By Carl Williams
Exploring Earth’s climate throughout the ages – palaeoclimatology – helps us understand how climate change will affect the planet in the future.
As a palaeo-environmental scientist at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Monika studies palaeoclimate by looking at the growth of stalagmites. These limestone formations grow on the floor of caves from the accumulation of mineral-rich water that drips down from the ceiling.
“As stalagmites grow, they record the climate and rainfall variability,” says Monika. “They grow in layers like tree rings that we can analyse.”
In 2011, she joined ANSTO’s Graduate Development Program, which provides grads with hands-on experience, opportunities for fieldwork, guidance and mentoring from industry experts.
Monika loved the experience at ANSTO and decided to follow her passion for science through a postgrad degree in palaeoclimate research.
“The position with ANSTO has given me the opportunity to develop my research abilities and a broad range of other skills,” she says.
“A real highlight has been the opportunity to travel and explore caves in England and China. I’ve also had the opportunity to unravel part of Australia’s past climate variability.”
Author: STEM Contributor
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