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Antarctic climate of the last 115,000 years from ice cores

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Ice cores hold valuable information about Earth’s past climate, which help us to better understand climate processes on long timescales and ultimately inform and refine future projections of climate. I’m part of the WACSWAIN ice core project. WACSWAIN is interested in the Last Interglacial period (~113,000 years ago) when the Earth was around 2 degrees C warmer and sea levels several metres higher than today. This represents an interesting target of investigation; to understand what led to this sea level rise e.g. whether or not the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed or retreated and by how much, would help us to make better predictions about potential sea level rise as a result of anthropogenic climate change. My research looks at the last glacial cycle (115,000 years ago to present) and I am hoping to pick apart how the climate varied across Antarctica during this time. My work will include a trip to the West Antarctic island, Sherman Island, in January 2020, where I will make use of the British Antarctic Survey’s Rapid Access Isotope Drill, and I will drill ice down to 420m in just a few days.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Sciences Group series.

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