Quaternary geology and Paleoclimate

Past climate and environmental change

Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years.

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Climate change may be limited to a specific region, or may occur across the whole Earth and it can be gradual, often cyclical, or in the form of more high-frequent events. Processes (forcings) that may cause climate change are mountain building and continental drift, variations in orbital parameters (for example variations in the tilt of the Earth's axis), volcanic eruptions, variability in solar activity, and more recently, changes in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The research group has documented significant climate variability on multi-decadal to millennial time scales. The origin of this variability is a key question in terms of understanding the nature and possible underlying forcing of natural climate variability. Proxy-based reconstructions (for example from lakes, caves and marine sediments) provide new insight to the dynamics of past climate and environmental variability. While the vast amount Quaternary data and records offers unique insights into the interactions of the climate/earth system, longer records, for example from Cenozoic greenhouse periods, are also being investigated to understand the larger scale climate system evolution and how the Earth System operates under warmer than present climate conditions