Dr Tas van Ommen: PhD, BSc(Hons), Dip. Teach.
Program Leader: Antarctica and the Global System

Research interests

My main research interests centre around ice core palaeoclimate studies, particularly high resolution palaeoclimate work extending back into the last glacial period. Our ice core group has done much of its work on the deep, high resolution Law Dome core which extends back approximately 90 000 years. The group is also involved in obtaining century-scale records from relatively near-coastal sites that give high resolution records like Law Dome.

Our work aims to provide detailed climate reconstructions and obtain calibrations for ice core data streams against modern meteorological data. We are interested in probing high and mid-latitude climate in the Indian Ocean and Australian sector particularly. This includes work to develop longer term climate reconstructions for the Australian region.

I am involved, through the International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), in developing plans for recovering the oldest ice from the Antarctic ice sheet. As part of this interest, I am a lead investigator in the ICECAP airborne geophysical survey work covering East Antarctica out of Casey. This work involves collaboration with ice sheet dynamics researchers to link ice sheet dynamics and ice core data, to identify potential locations where oldest ice might be located, and to understand the history and evolution of the ice sheet (see related article Australian Antarctic Magazine 28:13–15, 2015).

National and international representation/collaborations

  • Chair of the Australian Academy of Science National Committee for Earth System Science.
  • SCAR Steering Committee member — Antarctica and the global climate system program.
  • Secretary of the SCAR Standing Scientific Group on Physical Sciences.
  • Australian representative on the International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS) steering committee.
  • Member of the IPICS steering committees for Oldest Ice and 2000-year Array projects (aimed at constructing climate records of the last two millennia).
  • Contributing author and expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • Collaborations with groups in the United States, Denmark, Italy and France and strong links with Japan, and through IPICS, to the broader ice core community.

Related links

Selected Publications

van Ommen T. (2015). Palaeoclimate: Northern push for the bipolar see-saw, Nature 520 (7549) 630–631. doi:10.1038/520630a. [AAS Projects 4061]

Roberts J., Plummer C., Vance T. et al (2015). A 2000-year annual record of snow accumulation rates for Law Dome, East Antarctica, Climate of the Past 11 (5). 697–707. doi:10.5194/cp-11–697-2015. [AAS Projects 757, 4061, 4062]

Greenbaum J.S., Blankenship D.D., Young D.A.et al (2015). Ocean access to a cavity beneath Totten Glacier in East Antarctica. Nature Geoscience 8: 294–298. doi:10.1038/ngeo2388. [AAS Projects 4077]

Vance T.R., Roberts J.L., Plummer C.T. et al. (2015). Interdecadal Pacific variability and eastern Australian megadroughts over the last millennium. Geophysical Research Letters 42. 129–137. doi:10.1002/2014GL062447. [AAS Projects 4061]

Young D.A., Lindzey L.E., Blankenship D.D. et al. (2015). Land-ice elevation changes from photon-counting swath altimetry: first applications over the Antarctic ice sheet. Journal of Glaciology 61 (225): 17–28. doi:10.3189/2015JoG14J048. [AAS Projects 3103, 4077]

For more of Dr van Ommen’s publications see Google Scholar.