The warmer-than-present past

Short periods in the Quaternary such as some last peak interglacials like Marine Isotope Stages 5e and 11.3, or the early Holocene are characterised by a warmer climate and higher sea levels than today. These intervals in Earth’s history are considered to provide important background information that helps to better access future environmental boundary conditions under global warming scenarios. The high latitudes are particularly sensitive and vulnerable to future global warming. The potential of polar oceans and their marginal seas to amplify on a global scale warm climate conditions and sea level change through their temperature, sea ice and chemical characteristics drives our need to understand their natural behaviour and sensitivity throughout warmer-than-present episodes in Earth’s history.

Thus, we focus on reconstructing climatic and oceanographic changes in polar key regions during these time intervals.

In this context, we investigate:

  • Regional variations in polar climate during the early Holocene (~9,000-6,000 years before present) – interhemispheric and hemispheric patterns and linkages.
  • Establishment of sea surface temperature and sea ice records for the Arctic and Southern Ocean covering the MIS 5e warm interval.