Fully-funded PhD Studentship: Climate of the past interglacials in Central Europe
Speleothems such as stalagmites and flowstones are terrestrial environmental archives that can be dated precisely and accurately using uranium series techniques, and can be analysed at very high temporal resolution. This project aims to produce a composite multi-proxy record of environmental change during the last several Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles in Central Europe (including the western Black Sea shore) by studying cave speleothems in this region. Past interglacials can be used as analogues of climate conditions similar or warmer than today’s that were not affected by anthropogenic activities. However, recent compilations of data available for the past interglacial periods have highlighted the lack of well-dated and high-resolution terrestrial climate records, and the difficulty in assessing intra-interglacial climate variability. Similarly, it is difficult to establish the precise timing of interglacial inception and termination in the terrestrial realm. You will work to produce new records of Pleistocene interglacial climate changes in Central Europe, contribute to a greater understanding of the response of the climate system to external forcing under different boundary conditions, give insights into internal climate variability on sub-millennial timescales, and assess the presence of leads/lags in the climate system. These new records can be used to test the ability of coupled general circulation models to simulate the climate in a range of conditions similar or warmer than today’s, and therefore improve our ability to simulate climate variability in the next centuries and millennia. The project requires the use of a combination of stable isotopes, trace elements, and U-Th dating together with high-resolution speleothem micromilling. By interacting with climate modellers you can produce valuable data-model comparisons and investigate the mechanistic links between climate forcing and terrestrial responses. Training instate-of-the-art geochemical analyses, time series analyses, fieldwork skills, and working with large data sets will be provided.