Hamish Couper

Hamish Couper

Postdoctoral U-Th Geochemist

I am a postdoctoral researcher, primarily undertaking column chemistry and measuring uranium and thorium isotopes on a Nu MC-ICP-MS, with the aim of calculating the formation age of secondary calcium carbonates.

My own research, and recently completed DPhil, involves using speleothems (cave deposits), specifically stalagmites, as paleoclimate archives (i.e. the study of climate change back in time) to infer information about past climate change due to the nature of their growth in the cave environment. Stalagmites require water to grow and so just their presence in presently hyper-arid regions such as the Sahara indicates a wetter past. This project uses stalagmites to show that North Africa was once a much wetter environment and constrains the timing and causes of such periods to improve our understanding of the controls on climate dynamics there. By understanding past climate change we can apply that knowledge to how climate may alter in the future.

Verniers, T., Couper, H., Lechleitner, F.A. and Baldini, J.U.L., 2022. Southeast Asian dust flux reconstructed using accurately dated stalagmite thorium concentrations.

Couper, H., Day, C., Maouche, S., Deramchi, A., Carolin, S., Mason, A., El Messaoud Derder, M., Yelles Chaouche, A. and Henderson, G., 2022, May. Northern Sahara speleothems record timing of rainfall and moisture source during Green Sahara periods.