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Past Continental Climate Change: Temperatures from marine and lacustrine archives

Objective

Global climate change is a topic of major interest as it has a large impact on human societies. Computer models used to predict directions of future climate change are validated by means of retrospective analysis of past climate changes. Detailed reconstruction of past climates, especially temperature, is, therefore, of considerable importance. Several tools (proxies) are available to reconstruct absolute sea surface temperatures. Continental temperature reconstructions, however, are hampered by a lack of quantitative temperature proxies and, consequently, are often qualitative rather than quantitative. Recently, my group discovered a new quantitative continental temperature proxy, the MBT index, which is based on the distribution of membrane lipids of soil bacteria. Their composition is a function of annual mean air temperature (MAT). These lipids are transported by rivers to the ocean and deposited in marine sediments. Determination of the MBT index in cores from river fans can, thus, potentially be used to reconstruct continental, river basin-integrated, temperatures from a marine record in front of large river outflows. We will study the mechanisms of transport of the soil bacterial membrane lipids to the ocean in many river systems and compare the down-core changes in their composition with conventional MAT proxies. We will also investigate the potential of lake sediments as archives of continental climate change using our new MBT palaeothermometer and apply this thermometer in the assessment of continental climate change during the transition from a hothouse to an icehouse Earth in the last 100 million years. This project that combines aspects of microbiology, molecular ecology, lipid biogeochemistry and paleoclimatology will bring this novel continental palaeothermometer to maturity. If we can ground-truth the use of the MBT-proxy, it will open up new windows in palaeoclimatological research and thus contribute to improvement of current climate models.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/lipids
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/palaeontology/paleoclimatology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology
  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/geochemistry/biogeochemistry
  • /social sciences/media and communications/library science/archives

Call for proposal

ERC-2008-AdG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

STICHTING NIOZ, KONINKLIJK NEDERLANDS INSTITUUT VOOR ONDERZOEK DER ZEE
Address
Landsdiep 4
1797 SZ Den Hoorn Texel
Netherlands
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 2 146 200
Principal investigator
Jaap Sinninghe Damste (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Pieter J.C. Honkoop (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (2)

STICHTING NIOZ, KONINKLIJK NEDERLANDS INSTITUUT VOOR ONDERZOEK DER ZEE
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 2 146 200
Address
Landsdiep 4
1797 SZ Den Hoorn Texel
Activity type
Research Organisations
Principal investigator
Jaap Sinninghe Damste (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Pieter J.C. Honkoop (Mr.)
UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 351 840
Address
Heidelberglaan 8
3584 CS Utrecht
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Andre Van Der Kallen (Mr.)