Dr Ian Bailey



Rationale and Approach

To better understand the likely response of Earth’s climate system to anthropogenic carbon emissions over the 21st century and beyond there is a pressing need to document the history, and elucidate the driving mechanisms responsible, for a variety of past warmer and colder than present climate states. With this goal in mind, my current research focuses on understanding the trends and origin of Cenozoic climate change. My work spans diverse topics including abrupt climate change, the role of aeolian dust in the climate system, palaeo-ocean circulation, and the links between climate, erosion and tectonics. I am most interested, however, in learning about what marine sediments (and especially what their terrigenous components) tell us about what is happening to climate on land, with an emphasis on the evolution of northern hemisphere continental ice sheets and the hydrological cycle during the warm Pliocene and glacial Quaternary of the past five million years.

I reconstruct these features of Earth’s climate system using the sedimentology, palaeomagnetics and stable/radiogenic-isotope composition of North Atlantic, North Pacific and Arctic Ocean sediments, including the use of quantitative SEM tools (QEMSCAN), novel detrital mineral provenance techniques (e.g. Pb-isotopes in feldspars via laser ablation) and Nd isotopes in fish teeth. I am currently involved in developing a provenance tool for modern-day Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) ice-rafted debris and iceberg calving sources (with Craig Storey, Portsmouth, Gavin Foster, NOCS and John Andrews, CU-Boulder).



During my career I have acquired extensive field experience spanning both terrestrial lake coring and seagoing time on the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) JOIDES Resolution (e.g. North Atlantic Exp. 306). I am an active member of the IODP community. I am a shore-based participant in IODP Expeditions 342 (Newfoundland Ridges) and 341 (Alaskan Margin), which for the latter I am addressing the relationship between tectonics, erosion and climate and reconstructing mid to late Pleistocene palaeoceanography of the NE Pacific Ocean at an unprecedented resolution using ultrafast accumulating Surveyor Fan sediments (upto ~200 cm ka-1). I am also currently involved in an internationally-collaborative proposal for IODP drilling of the Gulf of Corinth (879-Full: Drilling the Corinth Rift: Resolving the detail of active rift development) to better understand the mechanisms behind rift initiation and the Quaternary climate of the eastern Mediterranean.