Saturday, September 3, 2016

Going South

On the heels of the 12th International Conference on Paleoceanography (ICP12) in beautiful bike-friendly, canalized Utrecht in the Netherlands, I am flying south from 52°N to 3°N latitude (11.5hr from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur) to begin a 7-day total expedition searching for new cave chamber sites in west and east Malaysia. 

waiting in another airport
The Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP) region is perhaps the ideal location to investigate tropical climate change using speleothem proxies: the region is positioned in an area of strong El Niño influence (the largest single source of global inter-annual variability in modern climate), holds a direct relationship with the Asian and Australasian monsoons, and has an abundant array of limestone outcrops. Site-specific rainwater and dripwater studies can reveal present-day rainwater and dripwater oxygen isotopes to vary with regional precipitation amount with significant basin-wide correlations at monthly and longer timescales. Thus, it is likely that variations in speleothem oxygen isotopes reflect changes in past rainfall amount in the region to some degree. 

The objective of the expedition is to locate new karst field sites in west and east Malaysia, north equatorial states spread across the maritime continent from the east Indian to west Pacific ocean basins. Ultimately, the new sites be used to establish additional ocean water, rainwater, and cave dripwater isotopic variability monitoring sites, construct new stalagmite oxygen isotope records, and extend the spatial scale of spelethem records in the region to be used in an isotope-enabled model-data comparison study. The expedition will be carried out with Prof. Xianfeng Wang and his research associate (Earth Observatory of Singapore), experienced local caver Syria Lejau (former senior caving guide at Gunung Mulu Park), and members of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) caving group. Syria has traveled with me from Europe to Malaysia, and we have just arrived in KLIA this Saturday afternoon. We are taking the Star Shuttle bus service from the airport up to Chinatown, where we will be meeting Tony Yap and Yee CW, members of the MNS Selangor caving group. I note that the 1.5hr shuttle bus service into Kuala Lumpur (10RM) is about equal to the cost of the 6min local bus ride I took from my house to the bus station back in Oxford, UK (£1.80). Having traveled through Kuala Lumpur for several years now, I am happy to have become quite savvy to the best deals on travel!

West and East Malaysia location map (from

No comments:

Post a Comment