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Holly Winton

BA Canterbury (2007);
Graduate Certificate Canterbury (2008)

MSc Candidate in Ice Core Climatology

Thesis title:
Dust flux during major storm events in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, and their contribution to biogeochemical cycling in the southern Ross Sea


Dr Nancy Bertler
Dr Gavin Dunbar

Project aim & description:

To understand how the flux of dust into McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, varies over time and the contribution of the dust flux to phytoplankton blooms in the southern Ross Sea.

Polar snow and ice act as natural sediment traps, recording the changing dust flux on seasonal to millennial timescales. This project aims to develop the most appropriate analytical technique for quantifying seasonal dust layers from coastal firn cores recovered from the McMurdo Ice Shelf, in terms of their abundance and size distribution. A series of five shallow cores from the McMurdo Ice Shelf and a deeper core to be drilled this coming season, will be sampled for dust measurements and δ18O and δD isotope ratios, which will provide a decadal record of dust fallout in the southern McMurdo Sound. Aeolian dust is a significant source of iron to the ocean, which is the limiting nutrient for phytoplankton to undergo photosynthesises especially in the Southern Ocean. This project will contribute to our understanding of how variability in the flux of dust affects phytoplankton growth, and this biogeochemical cycling, which is thought to be a significant sink of atmospheric CO2, and therefore an extremely important control on atmospheric CO2 levels.


Holly Winton

Contact details:
Room: Cotton 422
Phone: +64 4 463 5233 xtn 8376
Fax: +64 4 463 5186

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