The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than any other region of the southern hemisphere over the past 50 years. But the short observational records of Antarctic climate don’t allow for an understanding of how unusual this recent climate warming may be. In this seminar I will present reconstructions of temperature and melt history from a highly resolved ice core record from James Ross Island on the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula. The isotope-derived temperature reconstruction gives a statistical framework to assess the rapid recent warming of the Antarctic Peninsula, and in conjunction with a spatial network of proxy records provides insights into the underlying climatic drivers. Visible melt layers in the James Ross Island ice core also yield a unique insight into the response of ice melt to changing temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula over the last 1000 years, with implications for future ice shelf and ice sheet stability in the region.
After her undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney, Nerilie studied for her PhD at the Australian National University where she used corals from Sumatra to learn about climate variability in the tropical Indian Ocean. She then worked for seven years as an ice core researcher at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, which included fieldwork on James Ross Island on the Antarctic Peninsula and for the NEEM deep ice core in Greenland. In 2011 Nerilie returned to ANU as a QEII research fellow awarded by the Australian Research Council. Nerilie’s research focus now spans from the tropics to Antarctica with the goal of improving understanding of the climate processes that affect Australia’s rainfall patterns. Nerilie has recently returned from a two month field season in east Antarctica where she was involved in a multinational project lead by the Australian Antarctic Division to retrieve a new 2000-year ice core climate record from Aurora Basin.