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Dr Vasile Ersek

Associate Professor

Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences

Dr Ersek is a palaeoclimatologist and geochemist with expertise in past climate changes and human-environment interactions. His research is spanning cave and karst science, atmospheric processes, paleoclimatology/palaeoceanography, and peat geochemistry. His current research focuses on using geochemical methods in speleothems, water, and peat deposits to understand past changes in climate and environment.

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Past Education and Employment

Postdoctoral researcher, Oxford University

PhD, Oregon State University, USA

MSc, Mississippi State University, USA

BSc, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania


Research in the media

Science Mag: Ancient megadrought may explain civilization’s ‘missing millennia’ in Southeast Asia

Daily Mail: Sahara turned from lush green grassland to a barren wasteland just 4,000 years ago and triggered a megadrought that crippled Southeast Asia for 1,000 years

World Economic Forum: How climate change caused the world’s first ever empire to collapse

EOS: The Akkadian Empire—Felled by Dust?

Newsweek: Ancient Curse of Akkad: World's First Empire Collapsed Because of Climate Change

Forbes: Climate Change May Have Contributed To The Extinction Of Neanderthals And Rise Of Modern Humans

Smithsonian Magazine: Climate Change Likely Iced Neanderthals Out Of Existence

Newsweek: Neanderthals: Climate Change May Have Killed Off Our Closest Human Relatives

CTV News: Cold, dry climate shifts linked to Neanderthal disappearance

Science Daily: Earliest European evidence of lead pollution uncovered in the Balkans Earliest ever evidence of lead pollution found in the Balkans – from 3600 BC

Independent: Climate change: Nearly 700 'natural thermometers' demonstrate the world is warmer than its ever been 1,800 years of global ocean cooling halted by global warming

OPB: Oregon Caves Weather The Passage Of Time

Fox News: Oregon stalagmite tells 13,000-year-long story

Vasile Ersek

Campus Address

Ellison Building
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • End of Green Sahara amplified mid- to late Holocene megadroughts in mainland Southeast Asia, Griffiths, M., Johnson, K., Pausata, F., White, J., Henderson, G., Wood, C., Yang, H., Ersek, V., Conrad, C., Sekhon, N. 1 Dec 2020, In: Nature Communications
  • Precise timing of abrupt increase in dust activity in the Middle East coincident with 4.2 ka social change, Carolin, S., Walker, R., Day, C., Ersek, V., Sloan, R., Dee, M., Talebian, M., Henderson, G. 2 Jan 2019, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • The impact of climate change on the transition of Neanderthals to modern humans in Europe, Staubwasser, M., Drăgușin, V., Onac, B., Assonov, S., Ersek, V., Hoffmann, D., Veres, D. 11 Sep 2018, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Kinetic processes and stable isotopes in cave dripwaters as indicators of winter severity, Ersek, V., Onac, B., Persoiu, A. 30 Aug 2018, In: Hydrological Processes
  • Exceptionally high levels of lead pollution in the Balkans from the Early Bronze Age to the Industrial Revolution, Longman, J., Veres, D., Finsinger, W., Ersek, V. 19 Jun 2018, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • Robust global ocean cooling trend for the pre-industrial Common Era, McGregor, H., Evans, M., Goosse, H., Leduc, G., Martrat, B., Addison, J., Mortyn, G., Oppo, D., Seidenkrantz, M., Sicre, M., Phipps, S., Selvaraj, K., Thirumalai, K., Filipsson, H., Ersek, V. 17 Aug 2015, In: Nature Geoscience
  • Holocene winter climate variability in mid-latitude western North America, Ersek, V., Clark, P., Mix, A., Cheng, H., Edwards, L. 2012, In: Nature Communications
  • Variations of δ18O in rainwater from southwestern Oregon, Ersek, V., Mix, A., Clark, P. 16 May 2010, In: Journal of Geophysical Research
  • Environmental influences on speleothem growth in southwestern Oregon during the last 380000 years, Ersek, V., Hostetler, S., Cheng, H., Clark, P., Anslow, F., Mix, A., Edwards, L. 2009, In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters

  • Jack Longman The Carpathian-Balkans during the Holocene: Reconstructing human influences and climatic changes Start Date: 01/10/2014 End Date: 26/03/2018
  • Lucy Carruthers A geochemical investigation of groundwater resources in the Maldives in response to climate change and anthropogenic activities. Start Date: 18/01/2021
  • Annabel Wolf Hydroclimate variability in central Vietnam: past and present Start Date: 01/10/2017 End Date: 28/09/2021

  • Geology BSc (Hons)
  • Geology MSc
  • Geology PhD
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2016

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