Project EARTH-17-RR3: The Paleoclimatic history of ENSO variance

Supervisor: Prof. Ros Rickaby

Few coupled models capture the complexity of the El Nino Southern Oscillation cycle in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific (ENSO) making the use of models to predict the future of the ENSO system challenging. The paleoceanographic record provides a valuable resource that provides sediments laid down at times of very different climatic conditions. Novel approaches to look at the total variance of the water column based on the analysis of individual foraminifera living at specific thermocline depths offers the potential to chart the evolution of ENSO across warming events in the past and unpick the trends in frequency of El Nino events during times when the planet ahs warmed up.  This project will focus on developing records of ENSO variance over glacial-interglacial cycles in the Pleistocene and at warming periods from the Cenozoic. The student will be trained in paleoceanographic techniques of foraminiferal picking, and ocean atmosphere modeling potentially in connection with the Met Office.