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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonPostgraduate study

Mr Ross Whiteford MSci

Postgraduate research student

Mr Ross Whiteford's photo

Mr Ross Whiteford is Postgraduate research student within Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton at the University of Southampton.

2011-2015: BSc and MSci Geology at the University of Southampton (Award for highest graduating average and best MSci Thesis)

2012-2013: Mapping of the Limassol Forest Complex, Cyprus

2014 – present: Working on the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction event by combining proxy carbon dioxide data with a carbon cycle model to estimate the possibility of ocean acidification.

MSci Thesis: Carbon cycle modelling across the Triassic–Jurassic, using CO2 data from pedogenic carbonates.
Supervisors: Jessica Whiteside and Toby Tyrrell

2015-present: Developing a novel carbon cycle model to understand trends in the carbon cycle over Cenozoic. Specifically looking to understand the question: If we were to rewind our planet to 60 million years ago, then let the climate evolve, would it necessarily result in the system as we know it today?

Research interests

• Ocean acidification
• Carbon Cycle
• Earth Systems modelling

Understanding of the long term carbon cycle of CO2 may seem esoteric, but the current changes in climate, driven release of CO2 as a result of Human activities, make it necessary to research the past to understand the future. While Humans may be most concerned with the changes occurring in the next several hundred years, it is possible that our activities might change the trajectory of our planets climate on timescales far longer than that. To investigate this, I am developing a mathematical model to analyse the flow of carbon from one area of the Earth to another, based on data from proxy records. Such a model has complimentary applications in exoplanet climatology, as it will be possible to use climate states that may be infeasible for Earth but represent theoretical planets. For example, carbon is continually moved from the surface of Earth to the bottom of tectonic plates, resulting in its melting as release as CO2 gas. We might then imagine a planet where this process operates with less efficiency, of perhaps does not operate at all. Then we seek to understand whether a planet such as that could still maintain a stable climate. Might even the smallest change in climate cause radical changes on the scale of millions of years?

Research project: Cenozoic CO2: Chance History or Inevitable Outcome?


Toby Tyrrell
Gavin Foster
Paul Wilson

Research group

Palaeoceanography and Palaeoclimate

• GSNOCS (Graduate School of NOCS) committee representation

• Post Seminar Social of Educational Discussion co-organiser

• NOCS social committee representative

Mr Ross Whiteford
Student Office, Room 166/09 University of Southampton Waterfront Campus National Oceanography Centre European Way Southampton SO14 3ZH

Room Number: NOCS/164/21

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