M04 - Past Climate Changes: a key for the future

Convenor: Andre Berger
Co-Convenors: A.Haywood, Q.Z.Yin, A Timmermann, M.MacCracken  

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013), without rapid and dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, the Earth’s climate can warm by a few °C. This change may occur over a few hundred years, accompanied by sea level rising at a rate of as much as a meter, or perhaps more, per century. Such a climate appears to be unprecedented over the last 150 years. This requests therefore to go back in the past history of the Earth looking for the closest analogues. As we are presently in an interglacial (the Holocene), the warm climates of the past few million years are particularly well suited.

Understanding the nature and mechanisms of past climate changes in general and particularly the relative stability of the past warm periods has the potential to provide context and insight into climate and sea-level response to human activities over the industrial period and into the future, as well as the impacts of such climate change on the environment.

This symposium invites researchers who investigate the long-term behavior of the climate system and of the environment in the past and how it is projected to change into the future. We encourage both modelers and empirical scientists who focus on different aspects of the climate system to participate.

  • Session 1. Reconstructing and understanding the Pliocene and earlier warm periods - Convener: A. Haywood
  • Session 2. Reconstructing and understanding the Pleistocene - Convenor: Q.Z. Yin
  • Session 3. Reconstructing and understanding the climate, sea level, environment and civilization changes over the Holocene and the Anthropocene - Conveners: A Timmermann, M. MacCracken