Climate of the LAst Millennium (CLAM): An Integrated Data-Model Approach to Reconstruct and Interpret Annual Variability in North Atlantic Circulation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Geography

Abstract

The ocean circulation of the North Atlantic is variable and pivotal in controlling regional and global climate. This variability occurs both naturally, and it is anticipated, in response to anthropogenic activity. Internal and forced natural variability in this system has so far largely been characterised in terrestrial archives and models rather than in the real ocean. It is critical that we understand the magnitude, timescale, drivers and impacts of this variability if we are to correctly attribute observed trends in the North Atlantic circulation, and develop robust early warning systems of, and plan adaptation to, future change. In CLAM we aim to utilise a network of robustly calibrated and verified absolutely dated sclerochronological proxy archives from NW Scotland, N. Iceland and the Gulf of Maine, together with high-resolution climate models, to investigate the mechanisms and forcings driving variability in the circulation patterns of the North Atlantic over the last millennium. This proposal is a resubmission (NE/M002160/1, Jan 2014, graded 8) in which we address minor concerns highlighted by the reviewers, notably we: (i) eliminate fieldwork risks - having completed all necessary sample collection using independent funding; (ii) further-demonstrate the powerful nature of the methodologies and potential findings though additional preliminary model-proxy analyses; (iii) greater societal impact via the development of a deeper collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre, and (iv) deliver improved value for money, through associated cost savings.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit, and how, from this research?
i) A major beneficiary of knowledge arising from this research is anticipated to be the climate modelling community who will be able to use our proxy-observations and model investigation to assess and improve the performance of models used for future climate prediction. Engaging effectively with this group is the main route for the proposed project to achieve societal impact.
ii) A review of the case for continuation of the RAPID 26.5N time series will take place in 2018. The proposed work will feed into this review by providing the first robust reconstruction of variability into which the recently observed change can be placed. Using this information it will be possible to begin asking over what timescale 26.5N observations may need to be made before robust trends can be identified.
iii) Other potential beneficiaries include the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and policy makers who rely on climate model predictions to determine policy; our study provides constraints with which to test the ability of climate models, ultimately helping policy makers assess the reliability and performance of climate models. Our proposal has direct policy relevance for national and international climate change programmes, and will help provide society with the information it requires for managing the future global environment. Better understanding natural climate variability will be of use to other stakeholders (such as environmental organisations and private corporations) that make use of future predictions of climate change derived from global climate models for forward planning and strategy decisions over a range of timescales.
iv) The general public and student communities (at both secondary School and University levels) will benefit from this work by the provision of an increased understanding of the Earth's climate system.

To ensure that the outputs of CLAM both maintain a stakeholder focus, and are ultimately utilised to improve Met Office modelling capacity (and more widely), a series of workshops will be held by the Met Office to discuss techniques and findings.

Arguably, the main function of universities is to create new knowledge and to transmit this to the students and also to the general public. CLAM will take advantage of the existing exhibition infrastructure that was established by the Bangor group in 2010 for the Royal Societies 350th year Summer Science Exhibition at the South Bank Centre London. The exhibit was designed to facilitate the communication of biological aging and palaeoclimate research to audiences ranging from very young children through to Fellows of the Royal Society. CLAM seeks to utilise and enhance the existing infrastructure of the exhibit by updating the general content. We seek to modify the exhibit enabling it to eventually become a permanent feature at the National Museum of Wales (Cardiff). This entails the replacement of the microscope and digital imaging system with a touch screen interactive "virtual microscope" system that facilitates the user to visualise the growth lines present in a number of shells under various magnifications easily without the need of supervision. Additionally this resource would be made available through the CLAM website to supplement the already available interactive educational games.

CLAM will interact with the local schools and colleges through open days, Science Festivals and by conducting presentations and interactive learning sessions directly in the schools and colleges. These interactive learning sessions will take advantage of the online virtual microscope and interactive games allowing the students to examine the shell and proxy archives, construct their own sclerochronologies and investigate past climate change.

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
NE/N002733/1 06/09/2015 05/02/2017 £53,193
NE/N002733/2 Transfer NE/N002733/1 06/02/2017 01/07/2019 £44,097
 
Title See Shells and Climate Change 
Description A creative collaboration with Jake Boex, ceramicist, funded by the Creative Exchange Programme, University of Exeter, exhibited in the Environment and Sustainability Institute, February-March 2019: 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Invitation to relocate the exhibition to The National Trust. 
URL http://www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/community/creativeexchange/boex/
 
Description C-author on four oral presentations given at EGU 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact EGFU Conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Co-author of an oral and a poster presentation at the European Geophysical Union Conference Vienna 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Co-author of five presentations at the International Conference on Paleoceanography 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentations at ICP 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Co-author of presentation at Challenger Conference 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at Conference by research student
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Co-author on six posters at international conference (EGU, Vienna) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Co-author on posters at international conference leading to discussions on a number of current research projects and potential collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited external seminar speaker, Plymouth University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited external seminar speaker sparking much interest amongst professional academics and members of the general public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited seminar, University College London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited seminar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited seminar, University of Queensland, Australia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited seminar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation at International Conference on Sclerochronology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research talk at ICS 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation at national research organisation (QRA) annual conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research presentation at national conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar, University of Exeter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Cross-department research seminar. Findings of relevance for PhD students working at Exeter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017