Quaternary geology and Paleoclimate


Glacier Pintu, Kerguelen
Jostein Bakke

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SOUTHSPHERE proposes a fundamentally new approach to use the past as a reference to understand the behaviour of the patterns, drivers and range of atmospheric climate change in the Southern Ocean. To this end, we will integrate emerging techniques from the fields of sedimentology, geochemistry and glaciology in a novel methodological framework. We will implement this innovative cross-disciplinary approach on Holocene sediments from the Kerguelen Archipelago to:  

  • Reconstruct glacier activity, a sensitive indicator of atmospheric change, throughout the Holocene from glacier-fed lake sediments and dated moraines to investigate past links between cryosphere and climate 
  • Constrain the climate signature of Holocene cryospheric and atmospheric change by generating quantitative summer temperature reconstructions from lake sediment lipid biomarker compounds 
  • Integrate proxy evidence of Holocene glacier size and summer temperature in a numerical glacier modelling framework to understand cryosphere-climate interactions and infer precipitation change 
  • Complement this approach with hydrogen isotope analyses on lake sediment biomarker compounds to detect shifts in precipitation source, a key indicator of shifts in circulation and sea-ice shifts 
  • Validate generated proxy- and model-based reconstructions by means of validation against local instrumental timeseries to provide site-specific proof of concept


Funded by NFR 2018 - 2023