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Matthew Schmidt

Matthew Schmidt


ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Ocean & Earth Sciences

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  • Expertise

    Oceanography
    Paleoceanography
    Geology
    Geochemistry
    Climate Change
    Paleoclimatology
  • Research Interests

    Reconstructing Mean State and ENSO Variability in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific under Glacial Forcing: A Combined Geochemical and Organic Proxy ApproachOne of my current NSF funded projects involves reconstructing how the Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP) mean state and ENSO varied across the Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) cycles of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3). The magnitude, duration, and number of these abrupt climate events make them the ideal natural experiment to test how the system will evolve in the near future. By utilizing a unique combination of multi-proxy methods together in a single study, this project will generate records of surface and subsurface temperature, thermocline temperature variance, upper-water column hydrography and upwelling variability from eight time slices in the EEP between 30 to 65 kyr. These objectives will be achieved by using a high-sedimentation rate core recovered from the heart of the cold-tongue EEP upwelling region during R/V Melville cruise MV1014 in 2010. Sedimentation rates in this core are among the highest in ENSO-sensitive regions of the tropical Pacific, ~10.5 cm/kyr, allowing for the resolution of millennial-scale climate events. The project will use a combination of foraminiferal stable isotope and trace metal geochemistry to reconstruct long-term changes in the EEP mean state across MIS 3. Next, 8 time slices spanning the extremes of MIS 3 climate (D-O interstadials, stadials and Heinrich Events) will be selected for further analyses. For each time slice, ENSO variability will be determined using thermocline temperature variance derived from single shell foraminiferal Mg/Ca analyses. In addition, upwelling intensity and nutrient variability will be characterized by the Diol Index and the Long Chain Diol Index. Together, this multi-proxy approach will allow for the most complete characterization of how the EEP varied across millennial-scale climate events of MIS 3 and will provide critical insight into how ENSO is related to extreme climate states of the past. This study will also provide climate modelers with critical information needed to simulate future climate change. Atmospheric CO2 and the Relationship to Millennial Changes in Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulation in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean over the Past 100,000 yearsI am working with my colleague Franco Marcantonio from Texas A&M University on another NSF funded project focused on answering questions related to:1) where and how atmospheric carbon dioxide was sequestered from the atmosphere, or ventilated from the ocean, on millennial timescales, and 2) how these carbon dynamics are related to both changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation over the last glacial period. To address these objectives, an integrated suite of multiple proxies will be measured on several high accumulation rate sediment cores previously collected from the EEP. For my part of the project, my students are measuring Boron/Calcium (B/Ca) ratios in planktic and benthic foraminifera as a proxy for carbonate ion concentration in surface and bottom waters of the EEP. By investigating the storage of a respired carbon pool in the deep ocean and how it altered the pH of surface and bottom waters during cold periods of the last glacial period (i.e., from ~71,000 to 14,000 years ago), in conjunction with probing how this storage relates to changes in export production and potential iron fertilization, this collaborative research will shed light on the mechanistic links between ocean (stratification/ventilation) and atmospheric (wind belt shifts) circulation and the modification of atmospheric CO2 levels.
  • 2006: Allen G. Marr Prize, University of California, Davis
  • 2005: NOAA Global Climate Change Postdoc, UCAR
  • Contracts, Grants and Sponsored Research

    Schmidt, M. "Reconstructing Mean State & Enso Variability Eastern Equatorial Pacific" $275,481. Federal. September 15, 2017 - August 31, 2019
    Schmidt, M. W.; Bianchi, T. "Collaborative Research: Reconstructing Mean State and ENSO Variability in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific under Glacial Forcing: A Combined Geochemical and Organic Proxy Approach" $355,524. Federal. September 15, 2017 - August 31, 2019
    Sedwick, P.; Schmidt, M.; Chappell, P. D.; Cutter, G. A. "Major Research Instrumentation: Acquisition of a High Resolution Plasma Source Mass Spectrometer and Sample Introduction System for Multidisciplinary Geosciences Research and Education" $644,466. Federal. January, 2016 - January, 2019
    Schmidt, M. "A Combined Paleo-Proxy and Modeling Study of Abrupt Climate Change in the Tropical Atlantic and Its Relation to Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Variability" $495,424. Federal. September 1, 2011 - August 31, 2016
    Schmidt, M. "Linking Atmospheric and Ocean Circulation Variability to Abrupt Climate Change Over the Last 40 Kyr" $307,908. Federal. September 1, 2009 - August 31, 2014