Palaeoceanography: motivations and challenges for the future

Laura F. Robinson*, Mark Siddall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ocean interacts with the atmosphere, biosphere and cryosphere in a complex way, modulating climate through the storage and transport of heat, nutrients and carbon. As such, it is important that we understand the ways in which the ocean behaves and the factors that can lead to change. In order to gain this understanding, we need to look back into the past, on time scales from recent decadal-scale change, through the abrupt changes of the Pleistocene and back to times when the Earth's climate was significantly different than the Holocene. A key challenge facing the field of palaeoceanography is to combine data and modelling in a common framework. Coupling palaeo-data and models should improve our knowledge of how the Earth works, and perhaps of more direct societal relevance, might enable us to provide better predictive capabilities in climate modelling. In this discussion paper, we examine the motivations, past successes and challenges facing palaeoceanographic studies. We then suggest a number of areas and approaches that we believe will allow palaeoceanography to continue to provide new insights into processes that affect future climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5540-5566
Number of pages27
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Volume370
Issue number1980
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2012

Keywords

  • LAST GLACIAL MAXIMUM
  • ATLANTIC THERMOHALINE CIRCULATION
  • marine sciences
  • PAST 2 MILLENNIA
  • ABRUPT CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • SOUTHERN-OCEAN
  • BORON ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION
  • CAL KYR BP
  • RADIOCARBON AGE CALIBRATION
  • MERIDIONAL OVERTURNING CIRCULATION
  • palaeoceanography
  • future directions
  • NORTH-ATLANTIC

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