Isotopes in Climate Change and Atmospheric Systems



In this project, ANSTO's nuclear-based technologies and analytical capabilities are used to study how the Earth's climate systems have changed, and how the land surface interacts with the atmosphere. 

The Isotopes in Climate Change and Atmospheric Systems project utilises isotopic ratios to study paleo-climate variability over the past few millions years, up to the last few centuries, to better understand ocean, land and atmospheric interactions of the climate system. Isotopic tracers are also used to study and monitor pollution sources, transport and mixing in the lower atmosphere to improve human health.


The Isotopes in Climate Change and Atmospheric Systems Project has two key tasks:



Climate Change and Atmospheric Systems Project (CcASH)

The CcASH project has been running since 2005 and focuses on select Southern Hemisphere records to enhance our understanding of past climate variability, the changing environment and landscape evolution in Australasia and Antarctica. It aims to establish the dates and rates of Earth's past climate system, archived in corals, speleothems, lake and ocean sediments, tree-rings, glacial deposits and ice-cores and compare this data to similar archives in the Northern Hemisphere.


This research is supported by ANSTO's world-class ANTARES and STAR accelerators, applying Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) techniques in radiocarbon dating and exposure age dating.


Atmospheric Mixing and Pollution Transport (AMPT)

The AMPT uses nuclear-based techniques to understand the processes of exchange, mixing and transport of key climate-related gases and pollutants in the lower atmosphere in order to improve weather and climate prediction models.


Pollution and greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere from the Earth's surface can remain close to the ground, potentially causing health problems for the local population, or they can be mixed upwards into the lower part of the atmosphere where they can be transported across regions, countries and continents.


The AMPT study includes tower observations, airborne campaigns, regional sources and transport, surface observations and source evaluation. See project page here



David Fink (Task Leader)
Phone: +61 2 9717 3048