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PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY OF THE LAST GLACIAL/INTERGLACIAL CYCLE

Objective

TO OBTAIN THE DETAILED AND CONTINUOUS RECORD OF THE PALAEOBOTANICAL AND PALAEOCOLOGICAL EVOLUTION OF NORTHERN BELGIUM SINCE +/- 15.000.

REFINED QUANTITATIVE PALAEOCLIMATIC INFORMATION DERIVED FROM A RANGE OF PALAEOENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES FOR USE IN THE MODELLING OF CLIMATE WILL BE SUPPLIED. THIS WILL EMBRACE THE LAST GLACIAL/INTERGLACIAL CYCLE AND WILL UTILISE A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH. DETAILED ATTENTION WILL ALSO BE PAID TO THE PROBLEMS OF CHRONOLOGY, FOR CLEARLY AN ACCURATE TIME SCALE IS REQUIRED AGAINST WHICH FLUCTUATIONS IN CLIMATE CAN BE DELIMITED. THIS WILL BE ACHIEVED BY THE APPLICATION OF NEW METHODS, SUCH AS U-TH DATING, C14 DATING USING THE ACCELERATOR, AND THERMOLUMINESCENCE DATING.
PREVIOUS ESTIMATES OF PALAEOCLIMATIC RECONSTRUCTION WILL BE REASSESSED IN LIGHT OF RECENT AND SIGNIFICANT ADVANCES IN THE FIELDS OF GEOLOGY, PEDOLOGY, GEOMORPHOLOGY, HYDROLOGY AND PALAEOECOLOGY. THE RESEARCH PROGRAMMA WILL FOCUS ON RECONSTRUCTING THE PALAEOCLIMATE FOR A REGION OF UNIFORM CHARACTER WHICH SHOULD YIELD A SIMILAR RESPONSE TO CLIMATIC CHANGES THROUGH TIME. THIS SHOULD ALSO CONSIDERABLY IMPROVE OUR PRESENT UNDERSTANDING OF THE SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO.
NEW SITES WILL BE CHOSEN WITH RESPECT TO THEIR APPARENT SUITABILITY FOR DEFINING SPECIFIC QUANTITATIVE ESTIMATES OF PALAEOCLIMATIC PARAMETERS FOR SUFFICIENTLY LONG TIME PERIODS.
THE RESULTS WILL ENABLE MORE DETAILED AND RELIABLE QUANTITATIVE RECONSTRUCTION OF TEMPERATURE VARIATIONS (MEAN VALUES OF ANNUAL, SUMMER AND WINTER TEMPERATURE PRECIPITATION , TYPE AND ANNUAL MAXIMA AND MINIMA DISTRIBUTIONS); AND WIND VELOCITIES AND PATTERNS TO BE INDICATED. THESE PARAMETERS CAN NOW BE MORE ACCURATELY DETERMINED BY REGIONAL STUDIES OF FORMER SEDIMENTARY ENVIRONMENTS AND BIOLOGICAL HABITATS THAN WAS PREVIOUSLY POSSIBLE. PERIODICITIES WITHIN THE DATA DERIVED FROM THESE SOURCES WILL BE IDENTIFIED FROM STATISTICAL ANALYSES.
INTEGRATION OF THESE VARIOUS APPROACHES WILL PERMIT A REFINED EVALUATION OF SPECIFIC PALAEOCLIMATIC PARAMETERS FOR THIS REGION DURING THE LAST GLACIAL/INTERGLACIAL PERIOD. DATA CAN NOW BE PRODUCED FOR USE BY THOSE CONCERNED WITH SIMULATION MODELLING OF CLIMATIC CHANGE IN A WAY WHICH HAS NOT BEEN UNDERTAKEN BEFORE, THEREBY ENABLING A GREATER DEGREE OF PRECISION TO BE ATTAINED.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

RIJKSUNIVERSITEIT GENT
Address
Rectoraat St. Pietersnieuwstraat, 25
9000 Gent
Belgium

Participants (6)

INST JAIME ALMERA
TRINITY COLLEGE
UNIV CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN
UNIV DI ROMA "LA SAPIENZA"
UNIVERSITAET HOHENHEIM
UNIVERSITE DE MARSEILLE