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PALAEO & MODERN PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBAL CHANGE

A UK IGBP meeting at The Royal Society, London

27th June 2007




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SUMMARY

The Palaeo and Modern Perspectives on Global Change open meeting aims to examine the key challenges posed by the palaeo-record from the perspective of each of the IGBP projects and to build a dialogue between these projects and the PAGES community to ensure that these challenges are addressed in a realistic way.

BACKGROUND

We need to understand the mechanisms and processes of climate and environmental change in both natural and anthropogenically-perturbed situations. The various components of the earth system respond on very different timescales to perturbations: the atmosphere reacts on timescales of hours to years, natural ecosystems on time-scales of years to decades to centuries, the land-surface on timescales of decades to hundreds of years, the ocean on centennial to millennial timescales, and the cryosphere on timescales of up to millennia and longer. These two considerations make it important to examine climate and environmental change in the recent past and over the longer-term timeframe offered by the “palaeo” record if we are to be able to improve our ability to predict the direction of future global changes.

Within the organizational framework of the IGBP Programme, PAGES represents palaeo-science and the data-gathering activities that underpin it. However, key science issues that arise out of the palaeo-record are considered important foci for many of the other IGBP projects. For example, explaining the apparently tightly-controlled upper and lower limits on atmospheric trace gases on glacial-interglacial timescales as shown by the ice-core record is considered to be a key focus for modeling activities within iLEAPS and SOLAS. A major focus for the GLP project is how ecosystem structure and functioning is affected by changes in atmospheric composition and biogeochemical cycles on different timescales. GLP has also identified a need to exploit the palaeo-record of recolonisation of different environments in order to achieve a better understanding of the survival of natural vegetation in the future. Similarly, DIVERSITAS and the ESSP GWSP have identified the need to set the understanding of the contemporary hydrological and freshwater ecological systems in a temporal context

The problem here is that palaeo-questions within most of the IGBP core projects are seen primarily as modeling exercises; the community that is responsible for the data syntheses and process studies that are required underpinnings for such modeling exercises resides in PAGES. It is timely, as the new IGBP projects move from planning to implementation, to bring these two communities together to stimulate a more integrated view of the dynamics of the earth system. Specifically, it is important to examine the key challenges posed by the palaeo-record from the perspective of each of the IGBP projects and to build a dialogue between these projects and the PAGES community to ensure that these challenges are addressed in a realistic way.

AIMS

  • To inform the UK science community of the major challenges to our understanding of the medium and long-term dynamics of key aspects of the earth system as currently perceived by the IGBP community
  • To inform the UK science community about the availability of resources (e.g. process studies, data syntheses, modelling tools) for tackling such challenges over the next 5-10 years
  • To strengthen the links between the IGBP projects at a critical phase in the planning and implementation of new projects, including their link with the ESSP integrated projects on water, food, carbon and human health
  • To explore differences in perspective and in our understanding of key aspects of the earth system that stem from the timescale at which these phenomena are studied
  • To explore approaches based on analysis of observations at different time and space scales and on the use of modelling tools
  • To develop ideas for improving the integration of palaeo-studies within the other core IGBP projects and to provide feedback to the international IGBP on how to do this

MEETING ORGANISERS

The Palaeo and Modern Perspectives on Global Change meeting is organised by Professor Sandy P. Harrison and Professor Rick Battarbee on behalf of the UK IGBP

The meeting is being run with financial support from the Royal Society

SPEAKERS AND MODERATORS

Rick Battarbee John Dearing Harry Elderfield Sandy Harrison
Jason Holt Ian Joint Thorsten Kiefer Karen Kohfeld
Paul Leadley Patricia Martinerie Laurence Mee Colin Prentice
Ros Rickaby Andy Ridgwell Nicola Warwick Kathy Willis
Eric Wolff Andy Watson

For more details please see the meeting programme

REGISTRATION

Registration is now closed.

FURTHER DETAILS

Further details about the meeting logistics can be found by using the navigation bar at the top of this page

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