David Hutchinson

David Hutchinson


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Geological Sciences
Telephone 08-16 48 94
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 8 C, Geohuset
Room R 216
Postal address Institutionen för geologiska vetenskaper 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am a researcher in paleoclimate modelling, working on reconstructing the climate during the Eocene-Oligocene Transition. This was a major climate transition 34 million years ago when the Antarctic ice sheet first formed. There were also major changes to the ocean circulation around this time, due to important ocean gateway changes such as Drake Passage and the Tasman Seaway.

I am also interested in modern day climate problems. My PhD investigated why the Northern Hemisphere is warming at a faster rate than the Southern Hemisphere. I found that ocean currents play an important role in setting this asymmetry, in particular the Antarctic Circumpolar Current helps to delay the Southern Hemisphere from warming.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Matthew H. England (et al.). Journal of Climate 30 (15), 5775-5790

    The response of the global climate system to Drake Passage (DP) closure is examined using a fully coupled ocean-atmosphere-ice model. Unlike most previous studies, a full three-dimensional atmospheric general circulation model is included with a complete hydrological cycle and a freely evolving wind field, as well as a coupled dynamic-thermodynamic sea ice module. Upon DP closure the initial response is found to be consistent with previous ocean-only and intermediate-complexity climate model studies, with an expansion and invigoration of the Antarctic meridional overturning, along with a slowdown in North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) production. This results in a dominance of Southern Ocean poleward geostrophic flow and Antarctic sinking when DP is closed. However, within just a decade of DP closure, the increased southward heat transport has melted back a substantial fraction of Antarctic sea ice. At the same time the polar oceans warm by 4 degrees-6 degrees C on the zonal mean, and the maximum strength of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies weakens by similar or equal to 10%. These effects, not captured in models without ice and atmosphere feedbacks, combine to force Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) to warm and freshen, to the point that this water mass becomes less dense than NADW. This leads to a marked contraction of the Antarctic overturning, allowing NADW to ventilate the abyssal ocean once more. Poleward heat transport settles back to very similar values as seen in the unperturbed DP open case. Yet remarkably, the equilibrium climate in the closed DP configuration retains a strong Southern Hemisphere warming, similar to past studies with no dynamic atmosphere. However, here it is ocean-atmosphere-ice feedbacks, primarily the ice-albedo feedback and partly the weakened midlatitude jet, not a vigorous southern sinking, which maintain the warm polar oceans. This demonstrates that DP closure can drive a hemisphere-scale warming with polar amplification, without the presence of any vigorous Southern Hemisphere overturning circulation. Indeed, DP closure leads to warming that is sufficient over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet region to inhibit ice-sheet growth. This highlights the importance of the DP gap, Antarctic sea ice, and the associated ice-albedo feedback in maintaining the present-day glacial state over Antarctica.

  • 2016. Samantha K. Dawson (et al.). Remote Sensing 8 (7)

    Wetlands worldwide are becoming increasingly degraded, and this has motivated many attempts to manage and restore wetland ecosystems. Restoration actions require a large resource investment, so it is critical to measure the outcomes of these management actions. We evaluated the restoration of floodplain wetland vegetation across a chronosequence of land uses, using remote sensing analyses. We compared the Landsat-based fractional cover of restoration areas with river red gum and lignum reference communities, which functioned as a fixed target for restoration, over three time periods: (i) before agricultural land use (1987-1997); (ii) during the peak of agricultural development (2004-2007); and (iii) post-restoration of flooding (2010-2015). We also developed LiDAR-derived canopy height models (CHMs) for comparison over the second and third time periods. Inundation was crucial for restoration, with many fields showing little sign of similarity to target vegetation until after inundation, even if agricultural land uses had ceased. Fields cleared or cultivated for only one year had greater restoration success compared to areas cultivated for three or more years. Canopy height increased most in the fields that were cleared and cultivated for a short duration, in contrast to those cultivated for >12 years, which showed few signs of recovery. Restoration was most successful in fields with a short development duration after the intervention, but resulting dense monotypic stands of river cooba require future monitoring and possibly intervention to prevent sustained dominance. Fields with intensive land use histories may need to be managed as alternative, drier flood-dependent vegetation communities, such as black box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) grasslands. Remotely-sensed data provided a powerful measurement technique for tracking restoration success over a large floodplain.

  • 2017. Chris S. M. Turney (et al.). Nature Communications 8

    Contrasting Greenland and Antarctic temperatures during the last glacial period (115,000 to 11,650 years ago) are thought to have been driven by imbalances in the rates of formation of North Atlantic and Antarctic Deep Water (the ‘bipolar seesaw’). Here we exploit a bidecadally resolved 14C data set obtained from New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) to undertake high-precision alignment of key climate data sets spanning iceberg-rafted debris event Heinrich 3 and Greenland Interstadial (GI) 5.1 in the North Atlantic (~30,400 to 28,400 years ago). We observe no divergence between the kauri and Atlantic marine sediment 14C data sets, implying limited changes in deep water formation. However, a Southern Ocean (Atlantic-sector) iceberg rafted debris event appears to have occurred synchronously with GI-5.1 warming and decreased precipitation over the western equatorial Pacific and Atlantic. An ensemble of transient meltwater simulations shows that Antarctic-sourced salinity anomalies can generate climate changes that are propagated globally via an atmospheric Rossby wave train.

Show all publications by David Hutchinson at Stockholm University

Last updated: August 28, 2018

Bookmark and share Tell a friend