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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: North vs South? What’s filling the Atlantic?

Currently Active: 

CO2 varies strongly on glacial-interglacial timescales, this is known from bubbles trapped in ice cores and ice deposited sediments. The control of this change over the last 3 million years when the Northern Hemisphere has been glaciated remains largely unknown despite many years of research. New modeling studies show the volume of water of southern origin in the Atlantic may play a role in declining pCO2. With carbon dioxide levels presently rising in the atmosphere, the oceans capacity to resist/effect change is crucial to our understanding of global climate change and ocean acidification.

(Brovkin et al 2007)
(Brovkin et al 2007)

What's new?

Boron isotopes can directly tell us about the pH of the bottom water at the time of calcite formation, and therefore give us a quantitative tool to assess the magnitude of change in different parts of the ocean basin. 





(Curry and Oppo, 2005)
(Curry and Oppo, 2005)

Key Questions

  • Did deep ocean pH change during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM)?
  • How sensitive are the deep water bodies to changes in climate?
  • Can we help inform ocean circulation model studies of past and future change?


We analyse the calcite shells of creatures that lived on the ocean floor from times in the past as they can provide an archive of the ocean chemistry from which they grew their homes. Using advanced analytical techniques allows us access to new proxies such as neodymium and boron isotopes.

Key Contacts

Mr Tom Chalk (Postgraduate Research Student)

Prof. Gavin Foster (Supervisor)

Prof. Paul Wilson (Supervisor)

PhDs and Other Opportunities


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