Paleoclimate

The Paleoclimate Research Group at GEUS is a cross-departmental initiative. We are a multidisciplinary group working across timescales to address the key processes and environmental impacts of our changing climate.

Why is it important to study past climate?

Understanding paleoclimate has never been more relevant than today.

During the geologically brief time that humans have walked the Earth, we have changed the planet in unprecedented ways. Since the dawn of industrialism, anthropogenic fossil fuel burning has led to increased pCO2 in the atmosphere and rapid warming that is expected to accelerate in the coming decades.

The impact of these changes has consequences for the physical and environmental processes that operate on both short and long timescales within the geosphere, hydrosphere/cryosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. The cascading effects on biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem processes have critical consequences that are already impacting society. Palaeoclimate archives and proxy datainformation extracted from historical and geological records is essential for understanding interconnected Earth System processes and for narrowing the knowledge gaps on the causes, tipping points and consequences of climate change.

 

The Paleoclimate Research Group

Paleoclimate as a research field is highly multi-disciplinary, and thus our group includes experts in geophysics, geochemistry, paleoecology, paleoceanography, paleogenetics, biostratigraphy, sedimentology, and numerical modeling, among other disciplines. The group has a primary focus on Greenland and Denmark, and the wider Arctic and North Atlantic regions, but is also engaged in projects elsewhere.

Latest news

Publications

Contact us

Sofia Ribeiro
Glaciology and Climate
Geophysics and Sedimentary Basins
Email: jrh@geus.dk
 

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People

Paleoclimate researchers at GEUS cover a broad range of topics across several disciplines and timescales. Here is an overview of who we are.

Paul Knutz
Research Professor
Marine Geology
Ole Bennike
Senior Researcher
Marine Geology
Lara F. Perez
Senior Researcher
Marine Geology

# Paleoceanography, Polar margins, Greenland Ice Sheet, Quaternary and Cenozoic

# Quaternary climate, Holocene sea-level changes, palaeogeography

# Arctic-Antarctica; polar margins; seismic-stratigraphy; core-log-seismic correlation; sedimentary processes

Sofia Ribeiro
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate
Camilla Snowman Andresen
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate
Mimmi Oksman
Postdoc
Glaciology and Climate

# Arctic paleoceanography, Marine ecosystems, Sea ice proxies, Holocene climate, Greenland.

# Greenland fjord sediments, Holocene, Eemian, Ice-ocean interactions, Climatic teleconnections

# Diatoms, marine conditions and productivity, ocean-ice sheet interactions, Holocene

Heike Zimmermann
Researcher
Glaciology and Climate
Rebecca Jackson
Postdoc
Glaciology and Climate
Kristian Kjellerup Kjeldsen
Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

# Paleogenetics, Marine ecosystems, Sea ice, Biodiversity, Protists

# Paleoceanography; marine sediment cores; foraminifera; Greenland; Iceland

Greenland ice sheet evolution, Holocene ice extent, ice-ocean interactions; sea-level changes

Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate
Anne Munck Solgaard
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate
Signe Hillerup Larsen
Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

# Greenland ice sheet evolution, ice-flow modeling, ice-penetrating radar, past ice extent

Ice flow modeling, ice dynamics, Greenland Ice Sheet evolution

# Ice flow modeling, ice dynamics

Anna Bang Kvorning
PhD. student
Glaciology and Climate

Arctic paleoceanography, marine sediment cores, dinocysts, Holocene, Greenland

Kasia Sliwinska
Senior Researcher
Geo-energy and Storage
Karen Dybkjær
Senior Researcher
Geo-energy and Storage
Henrik Nøhr-Hansen
Senior Researcher
Geo-energy and Storage

Cretaceous to Neogene, organic biomarker proxies, palynology, stratigraphy, North Atlantic region, IODP

Cretaceous to Neogene, organic biomarker proxies, palynology, stratigraphy, North Atlantic region, IODP

Cretaceous-Paleogene, Arctic dinocysts, paleoenvironment, paleoclimate

Peter Alsen
Senior Researcher
Geo-energy and Storage

Boreal ammonite and belemnite taxonomy, biostratigraphy and palaeobiogeography; Greenland; Early Cretaceous

John Hopper
Research Professor
Geophysics and Sedimentary Basins
Erik Skovbjerg Rasmussen
Senior Researcher
Geophysics and Sedimentary Basins
Thomas Funck
Senior Researcher
Geophysics and Sedimentary Basins

# Ocean gateways and tectonics, paleographic reconstructions, geodynamics, PETM

Miocene, Paleoclimate, Palaeogeography, Prediction of lithology

# Oceanic gateways, Large Igneous Provinces, marine seismic studies, geodynamics

Klaus Hinsby
Senior Researcher
Hydrology

# Groundwater, recharge, temperature, tracers, age

Projects

Most paleoclimate projects at GEUS involve interactions between several Earth System components. While a large majority of the projects are focused on recent (Anthropocene) and Holocene time periods, research projects at GEUS cover the entire Cenozoic era (the past ca. 66M years), and some projects include time periods in the Mesozoic and Paleozoic.

Research projects

Project to investigate Iceland-plume/ridge interaction and impacts on climate, in particular the PETM

About

Funding Source(s): PiP, Eurofleets, Irish Marine Institute

Period: 2021 - 2022

Region: Porcupine Basin offshore Ireland

Techniques/proxies: seismic reflrection and refraction

Project Website: https://www.poro-clim.org

John Hopper
Research Professor
Geophysics and Sedimentary Basins



About

Funding Source(s): Geocenter bevilling

Period: 2020 - 2022

Region: North Atlantic, Northeast Greenland

Techniques/proxies: Argon geochronology, seismic interpretation

 

John Hopper
Research Professor
Geophysics and Sedimentary Basins

About

Funding Source(s): DFF Sapere Aude Group Leader grant

Period: 2020 - 2023

Region: Arctic Ocean outflow shelves (NW Greenland and NE Greenland)

Techniques/proxies: Biogenic proxies, microfossils, sea ice biomarkers, sedimentary ancient DNA, model-data comparisons

Material/data: Marine sediment cores from NW and NE Greenland

Read more (in danish)Fremtidens klimaeffekter i Arktis skal aflæses i havbunden

 

Sofia Ribeiro
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

Greenland fjords, modulated by ice-ocean interactions, are among the most productive ecosystems in the Arctic and have sustained the livelihood of local communities in Greenland for millennia. Understanding the impact of the ongoing cryosphere changes on Greenland fjord productivity has important socio-economic implications and it also advances knowledge of the CO2 ocean sink, buffering climate change.

Read moreGreenland fjord productivity under climate change (GreenShift)

About

Funding Source(s): Geocenter bevilling

Period: 2018 - 2021

Region: Greenland fjords (Godthåbsfjord and Young Sound)

Techniques/proxies: Sedimentology, diatoms, dinocysts, biogenic silica, CN, satellite data, monitoring data (GEM), climate models

 

Sofia Ribeiro
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

Ocean and sea ice variability in northern Baffin Bay (Danish-Canadian collaboration)

Read moreGreenland fjord productivity under climate change (GreenShift)

Funding Source(s): GreenEdge, ArcticNet

Period: 2018 - 2022

Region: Northern Baffin Bay

Techniques/proxies: multiproxy analyses

Material/data: Marine sediment cores

Read moreGreenland fjord productivity under climate change (GreenShift)

Sofia Ribeiro
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

En række store havområder uden havis er ekstremt vigtige for livet i Arktis om vinteren, men deres fremtid er usikker på grund af global opvarmning. GEUS-forsker har netop fået penge til at klarlægge dette.

About

Funding Source(s): Marie Curie Fellowship - European Commision

Start/end: 2019 - 2021

Region: High Arctic

Techniques/proxies: Sedimentology, foraminifera, dinocysts, CN, BSi, climate modelling

Material/data: Marine sediment cores

Read more (in danish): Fremtiden for havisfri oaser i Arktis klarlægges via fortiden

Rebecca Jackson
Postdoc
Glaciology and Climate

Det vides med sikkerhed, at Indlandsisen vil øge sin afsmeltning i et fremtidigt varmere klima. Der er dog stor usikkerhed om, præcis hvor meget vi skal forvente, at havniveauet vil stige som følge heraf. Denne store usikkerhed hænger sammen med, at vi ikke forstår de nøjagtige fysiske processer involveret i afsmeltning af særligt udløbsgletsjere, dvs. de gletsjere, der munder ud i havet.

Read more (in danish): Kan fossilt DNA fra mikroalger forudsige skæbnen for Arktis’ havis?

About

Funding Source(s): Marie Curie Fellowship - European Commision

Period: 2020 - 2022

Region: Nares Strait/northern Baffin Bay; NE Greenland

Techniques/proxies: Environmental and sedimentary ancient DNA

Material/data: Sea ice cores, water samples, and marine sediment cores

 

Sara HarÐardóttir
Postdoc
Glaciologi og Klima

Det vides med sikkerhed, at Indlandsisen vil øge sin afsmeltning i et fremtidigt varmere klima. Der er dog stor usikkerhed om, præcis hvor meget vi skal forvente, at havniveauet vil stige som følge heraf. Denne store usikkerhed hænger sammen med, at vi ikke forstår de nøjagtige fysiske processer involveret i afsmeltning af særligt udløbsgletsjere, dvs. de gletsjere, der munder ud i havet.

Read more (in danish): Fortidens ændringer i Indlandsisen og havstrømmene omkring Grønland

 

About

Funding Source(s): Villum Fonden - YIP

Period: 2015 - 2021

Region: Greenland fjords

Techniques/proxies: IRD, biomarkers, foraminifera, ice flow modelling

Material/data: Fjord sediment cores

Read more (in danish)

Fortidens ændringer i Indlandsisen og havstrømmene omkring Grønland

 

Camilla Snowman Andresen
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

Overall aim is to provide data and results that can shed light on ice-ocean-climate interactions around Greenland and support an IODP proposal on the Cenozoic evolution of the Greenland Ice Sheet (CENICE); 909full2.

About

Funding Source(s): Geocenter bevilling

Period: 2019 - 2022

Region: Baffin Bay and Greenland shelves

Techniques/proxies: Palyno/micro strat, C-14, IRD, stable & cosmo isotopes, biomarkers, LA-ICP-MS

Material/data: Seismics, cores, cuttings

 

Paul Knutz
Research Professor
Marine Geology

Fossil fuel consumption over the last century has resulted in a drastic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (ρC02) from pre-industrial levels of ~280 ppm, to over 400 ppm in September 2018  –  values not exceeded  for millions of years. According to IPPC the increased CO2 have impact not only on temperatures but also on the sea-level. It is estimated that by the end of this century the sea-level will have increased up to 100 cm. The low topography and long coastline makes Denmark especially sensitive to even minor sea-level changes.

Read more: SealMICO2

About

Funding Source(s): Geocenter bevilling

Period: 2011 - 2021

Region: North Sea

Techniques/proxies: biomarkers, pollen, dinocysts, d13C, inorganic geochemistry, clumped isotopes, seismic

Material/data: Sdr. Vium sediment core, sesmic

Kasia Sliwinska
Senior Researcher
Geo-energy and Storage

Characterize high Arctic paleoenvironments during the mid-Cretaceous greenhouse world (incl. OAE 2) using marine sediment cores from Baffin Bay, recovered by IODP Expedition 344S.

Funding Source(s): ECORD

Period: 2020 (possibly postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19)

Region: Baffin Bay

Techniques/proxies: Biomarkers (isorenieratane, lycopene)

Material/data: Sediment core

 

Kasia Sliwinska
Senior Researcher
Geo-energy and Storage

Accepted ICDP proposal, although co-financing is still needed, plus Denmark needs to become a member of ICDP. The goal of this application is to complete two onshore boreholes in northwest Denmark, where a near complete marine succession containing hundreds of volcanic ash layers is preserved, covering an interval from 67 to 48 million years ago.

Kasia Sliwinska
Senior Researcher
Geo-energy and Storage

Funding Source(s): ICDP

Period: Deadline for achieving co-financing and membership is June 2023.

Region: Limfjorden

Techniques/proxies: Palynology, micropalaeontology, isotopes, stratigraphy, biomarkers, geochemistry geochronology, tephra and volcanic proxies etc

Material/data: Cores

Sofia Ribeiro
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

IODP proposal (909full2) to drill along a transect across the northwest Greenland margin extending from the shelf to Baffin Bay where thick Cenozoic sedimentary successions primarily reflect the evolution of the northern GrIS (NGrIS). The overall aim is to investigate the full range of forcing and feedbacks - oceanic, atmospheric, orbital, tectonic - that influence the GrIS over a range of time scales, as well as conditions prevailing at the time of glacial inception and deglacial to interglacial periods.

Funding Source(s): IODP

Period: Recommended to the Joides Resolution facility board for scheduling (likely 2022 or 2023).

Region: Baffin Bay and Greenland shelves

Techniques/proxies: Sedimentology, biostratigraphy, stable isotopes, paleomagnetism, biomarkers, eDNA, cosmogenic isotopes.

Material/data: Cores, borehole logs

Paul Knutz
Research Professor
Marine Geology

Building Holocene marine limit and relative sea-level databases

Funding Source(s): Carlsberg

Period: Mid 2022 - end 2024

Region: Greenland

Material/data: Data from published/unpublished records

Kristian Kjellerup Kjeldsen
Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

The main objective is to gain understanding of the controls on both natural and polluted groundwater quality across Europe using the combined expertise and data held by European geological surveys / EuroGeoSurveys - this include the age and travel time distribution of European groundwater e.g. the occurence of paleowaters ( >10 Ky) recharged during the late Pleistocene

Funding Source(s): H2020 / IFD

Period: 2018 - 2021

Region: Europe

Techniques/proxies: radioactive and stable isotopes, heavy noble gases

Material/data: Groundwater samples and models

Klaus Hinsby
Senior Researcher
Hydrology

Demonstrate the potentials of the harmonization of information about Europe’s groundwater resources through cross-border demonstrations projects, through harmonized characterization approaches for Karst and Chalk aquifers and through a first information product at Pan-European scale where available data is compiled and integrated to produce a map of the fresh groundwater resources of Europe including documented occurence of paleowaters within 10 x 10 km grids

Funding Source(s): H2020 / IFD

Period: 2018 - 2021

Region: Europe

Techniques/proxies: Radioactive and stable isotopes, heavy noble gases

Material/data: Groundwater samples and models

 

Klaus Hinsby
Senior Researcher
Hydrology

Reconstructing ocean and ice sheet change on Greenland during the common era. Final goal is to quantify ice sheet melt variability and asses it's influence on climate variability in Northwest europe.

Funding Source(s): DFF2 - Green Transition

Period: 2021-2026

Region: Greenland fjords (Kangerlussuaq, Sermilik, Ikeq, Ikertivaq, Disko Bugt and Upernavik)

Techniques/proxies: sedimentology, micropaleontology, alkenones, ice sheet and climate modelling

Material/data: Marine sediment cores

 

Camilla Snowman Andresen
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

Understanding North Atlantic (incl. Denmark) ocean variability and Greenland ice sheet change during the Eemian.

Funding Source(s): Geocenter bevilling

Period: 2021-2022

Region: North Atlantic (incl. Denmark and Greenland)

Techniques/proxies: sedimentology, micropaleontology, alkenones, ice sheet modelling

Material/data: Marine sediment cores

 

Camilla Snowman Andresen
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

20th century climate and glacier change in Disko Bugt, West Greenland.

Funding Source(s): Norwegian Research Council

Period: 2022-2027

Region: Disko bugt, West Greenland

Techniques/proxies: Sedimentology, micropaleontology

Material/data: Marine sediment cores and local narratives

Read more: Climatenarratives.no

Camilla Snowman Andresen
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

The project will deal with events linked to large igneous provinces and/or extraterrestrial impacts; ETE, OAE1a, KPg and PETM.

Funding Source(s): DFF (to C. Tegner, AU)

Period: 2020-2023

Region: Multiple areas

Techniques/proxies: Geochemistry, palynology

Sofia Ribeiro
Senior Researcher
Glaciology and Climate

Research expeditions

GEUS researchers regularly lead and participate in expeditions to the Arctic and North Atlantic areas to carry out paleoclimate research, including geophysical surveying, seabed sampling, sediment coring, and onshore fieldwork. Our marine expeditions cover both nearshore and offshore areas, from Greenland fjords to the central Arctic Ocean.