Dr Ruza Ivanovic

Dr Ruza Ivanovic


I am a palaeoclimate modeller interested in physical climate interactions between the atmosphere, ice sheets and oceans, as well as glacial-interglacial carbon storage. I use general circulation models and isotope geochemistry to understand climate-ice-ocean interactions. My research investigates mechanisms of past abrupt climate change using versions of the UK Met Office's Unified Model (e.g. FAMOUS and HadCM3), primarily focusing on the influence of ice sheet meltwater on ocean circulation, and associated feedbacks.

In the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, I am part of the Physical Climate Change; Leeds Quaternary; Palaeo@Leeds Research Groups in ICAS and ESSI.

I also lead the Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP) Last Deglaciation Working Group and am a member of the CLIVAR Atlantic Region Panel.

Research interests

I am particularly interested in climate-ice sheet-ocean interactions taking place during the last deglaciation (21 thousand years ago to present). As well as the long term transition from previous glacial conditions to the current interglacial period, this encompasses several abrupt climate changes (annual-centennial), including:

  • The onset of Heinrich Stadial 1, when Northern Hemisphere temperatatures cooled and Atlantic ocean circulation slowed
  • Heinrich Event 1, when armadas of icebergs rafted out across the North Atlantic
  • The abrupt Bolling Warming, when Northern Hemisphere temperatures rose by as much as 10 degrees C in just a few decades, and Atlantic ocean circulation suddenly strengthened
  • Meltwater Pulse 1a, when global sea level rose by 12-22 m in less than 350 years (the fastest major sea level rise ever recorded)
  • The Antarctic Cold Reversal, when Southern Hemisphere temperatures reversed their warming trend
  • The Younger Dryas, when an abrupt cooling temproarily halted the deglaciation
  • The 8.2 kyr event, when catastrophic freshwater drainage from North America disrupted Atlantic Ocean circulation and caused widespread cooling

My work focuses on understanding the triggers for these events, their impact on climate, and the role of ice sheets and the oceans in the surface climate changes.

A key component of this work is the use of geochemical tracers of ocean circulation to understand past changes in ocean circulation. To best use these tools, I am supervising the implementation of the following tracers in the ocean component of the UM version 4.5 climate model (HadCM3 and FAMOUS):

  • Carbon-13 isotopes (δ13C): productivity and remineralisation (nutrients)
  • Carbon-14 isoptopes (D14C): water age
  • Protactinium and Thorium isotopes (213Pa/230Th): circulation kinematics
  • Neodymium isotopes (eNd): water provenance

The coupled model (atmosphere and ocean) also includes oxygen isotopes and deuterium (δ18O, δD).

Funded research projects:

  • Forward modelling of past abrupt climate transitions, NERC (NE/K008536/1), 2013-2018
  • Pliocene gateways, NERC (NE/J012726/1), 2012-2013
  • Mediterranean Outflow Water and the Messinian Salinity Crisis, University of Bristol Centenary Scholarship, 2009-2012

PhD projects:

See latest info about the Panorama Doctoral Training Partnership.


  • Jennifer Dentith (primary supervisor; Oct 2015-): Abrupt climate transitions and geological tracers of ocean circulation.
  • Andrew Mair (co-supervisor; Oct 2017-): Signals of the ice age in the tropics - new records from the Uruguayan Margin.
  • Suzanne Robinson (primary supervisor; Oct 2018-): Is Atlantic Ocean Circulation Collapsing?
  • Elizabeth Bowker (co-supervisor; Oct 2018): Legacy of a warming world: Simulating ice sheet melt.

Previous group members:

  • Ella Wingard (Summer undergraduate placement; Jun-July 2018): Climate fingerprints of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation.
  • Ilkka Matero (PhD co-supervisor; Oct 2014-): North American ice sheet collapse and abrupt climate change during the 8.2 kyr event.
  • Rhian Rees-Owen (PhD co-supervisor; Oct 2012-2016): Antarctic Climate and vegetation during the Neogene: a geochemical and modelling approach.
  • Jamie Boyd (PhD co-supervisor; Oct 2012-2016): Global and regional assessment of Neogene climate and palaeoceanography using dinoflagellate cysts.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, University of Bristol
  • BSc, University of Bristol
  • FHEA (Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy under the UK Professional Standards Framework)

Professional memberships

  • CLIVAR (Climate and Ocean – Variability, Predictability, and Change) Atlantic Region Panel member (2015-2019)
  • Leader of the Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP) Last Deglaciation Working Group (2013-)
  • NERC Independent Research Fellow (2013-2018)
  • Lifelong member of the European Geosciences Union (EGU, 2018-)
  • Lifelong member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU, 2017-)

Student education

I lecture, deliver practical activities and carry out field-teaching for various modules on the science of climatology and climate change, oceanography, past environmental change, Quaternary systems and meteorology. In addition, I am part of the academic and personal tutorial team, and supervise dissertation projects and undergraduate research experience placements.

Research groups and institutes

  • Climate Science and Impacts
  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science
  • Earth Surface Science Institute
  • Palaeo@Leeds

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>