Climate 2

This lecture will give an overview about the climate system and its changes during the past, focussing on the last few million years. We begin by describing the external astronomical forcing of the climate system and the observed response, as represented by proxy evidence for paleoclimatic variations. The main components and processes of the climate system as well as available different dating and analyses methods for paleoclimate research will be explained. Key paleoclimate archives, e.g. ice cores, marine sediment cores and different terrestrial records, will be discussed. The general overview will be supplemented by a presentation of some of the latest research results and most important open questions within the related fields of paleoclimate research. We will show that the past climate dynamics broadens our view of the climate system in general, including the positive and negative feedbacks determining climate sensitivity. Such approach is necessary to put our recent and expected future climate change into a long-term perspective.
Special areas:

• feedback mechanisms in the climate system;
• the role of the global atmosphere and ocean circulation for long-term
climate change;
• Holocene climate; Climate modes like ENSO and NAO; deglaciation;
Glacial climate; Milankovitch theory of the ice ages; Cenozoic climate changes;
• Biogeochemical cycles; Proxy data; Isotopes

Practicals complement the lessons.

Additional information

Recommended Literature:

  • Bradley, R., Paleoclimatology-Reconstructing climates of the Quaternary, 1999
  • Saltzman, B., Dynamical Paleoclimatology - A generalized theory of global climate change, Academic Press, San Diego, 2002
  • Ruddiman, W. F. Earth's Climate Past and Future
  • Paleoclimate, Global Change and the Future, 2003 by Keith D. Alverson, Raymond S. Bradley, Thomas F. Pedersen (Editors)
  • Broecker, W. S., The glacial world according to Wally, Eldigo Press, 202.