The recent geological past is characterized by the cyclic growth and decay of large continental ice-sheets in the northern hemisphere driven by changes in incoming solar radiation associated with Earth’s orbital configuration. These glacial-interglacial cycles initially responded to the 41,000 year pacing of Earth’s axial tilt, but about 1 million years ago this periodicity slowed down to ~100,000 year cycles without any discernible change in orbital parameters, thus indicating fundamental shifts in internal feedback mechanisms. Yet, converging evidence for the origin of this remarkable change in glacial-interglacial pacing, known as the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, remains elusive. The CliMoTran project aims towards a comprehensive understanding of this unique climate transition through the employment of the Bern3D Earth System model. In order to enable fully dynamical simulations of glacial-interglacial cycles a readily available vertical integrated ice-sheet model will be coupled to the exceptionally computational efficient Bern3D model. Newly compiled paleoclimatic reconstructions will form important constraints on the past climate that can be directly compared to the wide palette of tracers implemented in the Bern3D model. This, together with the individually explored forcing parameters will shed light on the complex processes that were responsible for the remarkable slow-down of ice age cycles. As such, the project will advance the understanding of the relevant, often interwoven, driving processes of climate change, a much-needed undertaking for improving predictions of future climate in the face of accelerated anthropogenic carbon emissions. Conducted in a leading multidisciplinary research environment CliMoTran will thus not only expand the researcher’s previous scientific background in environmental physics and Earth sciences but will also enhance the development of his career as an independent researcher in a unique way.
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