University of Cambridge > > British Antarctic Survey - Director's Choice > Back to the future? Climate clues from a past warm time interval

Back to the future? Climate clues from a past warm time interval

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Norman Ratcliffe.

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During the last interglacial period (between 129 000 and 116 000 years ago), the climate of the Earth was warmer than today. In particular, deep ice cores suggest that it was 5°C warmer-than-today in Antarctica. But how warm was it in the rest of globe? How sensitive the Greenland and the Antarctic Ice Sheets were to this warming? And consequently what did the warming do to global sea levels? In the context of our warming planet, the answer to these questions is particularly important and this will be the focus of my talk.

I will present recent insights on the Last Interglacial climate, sea level and the state of the Greenland and the Antarctic Ice sheets using records from climatic archives (corals, ice cores and marine sediment cores). I will also show how these reconstructions of the past provides valuable benchmarks against which to test and improve the numerical models that are also used for future climate predictions. Overall, my talk will illustrate how by studying such a past warm time interval, it is possible to gain insights into climate processes and feedbacks close to those expected by the end of the 21st century.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Director's Choice series.

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