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Dr Weimu Xu

Dr Weimu Xu

Dr Weimu Xu is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellow at TCD, funded by the European Commission, with a specific research interest in paleoclimatology and climate change mitigation. She obtained Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Geophysics from Peking University and doctoral degree (DPhil in Earth Sciences) from the University of Oxford. Following the completion of her PhD, she was awarded a NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) Knowledge Exchange Fellowship to work at the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), where she advised policy makers on evidence-based policy making in energy and climate science. This was followed by a postdoctoral research project at TCD to explore a novel negative carbon emission technology using enhanced plant mediated chemical weathering with volcanic ash, funded by the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences, an SFI Research Centre.

Current research project: PALEOcene greenhouse climate and the effect of basalt weathering on CARBON sequestration (PALEOCARBON). The project aims to: (1) Quantify elevated Paleogene pCO2, temperature and precipitation levels using fossil leaves; (2) Constrain processes & intensity of silicate weathering and carbon drawdown potential in Paleocene basalts, as part of the North Atlantic Igneous Province; (3) Quantify elemental uptake of plants grown in high pCO2 laboratory conditions, to constrain the role of plant in mediating weathering processes. This project has important implications for understanding of Earth system responses and climate change mitigation.

Main research interests:
(1) Constraining the mechanistic processes that control paleoclimate and associated (changes in) geochemical cycles across the Mesozoic and Cenozoic using geochemical and paleobotanical proxies;
(2) Quantifying the organic carbon sequestration potential in continental and marine basins during super-greenhouse climate (e.g. Oceanic Anoxic Events) in the geological past;
(3) Quantifying the carbon sequestration potential of continental silicate weathering in modern and paleo-soils, and changes in the rate thereof, in response to plant biological processes and changes in climatic conditions;
(4) Developing negative emissions technologies using geological materials to limit atmospheric and dissolved ocean CO2 levels, and to mitigate climate change.