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PhD Candidate, Graduate Assistant
I study the role of atmospheric dust in the climate system. Dust has a cooling effect on global climate, and can be used to trace atmospheric circulation patterns and to understand paleoenvironmental changes in dust source regions. I am particularly interested in understanding how dust controls iron geochemistry, because iron is the limiting nutrient to primary producers in the Southern Ocean. Aerosol iron fertilization of photosynthetic algae can lead to decreased atmospheric CO2 concentrations; thus, dust indirectly modulates this greenhouse gas. Using ice cores, I measure changes in dust and trace element chemistry over decadal to millennial timescales, as well as shorter-term geochemical changes that can accompany abrupt events such as volcanic eruptions or shifts in atmospheric circulation. By developing a new high-resolution ice core record of dust and trace element deposition from West Antarctica, I am working to answer remaining questions about dust source, the controls on iron biogeochemistry, and the climatic significance of atmospheric dust during the late Holocene.
Learn how we analyze ice cores: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKVqEnFVSCU
See how snowpit studies can inform ice core research: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qemGSgNuFZY
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