impact on human welfare.

Further reading

Handley, L., Pearson, P.N., McMillan, I.K. andPancost, R.D. (2008)Large terrestrial and marine carbon and hydrogen isotope excursions in a new Paleocene/Eocene boundary section from Tanzania. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 275, 17-25.

Hollis, C., Taylor, K.W.R., Handley, L., Pancost, R.D., Huber, M., Creech, J., Hines, B., Crouch, E., Morgans, E., Crampton, J., Gibbs, S., Pearson, P. and Zachos, J (2012) Early Paleogene temperature history of the Southwest Pacific Ocean: reconciling proxies and models. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 349. 53-66

Pancost, R.D., Taylor, K.W.R., Inglis, G., Kennedy, E., Handley, L., Hollis, C., Crouch, E., Pross, J., Huber, M., Schouten, S., Pearson, P., Morgans, E and Raine, I (2013) Early Paleogene evolution of terrestrial climate in the SW Pacific, Southern New Zealand.Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 14. 5413-5329. 

Iamage of some cores
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