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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Quantifying Output Uncertainty in Models used for Climatic Change Research Seminar - Palaeoclimate Modelling: What is the role of palaeoclimate research in future climate change projections?

29th March 2012, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Cosin's Hall, Professor Paul Valdes

This is part of the Quantifying Output Uncertainty in Models used for Climatic Change Research Seminars.

All future climate change projections are based on climate models but can we trust these models. They are developed based on the underlying mathematics and physics but require numerous approximations which may, or may not, be valid in future climates. One obvious way of testing these models is to apply them to past climate change and almost all palaeoclimate studies use this to justify their research. However, we do not have direct observations of past climate. Instead we have indirect "proxies" of change such as pollen and ice cores which themselves require complicated interpretational models in order to estimate the change of climate. The result is that we are comparing uncertain models to uncertain data. The talk will discuss these issues and the strengths and limitations of using palaeoclimates to evaluate and constrain climate change models. It will conclude with some recommendations about the direction of future research.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.