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Ocean and Climate Systems

The Ocean and Climate Research Group (OCS RG) works on a variety of processes and timescales within the ocean-climate system.

The Ocean and Climate Systems Research Group investigates a variety of climate change processes and consequences within the ocean-climate system.

We use field research, palaeoclimate records, numerical modelling, and policy research to investigate climate change over a range of timescales. We are interested in interactions between different components of the Earth System, and the impacts of climate change on society.

Our expertise in numerical modelling, geochemistry, policy development, and risk analysis is used to address some of the major questions about the dynamics and impacts of our changing climate system.

Aims

We aim to understand a range of causes and consequences of change in the climate system, including:

  • ice sheet stability
  • sea level change and coastal governance
  • mechanisms of abrupt climate change
  • ocean acidification
  • climate risk and resilience
  • weather extremes
  • water resources
  • interactions between climate and social behaviour.

Numerical modelling

We work on developing and utilizing a variety of numerical models at a range of scales, from modelling lakes on the surface of Antarctica’s ice shelves, to regional climate modelling, investigating climate extremes, and climate projection development. Our developments include a hydrological model for drylands in order to simulate the impact of climate change on regions prone to water scarcity, and dust emission modelling to understand the impact of mineral dust on the atmosphere and carbon cycle. Our work also influences larger Earth System Models so that the processes we are working on are accounted for in larger studies of global processes.

Geochemistry and palaeoclimate records

We generate geochemical records of past climate change to reconstruct past changes in ice sheet stability, ocean acidification and oxygenation, and climate sensitivity. We also use palaeoclimate records to understand the causes of abrupt climate change and ocean-climate interactions on a range of timescales.

Ocean and coastal governance

We develop model institutional and policy frameworks to deliver Integrated Coastal Management (ICM). We are actively involved in the development and day-to-day running of a number of international, national and more local coastal and estuary management projects, including EUROCOAST, CoastNET, Arfordir, and the local Severn Estuary Strategy.

Climate risk and resilience

In a warming climate, we expect to see changes to hazardous weather events, such as windstorms, heatwaves, fire weather, drought and flooding. Understanding how much, where and when such changes are likely to occur is critically important so that we can prepare for changes and become more resilient to climate change. Such understanding is developed by studying climate change information produced by sophisticated climate models, investigating behavioural characteristics and socio-economic factors of communities and individuals that can act to enhance or reduce their exposure to weather hazards.

Water resources

We are working on the translation of climate information into multilevel decision support for social adaptation, policy development and resilience to water scarcity in drylands of East Africa. We are also studying groundwater recharge processes in global drylands and their quantification and sensitivities to environmental change. We also investigate the intersection of water, ecosystems, society and technologies, focusing on three main themes:

  • hydro-socio-ecological systems under change
  • resilience and environmental hazard
  • innovative data technologies for the environment and development.

Climate and society

Our research embodies the interaction between social-economic activities and natural systems. We are broadly interested in exploring how human behaviour affects the natural environment, and in examining how policy can lead to consumer behaviour change that improves sustainability. Projects include the effect of climate change and air pollution on human activities such as driving and tourism, as well as the effectiveness of environmental and energy policies at the micro-level.

Funding

Lear, C.H. and Pearson, P. N. Super Warm Early Eocene Temperatures. NERCNE/P019102/1. October 2017-September 2022, £722,067

Pearson, P. N., Barker, S. and Wade, B. S. Ocean carbon cycling since the Miocene: testing the metabolic hypothesis. NERC standard grant NE/N001621/1. January 2016-January 2019, £747,000

Cuthbert, M. O. Groundwater recharge in global drylands: processes, quantification & sensitivities to environmental change. NERC NE/P017819/1. August 2017-July 2022, £717,000

Pearson, P. N. Expedition 363 West Pacific Warm Pool: planktonic foraminifer biostratigraphy and the evolution of Pulleniatina. NERC IODP Moratorium proposal. Submitted September 2016; already accepted for expedition, £43,720, including 2 months full time FEC plus 1 hour per week FEC

Pearson, P. N. Tanzania Onshore Paleogene Integrated Coring (TOPIC). Approved ICDP grant, $1,000,000

Pearson, P. N. and Saraswati, P. K. Developing records of Paleogene greenhouse climate states from geological sections in India. Royal Society India - UK Scientific Seminar Scheme. 2014, £5,000

Pike, J. IODP Exp. 362-Carbonate accumulation events in the Eocene Indian Ocean. NERC/UK IODP Moratorium Award. NE/P021182/1. February 2017-July 2017, £24,930

Pearson, P. N., Hudson, W., Nicholas, C. J., Thomas, E. and Wade, B. S. Tanzania Onshore Paleogene Integrated Coring. International Continental Scientific Drilling Project Workshop. 2014, $65,000, £43,000

Pearson, P. N., Foster, G. L., Bown, P., Gibbs, S., Pälike, H. and Sexton, P. Abrupt Ocean Acidification Events. NERC / DERFA / DECC grant NE/H017518/1. January 2011– December 2014, £690,000

Pearson, P. N., and Lear, C. Descent into the Icehouse. NERC Standard grant NE/I005870/1. May 2011– November 2014, £378,000 to Cardiff

Bailey, T. R., and Lear, C. Raising public awareness of Ocean Acidification via a pop-up museum. NERC. 2016-2017, £16,400

Lear, C. Pliocene Palaeoclimate off SE Africa. NERC UK IODP Moratorium Grant. 2016-2017, £70,694

Lear, C. A revised record of ice volume change through the Neogene and its impact on carbonate reservoirs offshore Kenya. NERC and BG Group. 2014-2018,  £117,504

Lear, C. Paleoceanographic records from the NW Pacific. NERC UK IODP Moratorium Grant. 2014-2015, £44,397

Barker, S. Glacial terminations of the Plio-Pleistocene. IODP Exp 361 SAFARI Moratorium grant. UK NERC directed grant. NERC ref NE/P000878/1. 2016-2019, £48,887

Abbott, P., Barker, S. and Jaccard, S. SHARP “Southern Ocean and Antarctic Climatic Phasing: Tephrochronological Correlation of Southern Ocean Marine Records and Antarctic Ice-cores”. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship. 2016-2019, £213,718

Skov, M., Ballinger, R. C., Beaumont, N., Bouma, T., Fowler, M., Garbutt, A., Griffin, J. and Litt, E. RESILCOAST, Integrating ecosystem resilience into coastal planning for the persistence of natural flood protection and wetland ecosystem services. NRN-LCRE Project. 2014-2018, £568,000 (Cardiff £223,000)

Ballinger, R. C. Current understanding of saltmarsh habitat in the Severn Estuary and perceptions of managed realignment. NERC Marine Renewable Energy Knowledge Exchange Programme. 2015-2016, £12,379

Ballinger, R. C. Evaluation of terrestrial planning documents for the Wales National Marine Plan. 2015-2016, £12,000

Mossman, H., Dunk, R., Thomson, C., Haigh, I. Ballinger, R. C. and McKinley, E. M. Engagement with contemporary issues in coastal management. NERC Engagement Pilot. 2016-2017, £3,350

Ballinger, R. C. Litter Free Coast and Sea Somerset, Wessex Water, Environment Agency and Sedgemoor District Council. 2015-2018, £99,507

McKinley, E. M., Taylor, L. and Ballinger, R. C. UK SEAS Project. WWF. 2017-2018, £12,484

Beaumont, N., Read, S., Day, B., Ballinger, R. C., Griffin, J., Skov, M., Henwood, K., Pidgeon, N. and Moller, I. CoastWEB: Valuing the contribution which Coastal habitats make to human health and Wellbeing, with a focus on the alleviation of natural hazards. Valuing Nature (Health and Wellbeing). SEP 15 NERC. 2016- 2019, £1,060,267 (£555,962 Cardiff)

Selected publications

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Ocean carbon cycling since the middle Miocene

This project focuses on marine carbon cycling since the Middle Miocene Climate Optimum (MMCO) 15 million years ago.

Find out more about the 'ocean carbon cycling since the middle Miocene' project

Academic staff

Dr Morten Andersen

Dr Morten Andersen

Senior Lecturer

Email
andersenm1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4943
Dr Rhoda Ballinger

Dr Rhoda Ballinger

Reader

Email
ballingerrc@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6671
Professor Stephen Barker

Professor Stephen Barker

Professor in Earth Science

Email
barkers3@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4328
Dr Samantha Buzzard

Dr Samantha Buzzard

Lecturer in Climate Science

Email
buzzards@cardiff.ac.uk
Professor Adrian Chappell

Professor Adrian Chappell

Professor in Climate Change Impacts

Email
chappella2@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 0642
Dr Mark Cuthbert

Dr Mark Cuthbert

Principal Research Fellow and Lecturer

Email
cuthbertm2@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4051
Dr Claire Earlie

Dr Claire Earlie

Lecturer in Coastal Processes

Email
earliec@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5563
Dr Marie Ekström

Dr Marie Ekström

Lecturer in Climate Risk and Resilience

Email
ekstromm@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44(0) 29 2068 8788
Professor Ian Hall

Professor Ian Hall

Head of School, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Research Professor

Email
hall@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5612 / +44 (0)29 2087 6689
Dr Pan He

Dr Pan He

Lecturer in Environmental Science and Sustainability

Email
hep3@cardiff.ac.uk
Professor Carrie Lear

Professor Carrie Lear

Professor in Earth Science

Email
learc@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 9004
Shasta Marrero

Shasta Marrero

Lecturer in Environmental and Physical Geography

Email
marreros@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4579
Dr Jenny Pike

Dr Jenny Pike

Deputy Head
Director of Learning and Teaching
Reader

Email
pikej@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5181
Dr Sindia Sosdian

Dr Sindia Sosdian

Senior Lecturer

Email
sosdians@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4330
Dr Michael Singer

Dr Michael Singer

Reader
Deputy Director of the Water Research Institute

Email
singerm2@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6257

Postgraduate students

No profile image

Jalila Al Bahri

Research student

Email
albahrijs@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5874
No profile image

Danielle Buchanan

Research student

Email
buchanandh@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5874

Sarah Gore

Research student

Email
goresj@cardiff.ac.uk
alt

Annalise Hooper

Research student

Email
hooperas@cardiff.ac.uk
Sophie Nuber

Sophie Nuber

Research student

Email
nubers@cardiff.ac.uk
No profile image

Ellie Pryor

Research student

Email
pryore1@cardiff.ac.uk
alt

Sophie Slater

Research student

Email
slaters3@cardiff.ac.uk
No profile image

Romy Sabathier

Research student

Email
sabathierr@cardiff.ac.uk
No profile image

Aidan Starr

Research student

Email
starra1@cardiff.ac.uk
alt

Kasongo Shutsha

Research student

Email
shutshake@cardiff.ac.uk
Jamie Williams

James Williams

Research student

Email
williamsja8@cardiff.ac.uk
No profile image

Edisson Quichimbo Miguitama

Research student

Email
quichimbomiguitamaea@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
07522563236

Associated staff

Eleanor John

Eleanor John

Research Associate

Email
johne11@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6665
Dr Emma McKinley

Dr Emma McKinley

Research Fellow

Email
mckinleye1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4573
Dr Michael Nairn

Dr Michael Nairn

Senior Technician in Laser Ablation ICPMS Analysis

Email
nairnmg@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 20874 326
Dr Sandra Nederbragt

Dr Sandra Nederbragt

Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometer Specialist

Email
nederbragta@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6665
Lindsey Owen

Lindsey Owen

Palaeoclimate Research Lab Manager

Email
owenl5@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6665 (6689 for lab)
Dr Philip Staudigel

Dr Philip Staudigel

Research Associate in Diagenetic/Geochemical Modelling

Email
staudigelp@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4325
Dr Amy Thomas - Sparkes

Dr Amy Thomas - Sparkes

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Email
sparkesav@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4325

CELTIC facility

The Cardiff Environmental Laboratory for Trace Element and Isotope Chemistry hosts a Nu Plasma II MC-ICP-MS for radiogenic and stable isotope analyses. It is also equipped with a Thermo Scientific™ ELEMENT XR™ HR-ICP-MS. The Element XR is a double focusing mass analyser (magnetic sector and electrostatic sector), which benefits from high resolution, a large dynamic range and precise analysis at low concentrations (ppt-ppq).

The Facility also hosts an Excimer Laser Ablation System (ASI Resolution), which can be coupled to either mass spectrometer. The Facility has two class 1000 clean rooms dedicated for low blank processing of geological samples for isotope measurements.

Stable isotope facility

The facility is equipped with a Finnigan MAT 252 and 253 mass spectrometer attached to a Kiel carbonate device, and Delta V advantage mass-spectrometer coupled with a GasBench-II and Flash EFCt Elemental Analyser.

Find out more about the Stable Isotope facility

Electron microbeam facility

The Electron Microbeam facility in the Earth and Environmental Sciences houses two Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) and an X-ray Diffractometer. The SEM is used for characterisation, imaging and analysis of sub-micron features in materials. The X-ray Diffractometer is used for identifying and characterising minerals, either alone or in complex mixtures.

Find out more about the Electron Microbeam facility