Scleroclimatology: a revolution in marine palaeoscience
  • Upper Lecture Theatre, Sherwell Centre

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The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences organises a regular series of research seminars throughout the academic year to which everyone is welcome to attend. Speakers - both external and internal to the University - will talk on topics related to all aspects of Earth Sciences.

Today's speaker is Professor James Scourse from the University of Exeter.

Until very recently, proxy paleoclimate and palaeoecological archives from the marine realm have typically been characterised by low time resolution, high chronological uncertainty, and, with very few exceptions, little or no internal replication. 

These deficiencies have restricted the utility of marine proxies, including their use to calibrate long-term coupled ocean-atmosphere climate simulations. However, the tree-ring (dendrochronology) technique of crossdating can mitigate these issues and its recent application in calcified bivalve structures heralds a revolution in marine palaeoecology and paleoclimate research. Crossdated marine sclerochronologies are well replicated, annually resolved, exactly dated, and provide continuous multi-decadal to millennial histories of ocean climate and ecological variability that can be readily integrated with observational physical or biological records. As such, crossdated marine sclerochronologies constitute powerful observational templates to establish climate-biology relationships, test hypotheses of ecosystem functioning, conduct multi-proxy reconstructions, provide constraints for numerical climate models, and examine lead-lag analyses with terrestrial proxies. 

These ‘present, past, future’ perspectives provide new insights into the mechanisms and feedbacks controlling the climate system.

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