Dr Nicky Wright


Dr Nicky Wright


The University of Sydney

Earth’s climate can change in response to lots of things. Many millions of years ago, earth’s climate was much warmer, and earth’s surface looked very different to today: continents were arranged as a single supercontinent and the location and elevation of the mountains and seas, as well as everything in between, was completely different. Understanding what Earth’s surface once looked like is crucial for investigating how climate changed in the past, yet detailed and well-constrained reconstructions for how our past geography has changed are very limited.

To uncover how the earth’s surface once looked, Dr Nicky Wright uses plate tectonics, lots of different types of data, and computers to reconstruct its past surface elevation, known as paleogeography. Nicky received her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2018, after which she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University until 2021 exploring the long-term variability of climate over the last 1000 years. She is particularly interested in what caused changes in earth’s past climate—whether they be changes in plate tectonics to changes in how hot the sun was—so that we may be better understand our how our climate will respond in the future.