Hedwig Krawczyk, Postgraduate Researcher

SIOPACT - Developing a 250 year climate record for the Southeastern Indian Ocean sector of the Indo-PACific warm pool and its global climate Teleconnections

Contact DetailsHedwig Krawczyk

Project Overview

The isolated coral reefs at the Northwest Australian shelf are situated in a key region for Indo-Pacific climate connectivity mainly driven by western tropical Pacific forcing through El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in concert with the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) (Feng et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2015). Evidence is accumulating that the occurrence of extreme climate events like marine heatwaves and severe droughts/floods in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region are influenced by these large-scale climate phenomena (e.g. Feng et al., 2013; Abram et al. 2008; Dey et al., 2019). Recent findings also point to increased warming of Indian Ocean and western Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and a spatial expansion of the Indo-Pacific warm pool in response to anthropogenic climate change (Weller et al., 2016). A Better understanding and possible predictability of these events, through model-based climate change process studies, heavily depend on reliable climate records. Massive scleractinian corals provide a useful archive of past environmental variability and thus can compensate for the scarcity of long instrumental climate data for the tropical oceans.

The project goal is to obtain high-resolution ocean climate data from a set of coral cores from Browse Island and the Rowley Shoals archipelago in north-western Australia, covering a time of up to 250 years. The reconstructed data will be produced in a cross-disciplinary approach through geochemical analyses, statistical paleoclimate analysis and climate model-data cross-validation.


Abram, N. J., Gagan, M. K., Cole, J. E., Hantoro, W. S., Mudelsee, M. (2008): Recent intensification of tropical climate variability in the Indian Ocean. Nature Geoscience 1, 849–853.

Dey, R., Lewis, S.C., Arblaster, J.M., Abram, N.J. (2019): A review of past and projected changes in Australia's rainfall. WIREs Clim Change, 10:e577.

Feng, M., McPhaden, M., Xie, S. P., Hafner, J. (2013): La Niña forces unprecedented Leeuwin Current warming in 2011. Scientific Reports 3, 1277.

Feng, M., Hendon, H. H., Xie, S.‐P., Marshall, A. G., Schiller, A., Kosaka, Y., Caputi, N., Pearce, A. (2015): Decadal increase in Ningaloo Niño since the late 1990s, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 104– 112.

Weller, E., Min, S.K., Cai, W., Zwiers, F. W., Kim, Y.-H., Lee, D. (2016): Human-caused Indo-Pacific warm pool expansion. Science Advanves 2, 7.

Zhang, W., Wang, Y., Jin, F.‐F. Stuecker, M. F., Turner, A. G. (2015): Impact of different El Niño types on the El Niño/IOD relationship, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 8570– 8576.

Research Theme

Evolution and Past Environments

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