To describe and model the environmental changes which occurred globally, over the North Atlantic and over the european Continent during the last 30.000 years.
The aim is to reconstruct the evolution of the Geosphere-Biosphere system in Europe and adjacent areas. The work includes:
- radiocarbon dating of continental and marine records;
- estimation of sea surface and atmospheric temperature changes;
- variations of dust, aerosols and trace gases concentration in the atmosphere (CO2, CH4);
- changes in surface and deep water circulation in the North Atlantic, phytoplankton productivity and their impact on the CO2 cycle;
- vegetation changes over Europe and their impact on the carbon storage in continental areas.
A strong effort will be made to derive quantitative estimates of the climatic parameters used in models from the geological data. All the obtained data will be used either as input or as check of output of models simulating the transient behaviour of the climate system over the last 30.000 years. A hierarchy of models will be used: simple geochemical models, 2D and 3D circulation models of the coupled atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere system.
A special attention will be paid to the Younger Dryas cold event (11.000 to 10.000 Years Before Present), which disrupts a smooth transition from glacial to interglacial. It is strong evidence of the climatic system's non-linear response to insolation forcing, for whilst insolation increases continuously, full glacial conditions returned temporarily to the North Atlantic for about 1.000 years. It is hoped that modelling will identify the detailed physical processes responsible for the tempo of deglaciation and the Younger Dryas event.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
CB2 1TN Cambridge
DH1 3HP Durham