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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Research Staff  /  Charlotte O'Brien

Dr Charlotte O'Brien

Postdoctoral Research Associate


UCL Department of Geography
University College London
North-West Wing, Gower Street
London. WC1E 6BT.
Office: 222

Twitter: @charlyob

2020-Present Research Fellow. Department of Geography, University College London. iAtlantic and NERC ReconAMOC projects.

2019-2020 Research Technician. Department of Geography, University College London. NERC ReconAMOC project.

2015-2018 Gaylord Donnelley Postdoctoral Environmental Fellow. Geology and Geophysics, Yale University. ‘One cold pole’ – Estimating global temperatures for the late Oligocene.

2014-2015 Research Associate. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford. Cretaceous-Paleocene-Eocene: Exploring Climate and Climate Sensitivity - NERC-funded project NE/K014757/1, ‘CPE’.

2013-2014 Research Associate. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford. Investigating the organic geochemistry of the Late Cretaceous to Early Eocene of Seymour Island, Antarctica - NERC-funded project NE/I005803/1, ‘PALEOPOLAR’.

2012-2013 Research Assistant. Department of Earth Sciences, University College London. Investigating the organic geochemistry of the Late Cretaceous to Early Eocene of Seymour Island, Antarctica - NERC-funded project NE/I005803/1, ‘PALEOPOLAR’.

2008-2013 PhD "Reconstructing the climatic and oceanographic evolution of the South China Sea during the Plio-Pleistocene". School of Chemistry, University of Bristol.

2004-2008 M.Sci. Environmental Geoscience (1st Class Hons). Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol.

Google Citations List (here)

O’Brien, C.L., Spooner, P.T., Wharton, J.H., Papachristopoulou, E., Dutton, N., Fairman, D., Garratt, R., Li, T., Pallottino, F., Stringer, F. and Thornalley, D. J. R. (2021). Exceptional 20th Century Shifts in Deep-Sea Ecosystems Are Spatially Heterogeneous and Associated With Local Surface Ocean Variability. Frontiers in Marine Science 8(1376). doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.663009.

Huber, B. T. & O’Brien, C. L. (2021). "Cretaceous Climate" in Encyclopedia of Geology (Second Edition), eds. D. Alderton & S.A. Elias. Oxford: Academic Press, 497-503. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.12068-8.

O’Brien, C. L., Huber, M., Thomas, E., Pagani, M., Super, J. R., Elder, L. E. and Hull, P. M. (2020). The enigma of Oligocene climate and global surface temperature evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 202003914. doi:10.1073/pnas.2003914117.

Super, J. R., Thomas, E., Pagani, M., Huber, M., O'Brien, C. L. and Hull, P. M. (2020). Miocene Evolution of North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 35 (5), e2019PA003748. doi:10.1029/2019PA003748.

Farnsworth, A. J., Lunt, D. J., O’Brien, C. L., Inglis, G. N., Foster, G. L., Markwick, P., Pancost, R. D. and Robinson, S. A. (2019). Climate sensitivity on geological timescales controlled by non-linear feedbacks and ocean circulation. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 9880–9889. doi:10.1029/2019GL083574.

Robinson, S. A., Dickson, A. J., Pain, A., Jenkyns, H. C., O’Brien, C. L., Farnsworth, A. J. and Lunt, D. J. (2019). Southern Hemisphere sea-surface temperatures during the Cenomanian–Turonian: Implications for the termination of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2. Geology, 47,131–134. doi:10.1130/G45842.1.

Super, J. R., Thomas, E., Pagani, M., Huber, M., O’Brien, C. L. and Hull, P. M. (2018). North Atlantic temperature and pCO2 coupling in the early-middle Miocene. Geology 46, 519–522. doi:10.1130/G40228.1.

Lord, N. S., Crucifix, M., Lunt, D. J., Thorne, M. C., Bounceur, N., Dowsett, H., O’Brien, C. L. and Ridgwell, A. (2017). Emulation of long-term changes in global climate: Application to the late Pliocene and future. Climate of the Past, 13, 1539–1571. doi:10.5194/cp-13-1539-2017.

O’Brien, C. L., Robinson, S. A., Pancost, R. D., Sinninghe 
Damsté, J. S., Schouten, S., Lunt, D. J., Alsenz, H., Bornemann, A., Bottini, C., Brassell, S. C., Farnsworth, A., Forster, A., Huber, B. T., Inglis, G. N., Jenkyns, H. C., Linnert, C., Littler, K., Markwick, P., McAnena, A., Mutterlose, J., Püttmann, W., Sluijs, A., van Helmond, N. A. G. M., Vellekoop, J., Wagner, T. and Wrobel, N. E. (2017). Cretaceous sea-surface temperature evolution: Constraints from TEX86 and planktonic foraminiferal oxygen isotopes, Earth-Science Reviews, 172, 224–247. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.07.012.

Robinson, S. A., Ruhl, M., Astley, D., Naafs, B. D. A., Farnsworth, A. J., Bown, R. P., Jenkyns, H. C., Lunt, D. J., O’Brien, C. L., Pancost, R. D. and Markwick, P.J. (2017). Early Jurassic North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures from TEX86 palaeothermometry. Sedimentology 64, 215–230. doi:10.1111/sed.12321.

Lunt, D. J., Farnsworth, A., Loptson, C., Foster, G. L., Markwick, P., O’Brien, C. L., Pancost, R. D., Robinson, S. A., and Wrobel, N. (2016). Palaeogeographic controls on climate and proxy interpretation, Climate of the Past, 12, 1181–1198. doi:10.5194/cp-12-1181-2016.

O’Brien, C. L., Foster, G. L., Rae, J. W. B. and Pancost, R. D. (2015). Reply to ‘Pliocene warmth and gradients’. Nature Geoscience 8, 420. doi:10.1038/ngeo2445.

O’Brien, C. L., Foster, G. L., Martínez-Botí, M. Á., Abell, R., Rae, J. W. B. and Pancost, R. D. (2014). High sea surface temperatures in tropical warm pools during the Pliocene, Nature Geoscience 7, 606–611. doi:10.1038/ngeo2194.

Kemp, D.B., Robinson, S.A., Crame, J.A., Francis, J.E., Ineson, J., Whittle, R.J., Bowman, V. and O’Brien, C. L. (2014). A cool temperate climate on the Antarctic Peninsula through the late Cretaceous to early Paleogene, Geology 42, 583–586. doi:10.1130/G35512.1.

  • North Atlantic productivity and circulation
  • Palaeoceanography and paleoclimatology of the North Atlantic
  • Reconstruction of past warm climates
  • Geochemical sea surface temperature proxies
  • Organic geochemistry
  • Grain size analysis


Contribution to GEOG0123 Climate Proxies (Organic Geochemistry)