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Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)
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Research Group

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Antoon Kuijpers
Camilla S. Andresen
Francisca Staines-Urias
Naja Mikkelsen
Karin Gleie

Kaarina Weckström
Niels Nørgaard Pedersen
Peter Rasmussen
Peter Friis Møller
Sofia Ribeiro


Human activities have increasingly resulted in severe impacts on the natural environment, and climate disturbances at a global level. In order to define climate adaptation strategies and environmental regulations adequate to face future climate scenarios, it is essential to achieve a better understanding of baseline environmental conditions prior to major human influence. Records of past climate (palaeoclimate) have revealed that drastic shifts can occur suddenly, within a period of decades or less. It is evident that major climate changes have had a serious impact on natural environments, affecting flora and fauna on land, in lakes and in the ocean. In addition, climate change has a direct effect on glaciers and larger ice sheets (e.g. Greenland) and consequently, on the sea level. Most models of future climate prediction can simulate aspects of present-day climate, but suffer from a limited observation period generally confined to less than the last 150 years. Consequently palaeoclimatic data are crucial for improving the confidence levels of these models.

GEUS' multidisciplinary research group working on climate and environmental history is particularly focused on the last ca. ten thousand years ('Holocene'), because this is the best dated part of the past climatic record and can help us establish the range of natural climatic variability and associated environmental effects in a period prior to global-scale human influence. Focus is, amongst others, on the Holocene Thermal Maximum and Medieval Climate Anomaly, when a relatively warm climate prevailed under conditions of lower-than-present atmospheric CO2. Natural, high resolution climate and environmental archives from land, lakes and marine environments are studied in order to understand climate interaction between atmosphere and ocean, processes controlling Arctic sea ice variations as well as glacier and ice sheet development in Greenland, and to determine local and regional effects of climate change on aquatic environments, vegetation and forest development. The natural archives provide 'proxy' records of climate and environment based on a variety of parameters ranging from the size and type of mineral grains to biological microfossils from marine, freshwater and terrestrial animals and plants such as foraminifera, diatoms, dinoflagellates and pollen. In addition, advanced (bio)geochemical techniques that have significantly improved environmental reconstructions in recent years are also routinely applied at GEUS.

Publicationlist: Climate- and Environmental history research group

Ongoing projects:

- Oceanheat


- Sedimentation history of Kangersuneq ice fjord

- Natural forest dynamics in Danish natural or semi natural woodlands

- Anthropogenic air pollution and environmental history (City Core)

- Lake response to climate change during the last 1000 years

- Celtic fields in East Denmark – dating and environmental context

- Impact on permafrost, gashydrates and periglacial processes following climate changes in Greenland ( PERMAGAS)

- From forgotten outskirts to royal hunting ground – NE Zealand during the last 3,000 years
 - SEDIMICE - Linking sediments with ice-sheet response and glacier retreat in Greenland 
- Upernavik Glacier – a case study for improving predictions of future dynamic mass loss from Northwest Greenland

- GLANAM (Glaciated North Atlantic Margins) Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN)
- Long term changes in the Arctic Ocean sea  ice cover
- Ice, Climate, and Economics in the Arctic (ICE-ARC)
- East Greenland climate change and expedition history

- Linking Ice Sheet Thinning and Changing Climate (FreshLink)

Edited by
Jacob Geltzer, GEUS jgel@geus.dk

[Top]   Last modified: 21. juni 2011 © Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland - GEUS
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