Centre for Past Climate Change


The Centre for Past Climate Change focuses on documenting and understanding climate and environmental changes, and how these changes have impacted on and been impacted by humans.

The two-way interaction between climate and humans is most apparent since the development of agriculture in the early Holocene. The Holocene (i.e. the last 11,700 years) is also the time period when palaeodata are abundant and chronologies most secure.

A secondary focus on the late Quaternary (and particularly the last glacial period i.e. the last 110,000 years, and the previous interglacial period, the period between ca 130,000 and 110,000 years ago), provides an opportunity to understand the impact of climate and environmental changes on human populations and in particular how these may have influenced migrations of human populations out of Africa.

Climate and environmental changes during the Late Quaternary have been large, and this also makes this period of intense interest for modeling studies to examine ice-sheet and sea-level behavior as well as regional climate fluctuations.


CPCC Training Workshop: Pollen source area theory, modelling pollen-vegetation relationships, and dealing with reconstruction uncertainty, 7-12th September 2015.

The CPCC are delighted to host a training workshop on behalf of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) LandCover6k project. The workshop will focus on the reconstruction of land cover and land use from pollen using the landscape reconstruction algorithm modelling approach (a specifically the REVEALS and LOVE models) developed by Shinya Sugita. However, there will also be discussions on the theorectical basis of this approach through pollen source theory and alternative techniques (biomisation, modern analogue techniques). We are delighted to be able to welcome Shinya Sugita, Marie-Jose Gaillard, Colin Prentice and Simon Brewer to Reading to present this course.

For more information contact Sandy Harrison: s.p.harrison@reading.ac.uk

CPCC Visitor: Mats WidgrenProfessor Dominik Fleitmann sampling cave deposits (speleothems) in the Swiss Jura. Speleothems can provide annually-resolved records of temperature and precipitation over many thousands of years.

Mats Widgren, Professor in Cultural Geography at Stockholm University, will be visiting the CPCC from the 16-20th November 2015. Mats is a member of the PAGES LandCover6k project, and his visit is designed to promote discussions of how archaeologists and palaeoecologists at Reading can become more involved in this exciting project to map the history of land cover and land use through the Holocene. Mats has worked on mapping agricultural land use in diverse regions, including northern Europe, the Eurasian steppe, and Africa. Mats will be running an in-house training session for members of the CPCC about using archaeological data to map regional patterns in land use and will also be giving a seminar to the CPCC.

For more information contact Sandy Harrison: s.p.harrison@reading.ac.uk

NERC Short Training Course

The CPCC will be hosting the week-long NERC Training Course "An introduction to palaeoclimate modelling for palaeodata specialists" from 15-19th February 2016. This course, which is open to postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers working with palaeoenvironmental, palaeoecological, palaeo-oceanographic, or archaeological data, will provide an introduction to state-of-the-art modeling of palaeoclimate and an opportunity to work with palaeoclimate simulations from the Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project.

For more information contact Joy Singarayer: j.s.singarayer@reading.ac.uk

Methods and strategies Model-simulated temperature and precipitation patterns at the Last Glacial Maximum (lgm), during the historic period, and in response to increases in atmospheric CO2 content (a 1% increase in CO2 every years, and an abrupt change to 4 times todays CO2 le

The Centre for Past Climate Change has a major focus on generating new observations, including the development of new reconstruction techniques.

Data-generation is paralleled by data synthesis to document environmental and climate changes at regional and global scales.

These data syntheses will be used in conjunction with carefully-designed experiments, using both offline models of specific components of the climate system (e.g. fire-enabled dynamic global vegetation models, hydrological models) and fully-coupled climate or earth-system models, to understand the mechanisms of past climate changes.

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