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HOLOCLIP - Holocene climate variability at high-southern latitudes: an integrated perspective

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Summary information

Funding:EUROPOLAR ERA-NET project funded under the PolarCLIMATE Programme
Ec contribution:759000
Start date:2010-01-01
End date:2012-12-31
Duration:36 months
Coordinator:Dr. Barbara Stenni (
Organisation:University of Trieste - Italy
Project name:HOLOCLIP - Holocene climate variability at high-southern latitudes: an integrated perspective
Project summary:Abstract

HOLOCLIP is a European Science Foundation / European Polar Board PolarCLIMATE initiative ( The PolarCLIMATE programme has contributed to the development of a strategic common vision for Polar Climate research and is the first step towards joint implementation of programmes and fully utilising research stations and climate observatories in the Arctic and Antarctic. The funding in the PolarCLIMATE Project is by national research funding agencies.
HOLOCLIP aims to bring together the ice core, the sediment core and the modelling scientific communities to understand the processes linking different components of the climate system and linking climatic response to external forcing over the Holocene. High-latitudes are particularly interesting places to document natural climate variability since: (1) every component of the climate system interacts in these regions in a still poorly-constrained and non-linear way; (2) changes are amplified compared to low latitude environments; (3) Antarctica and its surrounding are characterized by a strong regional variability. Existing geological records, glacial records and model experiments have highlighted differences in the evolution of the climate as a function of the area. The areas on which the European research efforts have been concentrated over the past decades are suited for integrating existing ice and marine records, in terms of amount and quality of collected materials.


The objectives of the Project are multiple and can be grouped under the following:
- To calibrate our tools in order to better understand the proxies that we currently use for climatic reconstructions. We will work on modern processes to validate and calibrate our proxies and will analyse water column and modern sediment trap samples (seasonal variations), short marine sediment cores, sea-bed morphology, shallow firn cores, snow pits and precipitation samples covering the instrumental period of the last decades.
- To document changes of different components of the Holocene climate system in terms of amplitudes, frequencies and timing. Using a multi-proxy approach, we will reconstruct climate and environmental parameters in the selected areas.
- To document the regional heterogeneity of the different components over the Holocene period. We will investigate several marine cores from the Antarctic continental margin and ice cores from the ice sheet, integrating the results with climate models using data assimilation techniques. The large number of records studied and their diversity (both regional and type of records) will allow us to better constrain the regional heterogeneity of the different components/parameters.
- To document the relationships between the different components/parameters. All the components are connected but their relationships/feedbacks are highly non-linear. Sea bed morphology is also a crucial component for downslope flowing of High Salinity Shelf Water, formed in coastal polynyas, and finally to mixing with Antarctic circumpolar water. We propose a detailed comparison of marine and ice core records to better document the interactions among atmosphere/cryosphere-ocean. The interpretations will feed into/validate numerical models.
- To document the forcing factors of the different components/parameters and to test the sensitivity of the climate system to different forcing factors. We will provide numerical models incorporating marine and ice core data to better understand the relationship between forcing factors and climatic response.
- To document the feedbacks of the different components/parameters on Holocene climate. We will combine marine and ice core data with those deriving from numerical models to determine the role of atmospheric circulation, sea ice, and ocean in regulating the Holocene climate in the different sectors of the Southern Ocean and the impact of the Southern Ocean on thermohaline circulation.