Rachel is a first year PhD student who is working on reconstructing deep ocean circulation during the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO), a particularly warm period in Earth's history. This project forms part of SWEET - a multidisciplinary NERC large grant, involving researchers at the University of Bristol, Southampton, Cardiff University, Open University, Northumbria University and Imperial College. SWEET itself is closely aligned with the international which is the Deep-Time Model Intercomparison Project (DeepMIP - https://www.deepmip.org). Rachel is working with Tina van de Flierdt (Imperial) and Dan Lunt (Bristol).
Methods used in this project will include:
- Analysing the Neodymium isotope composition of fossil fish teeth in and around the EECO window (~52.0 Ma to ~50.3 Ma), which will be carried out in the MAGIC laboratories at Imperial College London
- Running simulations of the Eocene climate with the coupled atmosphere-ocean model HadCM3, which will be carried out in the BRIDGE research group at the University of Bristol
- Model-data comparison and ocean sensitivity studies will then be performed in order to constrain key uncertainties within Eocene deep ocean circulation models.
By evaluating how well climate models reflect the way the Earth's system operated in past warm periods, the accuracy of their predictions of how a warmer world will function in the near future will become clearer, as will any improvements that are needed to refine the models.
Rachel studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge from 2014-2018, where she specialised in Earth Sciences. She graduated with a BA and MSci in June 2018. Her masters project looked at tracing weathering processes over the Cenozoic by using the lithium isotope record of seawater, and was supervised by Oliver Shorttle, Ed Tipper and Mike Bickle.