Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Variations in natural climate over the past 130 000 years and upgrading of general circulation models

A high resolution, continental-scale databank of palaeoclimatic information for the last 130,000 years has been developed. A number of lines of evidence are available to support this project, from a range of sedimentary or geomorphological features which originate during particular environmental conditions to biological indicators, fossils of plants and animals with restricted climatic ranges. The climatic conditions that prevailed while the sedimentary features developed or when the particular plants and animals survived in a region can be quantified. The conditions are estimated by studying the precise climatic conditions under which comparable features develop today or in which corresponding plants and animals presently exist. Such quantitative estimates from a range of indicators are then combined to reconstruct past variations in climate for a particular locality.

This is standardized, as much as is feasible, to meet quality control requirements in dating and in quantitative palaeoclimatic methods. The data are stored in a database, capable of interaction with general circulation models (GCM) and of being synthesized for a variety of time slices over the period concerned. Transects of palaeoclimatic records, from Ireland in the west to Poland in the east, are constructed in order to identify the nature of oceanic and continental influences on the region. An attempt is made to quantify palaeotemperature and palaeo-precipitation changes, and to compare the climate records with the most recent models of ice-volume variations for the region. As a result an evaluation is made of the interacting influences that have affected Europe's climate: variations in the amount and position of glacier ice (dominant influence in the north), oceanic influences (mainly West and Southwest) and a continental influence towards the east.

Reported by

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1085
Amsterdam
Netherlands
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