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Paul Wilson

Professor Paul Wilson

Professor Paul Wilson

Research Fellow

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Perturbations and transitions in Cenozoic climate states

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Organisation: University of Southampton

Dates: Aug 2014-Jul 2019

Value: £50,000

Summary: Carbon dioxide, CO2, is a powerful greenhouse gas and its concentration in Earth's atmosphere has increased by around 35% since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Levels are now higher than at any time in the past 800 thousand year (kyr) as recorded by air bubbles trapped in polar ice cores. Projections for ongoing man-made CO2 emissions show that, by 2100, levels will reach those estimated for the mid-Cenozoic Era (ca. 40 million years ago) when Earth was much warmer and less glaciated than today featuring, for example, a genuinely green Greenland. What are the implications of this geological record for the year 2050 and beyond? My research focuses on understanding the stability of different past climate states (Cretaceous to Holocene), the mechanisms of transition between these climate states, the origin and stability of early ice sheets, extreme perturbations to the carbon cycle and the hydrological responses to climate forcing.

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