About Jessica E. Tierney's Work
The core of my research focuses on generating high-quality records of past climate changes, and using these records to improve our understanding of the Earth’s climate system. I use fossil lipid distributions – commonly called “biomarkers” in the Organic Geochemistry field – to infer past changes in temperature, precipitation, and environmental change. I am actively seeking to develop new ways to use fossil lipids to gain quantitative estimates of past climate change, including the application of machine learning methods and Bayesian statistics. I use the climate reconstructions that I generate to benchmark climate models, testing their ability to simulate the altered climates of the past. This process identifies strengths and weaknesses of the models, ultimately improving the fidelity of future projections of climate change under anthropogenic global warming.