Ocean & Climate Change


We research a variety of ocean and climate change topics over different timescales, but mostly over the past 1 million years, using marine sediment cores. We perform an array of analyses, in wide-ranging collaborations both within ANU and outside, with a strong international outlook. We routinely include probabilistic statistical analyses and quantitative assessments in our results-analyses and interpretations. We collaborate with experts in Earth System, ice-sheet, and Glacio-Isostatic Adjustment modelling, and in geochronology and archaeology. Critical topics concern sea-level change, climate sensitivity, monsoon changes, impacts on biogeochemical cycles (especially the carbon cycle), and the processes behind organic-rich sediment deposition.

For some introductory videos of the group and what we do, see:



  • Publications directly related to, and supported by, Australian Laureate Fellowship project FL120100050:
  • Rohling, E.J., The oceans: a deep history. Princeton University Press, in press, November 2017.  (book for the general audience)
  • Goodwin, P., Haigh, I.D.,  Rohling, E.J., and Slangen, A., A new approach to projecting 21st century sea-level changes and extremes. Earth's Future, 5, doi:10.1002/2016EF000508, 14 pp., 2017.
  • Chang, L., Bolton, C.T., Dekkers, M.J., Hayashida, A., Heslop, D., Krijgsman, W., Kodama, K., Paterson, G.A., Roberts, A.P., Rohling, E.J., Yamamoto, Y., and Zhao, X., Asian monsoon modulation of nonsteady state diagenesis in hemipelagic marine sediments offshore of Japan. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 17, doi:10.1002/2016GC006344, 16 pp., 2016.
  • von der Heydt, A.S., Dijkstra, H.A., van de Wal, R.S.W., Caballero, R., Crucifix, M., Foster, G.L., Huber, M., Köhler, P., Rohling, E.J., Valdes, P.J., Ashwin, P., Bathiany, S., Berends, T., van Bree, L.G.J., Ditlevsen, P., Ghil, M., Haywood, A., Katsav, J., Lohmann, G., Lohmann, J., Lucarini, V., Marzocchi, A., Pälike, H., Ruvalcaba Baroni, I., Simon, D., Sluijs, A., Stap, L.B., Tantet, A., Viebahn, J., and Ziegler, M., Lessons on climate sensitivity from past climate changes. Current Climate Change Reports, doi:10.1007/s40641-016-0049-3, 2016.
  • Rohling, E.J., Without a longer-term view, the Paris Agreement will lock in warming for centuries. The Conversation, August 24, 2016.Rohling, E.J., Without a longer-term view, the Paris Agreement will lock in warming for centuries. The Conversation, August 24, 2016.
  • Thirumalai, K., Quinn, T.M., Marino, G. Constraining past seawater δ18O and temperature records developed from foraminiferal geochemistry. Paleoceanography, 31, 1409–1422. doi: 10.1002/2016PA002970, 2016.
  • Rohling, E.J., Of lakes and fields: a framework for reconciling palaeoclimatic drought inferences with archaeological impacts. Journal of Archaeological Science, 73, 17–24, 2016.
  • Sivan D., Sisma-Ventura G., Greenbaum N., Bialik O.M., Williams, F.H., Tamisiea, M.E., Rohling, E.J., Frumkin, A., Avnaim-Katav S., Shtienberg G., and Stein M., Eastern Mediterranean sea levels through the last interglacial from a coastal-marine sequence in northern Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews145, 204–225, 2016.
  • Marra, F., Rohling, E.J., Florindo, F., Jicha, B, Nomade, S., Pereira, A., and Renne, P.R., Independent 40Ar/39Ar and 14C age constraints on the last five glacial terminations from the aggradational successions of the Tiber River, Rome (Italy). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 449, 105–117, 2016.
  • Hibbert, F.D., Rohling, E.J., Dutton, A., Williams, F.H., Cutcharavan, P.H., Zhao, C., and Tamisiea, M.A., Corals as indicators of past sea-level change: a global repository of U-series dated benchmarks. Quaternary Science Reviews, 145, 1–56, 2016.
  • Grant, K.M., Grimm, R., Mikolajewicz, U., Marino, G., Ziegler, M., and Rohling, E.J.The timing of Mediterranean sapropel deposition relative to insolation, sea-level and African monsoon changes. Quaternary Science Reviews, 140, 125–141, 2016.
  • Ao, H., Roberts, A.P., Dekkers, M.J., Liu, X., Rohling, E.J., Shi, Z., and An, Z., Late Miocene-Pliocene Asian monsoon intensification linked to Antarctic ice-sheet growthEarth and Planetary Science Letters, 444, 75–87, 2016.
  • Yu, J., Menviel, L., Jin, Z., Thornally, D.J.R., Barker, S., Marino, G., Rohling, E.J., Cai, Y., Zhang, F., Wang, X., Dai, Y., Chen, P., and Broecker, W.S., Sequestration of carbon in the deep Atlantic during the last glaciation. Nature Geoscience, 9, 319–324, 2016.
  • Gernon, T.M., Hincks, T.K., Tyrrell, T., Rohling E.J., and Palmer, M.R., Snowball Earth ocean chemistry driven by extensive ridge volcanism during Rodinia breakup. Nature Geoscience, 9, 242–248, 2016.
  • Mitchell, N.C., Ligi, M., and Rohling, E.J., Red Sea isolation history suggested by Plio-Pleistocene seismic reflection sequences. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 430, 387–397, 2015.
  • Bosmans, J.H.C., Drijfhout, S.S., Tuenter, E., Hilgen, F.J., Lourens, L.J., and Rohling, E.J., Precession and obliquity forcing of the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean. Quaternary Science Reviews, 123, 16–30, 2015.
  • Marino, G., Rohling, E.J., Rodríguez-Sanz, L., Grant, K.M., Heslop, D., Roberts, A.P., Stanford, J.D., and Yu, J., Bipolar seesaw control on last interglacial sea level. Nature, 522, 197–201, 2015.
  • Grimm, R., Maier-Reimer, E., Mikolajewicz, U., Schmiedl, G., Muller-Navarra, K., Adloff, F., Grant, K.M., Ziegler, M., Lourens, L.J., and Emeis, K.-C., Late glacial initiation of Holocene eastern Mediterranean sapropel formation. Nature Communications, 6, 7099, doi:10.1038/ncomms8099, 2015.
  • Larrasoaña, J.C., Roberts, A.P., Liu, Q., Lyons, R., Oldfield, F., Rohling, E.J., and Heslop, D., Source-to-sink magnetic properties of NE Saharan dust in eastern Mediterranean marine sediments: review and paleoenvironmental implications. Frontiers in Earth Science, 3:19, doi: 10.3389/feart.2015.00019, 2015.
  • Gernon, T.M., Spence, S., Trueman, C.N., Taylor, R.N., Rohling, E.J., Hatter, S.J., and Harding, I.C., Emplacement of the Cabezo Maria lamproite volcano (Miocene, SE Spain). Bulletin of Volcanology, 77:52, DOI 10.1007/s00445-015-0934-y, 2015.
  • Lowe, J., Bronk Ramsay, C., Housley, R.A., Lane, C., Tomlinson, E.L., RESET Team (incl. E.J. Rohling), and RESET Associates., The RESET project: constructing a European tephra lattice for refined synchronisation of environmental and archaeological events during the last c. 100 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews, 118, 1–17, 2015.
  • Satow, C., Tomlinson, E.L., Grant, K.M., Albert, P.G., Smith, V.C., Manning, C.J., Ottolini, L., Wulf, S., Rohling, E.J., Lowe, J.J., Blockley, S.P., and Menzies, M.A., A new contribution to the Late Quaternary tephrostratigraphy of the Mediterranean: Aegean Sea core LC21. Quaternary Science Reviews, 117, 96–112, 2015. 
  • Rohling, E.J., Marino, G., and Grant, K.M., Mediterranean climate and oceanography, and the periodic development of anoxic events (sapropels). Earth Science Reviews, 143, 62–97, 2015. 
  • Martinez-Boti*, M.A., Marino*, G., Foster, G.L., Ziveri, P., Henehan, M.J., Rae, J.W.B., Mortyn, P.G., and Vance, D., Boron isotope evidence for oceanic carbon dioxide leakage during the last deglaciation. Nature, 518, 219–222, 2015.     (* = joint lead authors)
  • Martinez-Boti, M.A., Foster, G.L., Chalk, T.B., Rohling, E.J., Sexton, P.F., Lunt, D.J., Pancost, R.D., Badger, M.P.S., and Schmidt, D.N., Plio-Pleistocene climate sensitivity evaluated using high-resolution CO2 records. Nature, 518, 49–53, 2015.
  • Scussolini, P., Marino, G., Brummer, G.J., and Peeters, F.J.C., Saline Indian Ocean waters invaded the South Atlantic thermocline during glacial termination II. Geology, 43, 139–142, 2015.
  • Weninger, B., Clare, L., Gerritsen, F., Horejs, B., Krauss, R., Linstädter, J., Özbal, R., and Rohling, E.J., Neolithisation of the Aegean and Southeast Europe during the 6600-6000 calBC period of rapid climate change. Documenta Praehistorica, 41, 1–31, 2014.
  • Grant, K.M., Rohling, E.J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L., Florindo, F., Heslop, D., Marra, F., Roberts, A.P. Tamisiea, M.E., and Williams, F., Sea-level variability over five glacial cycles. Nature Communications, 5, 5076, doi: 10.1038/ncomms6076, 2014.
  • Yu, J., Elderfield, H., Jin, Z., Tomascak, P., and Rohling, E.J., Controls on Sr/Ca in benthic foraminifera and implications for seawater Sr/Ca during the late Pleistocene. Quaternary Science Reviews, 98, 1–6, 2014.
  • Rohling, E.J., Foster, G.L., Grant, K.M., Marino, G., Roberts, A.P., Tamisiea, M.E., and Williams, F.,  Sea-level and deep-sea-temperature variability over the past 5.3 million years. Nature, 508, 477–482, 2014.
  • Haigh, I.D., Wahl, T. Rohling, E.J., Price, R.M., Pattiaratchi, C.B., Calafat, F.M., and Dangendorf, S., Timescales for detecting a significant acceleration in sea-level rise. Nature Communications, 5, 3635 doi: 10.1038/ncomms4635, 2014.
  • Yu, J., Anderson, R.F., Jin, Z., Menviel, L., Zhang, F., Ryerson, F.J., and Rohling, E.J., Deep South Atlantic carbonate chemistry and increased interocean deep water exchange during last deglaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 90, 80–89.
  • Yu, J., Anderson, R.F., and Rohling, E.J., Deep ocean carbonate chemistry and glacial-interglacial atmospheric CO2 changes. Oceanography, 27, 16-25, 2014.
  • Rohling, E.J., Grant, K.M., Roberts, A.P., and Larrasoaña, J.C., Palaeoclimate variability in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions during the last 500,000 years; implications for hominin migrations. Current Anthropology, 54 (No. S8, Alternative Pathways to Complexity: Evolutionary Trajectories in the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age), S183–S201, 2013.
  • Rohling, E.J, Haigh, I.D., Foster, G.L., Roberts, A.P., and Grant, K.M., A geological perspective on potential future sea-level rise. Scientific Reports, 3, 3461, doi:10.1038/ srep03461, 2013.
  • Hansen, J., Kharecha, P., Sato, M., Masson-Delmotte, V., Ackerman, F., Beerling, D., Hearty, P.J., Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Hsu, S.-L., Parmesan, C., Rockstrom, J., Rohling, E.J., Sachs, J., Smith, P., Steffen, K., Van Susteren, L., von Schuckmann, K., and Zachos, J.C., Assessing "dangerous climate change": required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and nature. PLoS ONE, 8, e81648, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081648, 2013. 
  • Larrasoaña, J.C., Roberts, A.P., and Rohling, E.J., Dynamics of green Sahara periods and their role in hominin evolution. PLoS ONE, 8, e76514, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076514, 2013.
  • Bolton, C.T.,  Chang, L., Clemens, S., Kodama, K., Ikehara, M., Medina-Elizalde, M., Paterson, G.A., Roberts, A.P., Rohling, E.J., Yamamoto, Y., and Zhao, X., A 500,000 year record of Indian summer monsoon dynamics recorded by eastern equatorial Indian Ocean upper water-column structure. Quaternary Science Reviews, 77, 167–180, 2013.
  • Zhao, C., C., Liu, Z., Rohling, E.J., Yu, Z., Liu, W., He, Y., Zhao, Y, and Chen, F., Holocene temperature fluctuations in the Northern Tibetan Plateau. Quaternary Research, 80, 55–65, 2013.
  • Rohling, E.J., Quantitative assessment of glacial fluctuations in the level of Lake Lisan, Dead Sea rift. Quaternary Science Reviews, 70, 63–72, 2013.
  • Foster, G.L., and Rohling, E.J., The relationship between sea level and climate forcing by CO2 on geological timescales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 1209–1214, 2013.
  • PALAEOSENS Project Members (Rohling, E.J., Sluijs, A., Dijkstra, H.A., Köhler, P., van de Wal, R.S.W., von der Heydt, A.S., Beerling, D., Berger, A., Bijl, P.K., Crucifix, M., deConto, R., Drijfhout, S.S., Fedorov, A., Foster, G., Ganopolski, A., Hansen, J., Hönisch, B., Hooghiemstra, H., Huber, M., Huybers, P., Knutti, R., Lea, D.W., Lourens, L.J., Lunt, D., Masson-Demotte, V., Medina-Elizalde, M., Otto-Bliesner, B., Pagani, M., Pälike, H., Renssen, H., Royer, D.L., Siddall, M.,Valdes, P.,  Zachos, J.C., and Zeebe, R.E), Making sense of palaeoclimate sensitivity. Nature, 491, 683–691, 2012.
  • Grant, K.M., Rohling, E.J., Bar-Matthews, M., Ayalon, A., Medina-Elizalde, M., Bronk Ramsey, C., Satow, C., and Roberts, A.P., Rapid coupling between ice volume and polar temperature over the past 150 kyr. Nature, 491, 744–747, 2012. 

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