University of St Andrews

European Funding: Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM)

Monday 01 October 2012

Dr William Austin (Reader in Physical Geography) has been awarded funding support via the European COST* action INTIMATE (Integrating Ice Core, Marine and Terrestrial Records) network for a new project: "A quantitative Sea Surface Temperature reconstruction of the GS-9 to GI-8 abrupt warming transition in the North Atlantic".

The purpose of the project is to build a quantitative Sea Surface Temperature reconstruction based on the Mg/Ca analysis of planktonic foraminifera from the North East Atlantic through an interval of very abrupt climate warming during the last glacial period. Tephra (volcanic ash) characterised as geochemically matched to tephra in the NGRIP (Greenland Summit) ice core record will allow direct comparison with the NGRIP oxygen isotope record, based on an alignment of the tephra. Such tephra isochrones (time-lines) provide an important test of climate phasing during past intervals of abrupt climate change.

This work will be undertaken by Dr Austin during a sabbatical visit to Germany and is being hosted by Dr Jeroen Groeneveld and colleagues at MARUM (Center for Marine Environmental Sciences), University of Bremen (

*COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. COST contributes to reducing the fragmentation in European research investments and opening the European Research Area to cooperation worldwide.

The photograph below shows an example of a tephra (volcanic ash) shard recovered from IODP core U1304, North Atlantic (photograph credit: Marion Kuhs, NERC PhD student, University of St Andrews).