Skip to main content

Barrows, Timothy T. Prof

Principal Fellow

Overview


I graduated with a BSc (first class Honours) from the Australian National University. I received an Australian Postgraduate Award and John Conrad Jaeger Scholarship and completed a PhD at the Research School of Earth Sciences. This also included a semester at the Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington. I was awarded the Robert Hill Prize in 2000 for outstanding PhD research and communication of science. I spent my first postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado. Subsequently, I spent 5 years as an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow and then as a Research Fellow at the Department of Nuclear Physics, The Australian National University. I lectured at the University of Exeter from 2009 to 2018. I was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship in 2017. I hold a joint appointment with the University of Portsmouth as Professor of Environmental Change. 

Top Publications


    Year Title
    2014 A White Nile megalake during the last interglacial period
    Published in   Geology (Boulder)
    2009 Constraints on the magnitude and patterns of ocean cooling at the Last Glacial Maximum
    Published in   Nature Geoscience
    2007 Absence of cooling in New Zealand and the adjacent ocean during the younger dryas chronozone
    Published in   Science

Research Overview


  • 1)    Geochronology (using cosmogenic nuclides to solve dating problems. I also use optically stimulated luminescence and radiocarbon to date past environmental change)

    2)    Geomorphology (determining the magnitude of past environmental change using the extent of former glaciers, periglacial landscapes, aeolian landforms and lake levels)

    3)    Photogrammetry (creating 3D models of the landscape and objects)

    4)    Palaeoceanography (especially using planktonic foraminifera to reconstruct past sea-surface temperature through transfer functions)

    5)    Data archaeology (especially rescuing data sets, databases and visualising big data)

Available as Research Supervisor

Available for Collaborative Projects

Selected Publications


Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Glaciers are very sensitive to climate and are therefore ideal to study to determine past climate change. Glaciers around the world are retreating at an astonishing rate, but the greatest amount of retreat occurred at the end of the last ice age. The planet underwent global warming by at least 6 °C and this varied significantly regionally. These regional differences provide important clues as to the mechanisms of climate change and how the planet warms.

     

    Improvements in GIS and remote sensing over the last 15 years provide an excellent opportunity to study glaciers to see how they have responded to climate change. A large number of maps of former ice extent have been published over the last 50 years. However, until relatively recently most of these were hand drawn and very few were mapped in GIS. Additionally, large areas of the world still do not have adequate maps of former ice extent. A project in glacier reconstruction involves either digitising existing maps or creating new maps for an area where ice has retreated since the last ice age. Once a glacier is reconstructed, it can then be used to determine the amount that climate has changed.

     

    Dating the retreat of glaciers has historically been very difficult. However, the new technique of exposure dating using cosmogenic nuclides provides an ideal method to directly date rocks left behind by the retreat of ice. The technique is based on the accumulation of very rare elements in rocks produced from interactions with cosmic rays from outer space. Rock samples are processed to isolate the cosmogenic nuclides and then they are measured using accelerator mass spectrometry. Small grants are available through the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to support dating in a research project.

     

    Honours and Masters projects:

     Glacier reconstruction projects are available for:

    1)    The Vosges mountains in France

    2)    The Front Range in Colorado

    3)    The Sierra Nevada mountains in California

     

    These projects have research funds available for dating or existing dating (~$5000) and would be suitable for writing into a scientific paper. Students are also free to suggest other areas as well. Resources (aerial photos, digital elevation models) are available for Papua New Guinea and Tasmania where there were hundreds of glaciers in the last ice age.

     

    PhD projects:

    Larger research projects are available for the interaction between glaciers and climate through time. Email me to discuss or suggest a research proposal.

    PhD scholarships are available (deadline mid October: contact me at least 6 weeks earlier) for:

    Domestic students  

    International students

Keywords


  • Cosmogenic nuclides, environmental change, micropalaeontology

Full Name


  • Prof Timothy Barrows

Web Of Science Researcher Id


  • http://www.researcherid.com/rid/E-8471-2011

Top Publications


    Year Title
    2014 A White Nile megalake during the last interglacial period
    Published in   Geology (Boulder)
    2009 Constraints on the magnitude and patterns of ocean cooling at the Last Glacial Maximum
    Published in   Nature Geoscience
    2007 Absence of cooling in New Zealand and the adjacent ocean during the younger dryas chronozone
    Published in   Science

Research Overview


  • 1)    Geochronology (using cosmogenic nuclides to solve dating problems. I also use optically stimulated luminescence and radiocarbon to date past environmental change)

    2)    Geomorphology (determining the magnitude of past environmental change using the extent of former glaciers, periglacial landscapes, aeolian landforms and lake levels)

    3)    Photogrammetry (creating 3D models of the landscape and objects)

    4)    Palaeoceanography (especially using planktonic foraminifera to reconstruct past sea-surface temperature through transfer functions)

    5)    Data archaeology (especially rescuing data sets, databases and visualising big data)

Selected Publications


Potential Supervision Topics


  • Glaciers are very sensitive to climate and are therefore ideal to study to determine past climate change. Glaciers around the world are retreating at an astonishing rate, but the greatest amount of retreat occurred at the end of the last ice age. The planet underwent global warming by at least 6 °C and this varied significantly regionally. These regional differences provide important clues as to the mechanisms of climate change and how the planet warms.

     

    Improvements in GIS and remote sensing over the last 15 years provide an excellent opportunity to study glaciers to see how they have responded to climate change. A large number of maps of former ice extent have been published over the last 50 years. However, until relatively recently most of these were hand drawn and very few were mapped in GIS. Additionally, large areas of the world still do not have adequate maps of former ice extent. A project in glacier reconstruction involves either digitising existing maps or creating new maps for an area where ice has retreated since the last ice age. Once a glacier is reconstructed, it can then be used to determine the amount that climate has changed.

     

    Dating the retreat of glaciers has historically been very difficult. However, the new technique of exposure dating using cosmogenic nuclides provides an ideal method to directly date rocks left behind by the retreat of ice. The technique is based on the accumulation of very rare elements in rocks produced from interactions with cosmic rays from outer space. Rock samples are processed to isolate the cosmogenic nuclides and then they are measured using accelerator mass spectrometry. Small grants are available through the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to support dating in a research project.

     

    Honours and Masters projects:

     Glacier reconstruction projects are available for:

    1)    The Vosges mountains in France

    2)    The Front Range in Colorado

    3)    The Sierra Nevada mountains in California

     

    These projects have research funds available for dating or existing dating (~$5000) and would be suitable for writing into a scientific paper. Students are also free to suggest other areas as well. Resources (aerial photos, digital elevation models) are available for Papua New Guinea and Tasmania where there were hundreds of glaciers in the last ice age.

     

    PhD projects:

    Larger research projects are available for the interaction between glaciers and climate through time. Email me to discuss or suggest a research proposal.

    PhD scholarships are available (deadline mid October: contact me at least 6 weeks earlier) for:

    Domestic students  

    International students

Keywords


  • Cosmogenic nuclides, environmental change, micropalaeontology

Full Name


  • Prof Timothy Barrows

Web Of Science Researcher Id


  • http://www.researcherid.com/rid/E-8471-2011

Geographic Focus