Friday, 3 May 2019

Talking environmental change and human impact at EGU19 / / by Dr Jack Lacey

Dr Jack Lacey from the BGS Stable Isotope Facility attended EGU from April 7 - 12. Today he tells us about his week and the research he presented…
Tasik Chini, Malaysia
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly is one of the foremost events in the geoscience calendar and is held around this time annually in Vienna, Austria. At the conference this year there were more than 16,000 scientific talks and posters as part of over 680 unique sessions covering an extensive range of geoscience themes – all within 5 days.
Overall there were 29 staff from the British Geological Survey presenting their latest research and co-ordinating sessions at EGU, including science areas such as groundwater, earth hazards, marine geoscience, geochronology. To see a complete list of the BGS staff who attended EGU and the work they presented check out this previous blog post.
Jack presenting in the limnogeology session at EGU
The research I presented at EGU aims to help us better understand environmental change and anthropogenic impact in Peninsular Malaysia, with a particular focus on past changes in monsoonal rainfall as there many flood-prone areas across the country. Given the human and economic costs of flooding, rainfall variability needs to be constrained beyond the instrumental record, which only covers the last several decades. There are very few records, such as from lakes and speleothem, in Southeast Asia that can be used to investigate past changes in monsoonal rainfall and no well-dated, land-based records from Peninsular Malaysia. 
This study uses monitoring data and sediment cores from Tasik Chini, a lake located in the state of Pahang in Peninsula Malaysia, which is one of the few lake basins in this region. The cores contain sediment that was deposited over the last 5000 years, and we have used multiple geochemical techniques to identify large changes in organic matter production and preservation, hydrology, and water quality over the lake’s history. The most pronounced variations occur during the past 150 years, especially since the 1950s. Together, this new information demonstrates major shifts in the Tasik Chini ecosystem and suggests that changes were most likely driven by a dynamic monsoon system during earlier part of the record (Middle to Late Holocene) and more recently by human activity in the catchment. 

To find out more about the research in this post contact Dr Jack Lacey or via Twitter @JackHLacey.

EGU provides a great platform for sharing and discussing new research with scientists from around the world, holding workshops, attending short courses and training sessions, and meeting up with colleagues. To catch up with all the BGS activity at the conference check out 
#EGU19 and also be sure to take a look at the @BritGeoSurvey Twitter feed. 


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