Past climates from sediment provenance

How did wind, water, and ice move sediment thousands or millions of years ago?

What does that mean the environment looked like at the time?

What can that tell us about our present and future climate?

a photo of Tom Arney, with the snow-covered Canadian Rockies mountains in the background

My current focus as a final-year PhD candidate in Southampton is the history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. I use the isotopic geochemistry of iceberg-rafted debris to determine the extent of the ice sheet through the Plio-Pleistocene. If we understand this better, we can better predict how Antarctica will respond to a warmer world, with big implications for global sea level rise.

More: my PhD project biography (CV).


My PhD project has grown to include collaborators from each of the institutions below. Coordinating meetings and the work of so many disparate people and labs has sometimes been challenging, but working with lots of clever people all over the world is one of the best parts of academia.

University of SouthamptonBritish Antarctic SurveyHeidelberg UniversityUniversity College DublinAlfred Wegener InstitutToyama UniversityUniversity of PortsmouthColorado CollegeUniversity of CambridgeBritish Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility
a photo of a man in bright orange waterproofs on the working deck of a ship in sea ice

Antarctic expedition

The highlight of my PhD so far was sailing as a micropalaeontologist on a marine geology expedition on the German research icebreaker Polarstern. Read a series of letters I wrote documenting the two months I spent on the East Antarctic coast here.

Photo shows me engaged in the glamorous job of "deck monkey", clearing mud off the deck (though with a nice view).

a man in a red hard hat pointing at some rocks, explaining something


I've helped deliver practical sessions covering palaeoceanography, ocean biogeochemistry, geological mapping, statistics, spectral analysis, R and MATLAB, and field courses (my favourite) on the Jurassic Coast and in Pembrokeshire (as seen, in dynamic teaching stance, in the neighbouring paparazzi shot).