We study air trapped in bubbles in glacial ice to understand the mechanism of Earth’s climate system, through the record of past climate contained in ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland. Our group develops novel proxy indicators of past temperature, precipitation, and storminess using atmospheric noble gases and their stable isotopes, and is also using noble gases dissolved in groundwater to estimate past water table depth. Past work involved measuring atmospheric methane carbon-14 composition from air bubbles in ice, which revealed that methane hydrates and Arctic permafrost are unlikely to pose a dangerous positive feedback in coming centuries (the so-called “methane bomb”).

Awards and Achievements

  • National Academy of Science ( 2015)
  • Claire C. Patterson Medalist for Environmental Geochemistry ( 2011)