Paleoclimate & Water Studies

Nature of Project(s):


Essential Background:

EMSC3027/6027/8027 (Palaeoclimatology and Climate Change), EMSC8022 (Advanced Analytical Techniques) and EMSC 8024 (Foundations of Analytical Techniques and Data Science).


We reconstruct past climates with a view to better understanding future climate change. Australia is an arid continent with limited water. Future growth of the Australian population will depend on having a better understanding of the water resources available in any given area. Our present studies aim to better understand groundwater resources and the history and possible future of rainfall volumes in NSW. At ANU we are fortunate to have an impressive core library that includes material from both marine and terrestrial sites. Analysis of the cores includes investigating physical properties like grain size or magnetic susceptibility, but the most important proxies we look at geochemical in nature. Our laboratories are well equipped with an array of instruments for measuring a host of Paleoclimate proxies, from stable isotopes, to x-ray fluorescence to a number of different inductively coupled plasma instruments for measuring cations (and their isotopes). RSES is well equipped to support our work.

Possible Future Research Avenues:

Paleoclimate Records

We possess a core library that allows us to construct Paleoclimate records from around the Australian region, the Antarctic margin and the North Atlantic. Measuring the stable isotopes of marine organisms forms the backbone of any marine Paleoclimate record these records can then be enhanced by measuring cations on the same material. In this way it is possible to record changes in temperature as well as variations in the chemistry of the ocean going back in time. Potential Masters Students are welcome to approach me with an eye towards tailoring projects to the individual.

Groundwater, Surface Water and Rainfall

We have number of groundwater, surface water and rainfall studies underway from around the ACT and NSW. Measurements include stable isotopes as well as cations and anions of the waters. Many of the studies are focussed on impact of changing geology on the chemistry of ground water as well as efforts to constrain the size of ground water resources in this part of the world. If you are interested in studying this important resource please contact us and we can design a project for you.