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Durham University

Department of Geography

News Archive

NERC Quest-INSU earth system dynamics: understanding atmospheric composition through glacial-interglacial cycles

(8 March 2006)

The Natural Environment Research Council, in collaboration with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, has announced a binational opportunity to conduct research into earth system dynamics specifically aimed at understanding atmospheric composition through glacial-interglacial cycles. This is a joint initiative of NERC's quantifying and understanding the earth system programme and the CNRS's Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers. Proposals are invited from UK-French consortia for an international flagship project in earth system dynamics, with the specific aim to develop a quantitative and predictive understanding of the ice-core record of changing atmospheric composition using a combination of palaeo-environmental observations and earth system models. The project’s primary goal will be to explain the major changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane concentration on glacial-interglacial time scales during the past 0.8 million years as recorded in the Vostok and EPICA Dome C ice cores from Antarctica. The project will:

•deal with the interactions between global bio-geochemical cycles and the physical climate system, including the nature and effects of changes in the terrestrial and marine biosphere and the causes and consequences of changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere;

•build on the current state of knowledge in dynamic palaeo-climatology, based on the joint analysis of climate modelling results and large-scale data syntheses from the terrestrial, marine and cryospheric realms.

Project investigators will be based at research or higher education institutions in the UK and France. NERC supports full project and personnel costs, including visits by French scientists, requested by eligible UK institutions at up to £1.6 million, providing 80 per cent of the full economic cost. CNRS funds marginal project and additional personnel costs , including visits by UK researchers, at French institutions, up to a maximum of 200,000 euros.

Deadline: outline proposals 25 April; full proposals 27 July, 2006