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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton
(023) 8059 6539

Dr Thomas B Chalk PhD, MEarthSci

Visiting Fellow

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Dr Thomas Chalk is a Visiting Fellow within Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton at the University of Southampton.

2014-2016: Postdoctoral investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Department of Physical Oceanography

2010-2014: PhD University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, Ocean and Earth Science

2006-2010: Masters and Undergraduate, University of Oxford, Earth Sciences

Research interests

I am interested in ocean-climate interactions on short seasonal to long geological timescales. Using ocean and land archives we can compare past climate-proxy data to what we know and think we know about the Earth system and how it will respond to future stresses.

Understanding the impact of carbon on our atmosphere and the fate of carbon in our oceans is a crucial requirement as we continue to emit carbon dioxide from our civilizations. By studying fossil records such as corals and deep sea sediment cores and using geochemical tools we can tease out the environments of the geological past. I work with both chemical data from these fossil archives and models to enhance our understanding of the nature of our planet and what effects we humans will bring about by our activities, as well as the impact of present day climate change by studying the past.

External Research Group:

Photo credit: Ken Kostel
Data visualisation & ocean modelling. Credit: Ken Kostel
Ocean circulation & rapid climate change
Ocean circulation & rapid climate change.
Source: WOCE
Global CO2 and temperature in the past. Source: WOCE
Credit: Sara Fowell
Coral reefs and ocean pH. Credit: Sara Fowell













Data visualisation and ocean modelling

Models are an excellent tool to make the most of sparse datasets, saving on sampling effort. Visualising complex oceanic data is a difficult task, but using a 3D set-up (pictured, in collaboration with UC Davis) we can explore the oceans in depth!

Ocean circulation and rapid climate change

Ocean sediments can provide huge insights into the dynamics of our climate. These grains were delivered to the middle of the Atlantic by icebergs during a rapid climate change event 22,000 years ago, and many different climate states are accessible by looking at the millions of years of sediments drilled from the ocean floor.

Coral reefs and ocean pH

Corals provide an unprecedented window into our recent past, by careful sampling we can reconstruct conditions on a month to month basis in these important reef systems. This allows us to compare the changes happening now to an extended archive reaching back to preindustrial civilization.

Global CO2 and temperature in the past

Histories of temperature, sea level and carbon dioxide are a central problem in palaeoceanography. By reconstructing these variables we can assess the sensitivity of our climate to greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, from cold periods such as the Pleistocene glacial advances to warm periods like the Pliocene.

Research group


Affiliate research group

Palaeoceanography and Palaeoclimate

Dr Thomas B Chalk
Ocean and Earth Science
National Oceanography Centre Southampton
University of Southampton Waterfront Campus
European Way
Southampton SO14 3ZH

Room Number : NOCS/184/04

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