Inventory of EU Marine Climate Change Research

New search

Past4Future - Climate change – Learning from the past climate

Project website:

Summary information

Funding:FP7 - Collaborative Research Project – Large-scale Integrating Project
Total cost:9230000
Ec contribution:6650000
Start date:2010-01-01
End date:2014-12-31
Duration:60 months
Coordinator:Ivan Kristoffersen (
Organisation:University of Copenhagen – Denmark
Keywords:Paleoclimate records; modelling of climate change; future ice sheet; sea-level; circulation; biogeochemical changes
Project name:Past4Future - Climate change – Learning from the past climate
Project summary:Paleoclimatic records contain a wealth of information on the stability and variability of climate and its ability to perform abrupt changes. The overarching motivation for us to work with the paleoarchive is the drive to understand the climate system and the importance of predicting future climate changes. By drawing together a strong multidisciplinary team of European and international researchers with tight connection to the high resolution data records from interglacial periods and state-of-the-art Earth system models we will advance the knowledge on abrupt changes in interglacial climate periods.

In Past4Future we propose to combine multidisciplinary palaeoclimate records from ice cores, marine cores, speleothems, pollen and other records with focus on a global distribution of the records to reconstruct climate change and variability during the present interglacial and the last interglacial. The records will be combined in integrated analyses aided by proxy modeling and assimilation, to gain understanding of the climate processes involved in the dynamics of the interglacial climates. Earth system models (ESM) including physical and biogeochemical processes will be applied to simulate the past and present interglacial climate, confront and intercompare the simulations with climate changes as observed from the palaeodata to both advance the models and our understanding of the dynamics and predictability of the climate system. Focus will be on the most recent two interglacial periods, as these provide the highest resolved most-comprehensive data records. Moreover the last interglacial represents a situation where the mean state was warmer than at present in large regions due to orbital forcing, thereby allowing testing climate system sensitivity to constrain projections of potential future ice sheet, sea-level, circulation and biogeochemical changes. The data and earth system model results will be used to reduce the current large uncertainties in our capabilities to project future global and regional warming especially in relation to sea level changes, sea ice changes and thermohaline circulation changes. The Past4Future program will draw together a world leading team of European and international partners in a concerted effort to advance our knowledge on the causes, processes and risks of abrupt changes in warm periods, such as the one expected in the next century. The program will inform the international debate on climate system stability and the dissemination of results will be targeted at both citizens and governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.