Summary: MODELLING THE INFLUENCE OF EVOLVING POLAR VEGETATION
ON PAST GREENHOUSE CLIMATES
FUNDING ALREADY AVAILABLE Student will be based in Bristol
Supervisors: Dr. Dan Lunt (University of Bristol), Prof Jane Francis (University of Leeds)
Value of studentship: Standard NERC tax free stipend (currently £13290 p.a.) plus a
Research Training Support Grant to cover research expenses.
The aim of this PhD project is to investigate the relationship between Antarctic vegetation, climate and
ice sheet extent from the latest Cretaceous (~70 million years ago) to the early Eocene (~40 million
years ago). This will be done through numerical climate modelling, using state-of-the-art vegetation,
ice sheet and General Circulation Models (GCMs), identical to those used for future climate
projection. The project is an integral part of a larger NERC-funded project involving the British
Antarctic Survey and the universities of Bristol, Leeds and UCL.
Key questions that will be addressed are:
· To what extent did the evolution of polar vegetation during the latest Cretaceous to Eocene
influence polar and global climates, particularly the extent of ice sheets at the poles?
· Is a current generation climate model able to reproduce palaeoclimates that are consistent with
global geological proxy data for these times?
The student will attend the NERC-sponsored Earth System Science summer school, as well as the
Urbino Summer School in palaeoclimatology (in Italy) to broaden his/her understanding of Earth
System Science. S/he will present research seminars at national meetings, and attend international