University of California – Santa Cruz
Western Pacific Warm Pool Sensitivity to Climate Change


The western equatorial Pacific ‘warm pool’ drives meridional and zonal atmospheric circulation; changes in its spatial extent are critical for estimating the magnitude of atmospheric heat transport and global climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (pCO2). I propose to use Mg/Ca paleothermometry to reconstruct past SST from the northeastern margin of the western Pacific warm pool (ODP Site 871) from the mid-Pleistocene to the present day. I will contrast this record with existing temperature records in the heart of the warm pool in order to determine the northern extent of warm (>28ºC) annual mean sea-surface temperature (SST) in the warm pool on glacial-interglacial timescales (0 – 1.5 million years ago), to reveal the relative importance of pCO2 for warm pool extent, and to resolve changes in the rate of atmospheric heat transport as the global temperature warms.


I am from Bluffton, Ohio, and completed my undergraduate degree at Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota. At Carleton, I majored in Geology, but was also interested in the ways in which the rock record was affected by past oceanographic and climate changes. I completed my first oceanographic project with Sea Education Association, sailing across the Pacific from Hawaii to the northwest coast of the U.S. For my senior thesis, I traveled with the Keck Geology Consortium to the Dominican Republic to study tropical Earth system changes in the Caribbean using oxygen isotopes from fossil coral to reconstruct climate change. In graduate school at the University of California Santa Cruz I have participated in research cruises near Hawaii and the Galapagos Islands, working on recent oceanographic and climate change. I am working toward my PhD with Drs. Paul Koch and Christina Ravelo.