I want to extend a very big thankyou to everyone who has taken the time to visit, read and then, perhaps, pass a comment. The debate has been challenging, stimulating and above all polite.
Now I want to move on and consider some key topics and concepts in palaeoscience. Many of these will relate to my area of expertise which is isotope geochemistry and how we can use isotopes to help us characterize natural processes, reaction paths and kinetics. A subject that crops up time and again on the blogs is the oxygen isotope thermometer as applied to ice core, whether it be high latitude, polar or high altitude, tropical. My current idea is to present some of the underlying fundamentals and then move on to discuss some key papers, highlight unresolved issues and hopefully assess the robustness or otherwise of our estimates of past temperatures on different time scales: the last few centuries, the Holocene and then the glacial. Where possible I’ll post pdf’s of papers, raw data and calculations. I’ll also post copies of my lecture notes and some new material that I’m preparing for a new course, that hopefully will translate into a book.
At the same time as writing this blog I also currently hold a university teaching fellowship. During this tenure I am introducing open notebook science into my teaching and encouraging my research students to move over to an open notebook format. Data from my research will be archived and available in as close as real time as possible to my students, other scientists and you. Over the next 3 months I am embarking on an analysis of the hydrogen isotope composition of the Gomez Glacier, Antarctica. There will be about 2,500 sample analyses and about 1000 analyses of standards. These can be combined with my existing oxygen isotope data base and will provide the most detailed and documented set of analyses for an Antarctic Peninsula ice core yet done. The combined oxygen and hydrogen isotope data set will allow us to assess temperatures and source region conditions (temperature, humidity etc.) over the 150 year record of the core. I hope that by making this project public we will all learn a lot, and perhaps discover new insights into the data that may have hitherto been unseen.
It is with some trepidation that I do this. First is I need to get comfortable with the IT technology etc. I need to structure this blog appropriately so that information is readily available to those who want it, yet discrete for those who may be more interested in reading opinion pieces etc. and who don’t want to share in this ‘experiment’. Second, this is a very public demonstration of how I do science and I’m not very aware of how others have approached this, or what their experience has been. Many of my lab book entries will be tedious and concern issues of calibration, fault finding, validation etc. and sometimes the rate at which data appears may be slow. There is a real chance I might make a prat of myself. On the other hand I think it so important that others can share in my science that the benfits will far outweigh any negatives.
So please bear with me over the next week or so as I try and set this up. As background, over the weekend I’ll post copies of my Gomez Glacier work and the data base. They already exist at http://sites.google.com/site/silenvuea/research-highlights/gomez-nunatak , but it will be easier if I collate them all at a single site.
Once again thankyou all for visiting the site.