UCL Department of Geography


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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Research Students  /  Jack Wharton

Jack Wharton


Department of Geography
University College London
North-West Wing
Gower Street



Dr David Thornalley
Professor Mark Maslin

Funded by:

Current Research

Title: Thermal structure of the northwest Atlantic during the Quaternary

Abstract: Ocean circulation is a critical component of the earth’s climate system, which it affects via its capacity to store and redistribute heat between the atmosphere, surface ocean, and deep ocean. In particular, AMOC variability is linked to changes in the mean position of the Inter- tropical Convergence Zone, regional warming in the Nordic Seas, and has even been invoked as a player in abrupt paleoclimate shifts. Ocean temperature is both a tracer and driver of ocean circulation, and given the strong link between ocean circulation and climate, determining the temperature evolution of the oceans is vital in order to develop a better understanding of past climate change. Since modern observations are limited to the last ~150 years at most, paleoceanographic proxies are required to reconstruct past changes in ocean circulation beyond the instrumental record. Over the last few decades there has been remarkable progress in the development of elemental and isotopic proxies, including refinements in foraminiferal Mg/Ca and clumped isotope paleothermometry. When used in combination, these proxies have the potential to deliver robust estimates of oceanic thermal structure and will therefore provide new insights into past ocean circulation that will enable the testing and improvement of climate model simulations used for future predictions.

Impact: The importance of this research is twofold. Firstly, since temperature is both a control and tracer of ocean circulation, the records generated in this study will provide fundamental knowledge regarding past ocean temperatures, as well as new insights into past ocean circulation. Secondly, temperature reconstructions from fundamentally different time periods will enable testing and improvement of model simulations, whereas temperature reconstructions from analogous time periods will also provide insight into climate processes during periods of excess warmth.


Academic qualifications

2018-present, University College London
London NERC DTP PhD Candidate

2015-2018, University College London
BSc (Hons) Geography (First Class Honours)
BSc Dissertation: ‘Reconstructing AMOC over the past 7,000 years: Is the Industrial Era weakening an unprecedented event?’