Jonathan Burley

Jonathan Burley

Postgraduate
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 272036

I am a geophysicist working on the interactions between volcanism and glacial cycles over the past million years.

The key hypothesis behind my work is that there is a feedback between glaciation and volcanism. This hypothesis requires that glacial cycles can affect volcanism, and that volcanism can affect climate.  Is this plausible?  I believe so: Glacial cycles move over 1019 kg of water between oceans and land-based ice sheets, significantly changing the pressure on the seafloor and near those ice sheets. Volcanic systems are sensitive to pressure, and several volcanic parameters should vary in response to glacial cycles. In particular, volcanic CO2 emissions should vary, affecting the climate and thus glacial cycles. I investigate the magnitude of volcanic responses to glacial cycles, and whether these volcanic responses meaningfully alter glacial cycles.

My work focuses on using simplified models of the key physics to calculate probable behaviour of these complex systems: the transport of CO2 in the mantle, and million-year climate trends.