Molecules are forever… and in their structural formulae, they record environmental conditions: temperature, precipitation, nutrient availability, pH. My lab's research focuses on how we can use molecules preserved in sedimentary archives - lake and ocean cores - to learn about past climate change. Why study past climate change (paleoclimate)? Just as history informs us about human behavior, paleoclimate informs us about the nature of climate change on Earth. In doing so, it also helps the climate community predict the effects of anthropogenic global warming. All this, from tiny bits of fat.
Jessica E. Tierney & Martin P. Tingley (2014)
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 127 83--106.
TEX86 is an important proxy for constraining ocean temperatures in the Earth's past. Here we develop and apply a Bayesian regression approach to the SST-TEX86 calibration that explicitly allows for model parameters to smoothly vary as a function of space. Applications to both Quaternary and Eocene TEX86 data demonstrate that our approach produces improved predictions and allows for probabilistic assessments of past temperatures.