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Reconstructing variations in the timing and intensity of past climate perturbations in Northern Europe during the Holocene

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J E Schofield
    Prof K Edwards
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Past episodes of climate change are key analogues for improved understanding and prediction of future scenarios. This project will focus on significant climate changes during the Holocene, such as the 8.2 ka event and the ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA; ca AD 1200-1900), in an effort to improve our understanding of the timing, pattern and magnitude of response of pan-North Atlantic environments to past climate perturbations. The 8.2 ka event is significant because this rapid but short-lived climatic deterioration is likely to have been caused by a sudden input of freshwater into the North Atlantic Ocean, a scenario which may have resonance for events in the near future due to increased runoff from melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The LIA is important because it can be analysed with high precision, using not only climatic proxies, but also information from direct measurements and anecdotal historical records. This PhD will synthesise the broad range of proxy data which are already available on this subject, and will augment these with newly acquired palaeoecological and/or glaciological information from ‘climate sensitive’ locations across the North Atlantic region. Individuals who are highly motivated, with a background in earth, environmental, ocean or atmospheric sciences, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Essential Background: Equivalent of 2.1 Honours Degree in Geography, Geology, Geoscience, Environmental Science

Knowledge of: Quaternary palaeoenvironments, ideally with field and lab experience in one of the following areas: palynology, palaeoecology, palaeoglaciology, climatology, sedimentology

The other supervisors on this project are Dr Brice Rea and Dr Matteo Spagnolo (Uni of Aberdeen, Geography and Environment)

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting There is NO funding attached to this project. You can find details of living costs and the like by visiting


This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Geography. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for PhD in Geography, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr J E Schofield ([email protected]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit ([email protected]).

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