About the project
Global warming has already reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels because of greenhouse gas emissions. The polar regions are losing ice mass, the ocean is heating up and rainfall patterns are shifting, reducing seawater mixing and oxygenation (ventilation) and limiting oxygen supply to marine ecosystems.
To help frame predictions of Earth’s future we need datasets much longer than those possible by direct observation. You will study past intervals of CO2-induced global warmth from the Plio-Pleistocene and Miocene.
We will focus on regions such as the Mediterranean and Arabian seas because geological records show that they are early warning sites for ocean hypoxia.
In the past, bottom waters in these semi-enclosed basins were regularly stripped of oxygen when astronomically driven warming strengthened the African and South Asian monsoons, spawning green, vegetated landscapes, reactivating ancient dry riverbeds and cutting off dust supply to the oceans. These changes drove seawater anoxia by capping the Mediterranean with buoyant freshwaters, preventing overturning and by supercharging wind-driven upwelling and the biological pump in the Arabian Sea.
However, the response of these climate interconnections to CO2-driven global warmth is poorly understood. You will tackle this problem by studying past warm intervals in these natural laboratories.
For full project details visit the Inspire project page.
- Professor Paul Wilson (University of Southampton)
- Dr Richard Stockey (University of Southampton)
- Dr Anya Crocker (University of Southampton)