Synchronising marine and ice-core records using tephrochronology (SMART)

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Geography and Sustainable Development


The Eemian interglacial serves as the most recent analogue for understanding the natural operation of the climate system during the current interglacial. The nature and pattern of the full deglaciation cycle and the return into a glaciated Earth are, however, poorly understood due to the inherent difficulties that arise in the comparison of palaeorecords from different natural archives that span this interval. Indeed, it seems that abrupt and rapid climatic oscillations characterised this period. Yet, due to the chronological problems, an understanding of the climatic dynamics and forcing mechanisms driving these rapid events is currently unattainable. This project will employ a powerful approach in which volcanic ash layers are used to synchronise and directly compare ice-core and marine sequences. A framework of volcanic events will be established from a new Greenland ice-core that will underpin chronological models and will enable an unprecedented insight into the differing response of the atmospheric and marine systems during rapid climatic events between 140,000-70,000 years BP.


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Description The project has delivered a new understanding of climate synchronization by testing the linkages between marine and ice core records; this has been done without reliance of climate proxy data (tuning) and therefore reflects a significant improvement in the state of the art.
Exploitation Route The data are being used by others to build and test climate linkages that underpin our understanding of long-term climate change.
Sectors Education,Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections