Deglaciations – How the world warmed up

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Deglaciations were the largest sustained climate changes of pre-anthropogenic times. They mark the rapid (over several thousands of years) transitions from an ice age to a warm ‘interglacial’, and were characterized by global temperature increases of 3-6 °C, CO2 rises of about 100 ppmv as well as increases in other greenhouse gases such as methane, sea-level rises (due to continental ice melt-back) of about 130 m, etc.

Well-dated sequences of events exist only for the most recent deglaciation, and are currently being compiled for the penultimate deglaciation. There remains much debate about the causation of, and feedback mechanisms that sustained, deglaciations. With only one or two well-documented examples, we cannot hope to unravel which processes are systematic/fundamental and which processes are unique/coincidental to the deglaciation process. We have developed a novel way for documenting in great detail the sequences of events within deglaciations, based on data collection in the western Mediterranean. We anticipate that we can take this methodology to resolve in detail the sequence of key climate events in every deglaciation of the past 1.2 million years.

If you want to become part of this novel, challenging, and exciting research on the processes behind the largest rapid climate transitions of the past few millions of years, then contact us (Prof. Eelco J Rohling, or Dr. Gianluca Marino)!

We can support projects on this topic at Honours, MSc, and PhD level.

Updated:  18 December 2017/Responsible Officer:  RSES Webmaster/Page Contact:  RSES Webmaster