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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Testing the coherence of terrestrial Holocene palaeoclimate records across the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes

Published: 1 March 2011

Fully funded NERC studentship

Supervisors: Pete Langdon (Southampton); Julie Jones (Sheffield); Marcus Vandergoes (GNS, Wellington, NZ)

Current understanding of Holocene palaeoclimate in the Southern Hemisphere is poor compared with understanding gained from climate reconstructions from the Northern Hemisphere, hampering our understanding of hemispheric and global palaeoclimate teleconnections over millennial timescales. This project seeks to develop quantitative proxy reconstructions from New Zealand which are currently lacking, and to test aspects of SH climate change over millennial timescales.

In particular it aims to develop temperature and precipitation proxies from NZ through chironomid and stable isotope reconstructions. Current chironomid temperature calibration datasets exist within New Zealand which have been used for reconstructing past temperatures during the Lateglacial period. However, little chironomid data exist for the Holocene in New Zealand, and temperature reconstructions have yet to be validated by comparisons against instrumental data.

This studentship will develop chironomid reconstructions from New Zealand over a range of timescales, through testing the relationship of the chironomids to climate through calibration and verification against instrumental temperature datasets. These reconstructions shall then help to understand long term millennial scale climate change. These records will be complemented by stable isotope analyses from the same sediments that the chironomid records have been derived. The student will collect the chironomid and stable isotope data from a number of core sequences from lakes which they will sample in NZ. They will date the sequences using C-14 and tephras (where present) producing a robust, detailed chronology for each core. Other sedimentological and/or biological analyses may also be incorporated into the project. Key questions to address include:

1.Do the millennial scale temperature and precipitation reconstructions correlate with other Southern Hemisphere datasets, including marine records?

2.Can we detect southern oscillation signals in the proxy reconstructions? This will be undertaken through calibration against existing instrumental and reconstructed indices.

The closing date for applications is 1 April 2011.

Eligibility for this studentship is governed by the NERC – please see their website to check your eligibility BEFORE making an application:

For information on how to apply, follow these links  or contact Julie Drewitt, Graduate School Administrator on if you have any further queries.

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