Anthropogenic global warming is changing Earth’s climate extremely rapidly. However, paleoclimate reconstructions focus almost exclusively on long-term trends (thousands to millions of years). To calibrate climate models and study the causes and effects of rapid climate change requires high-resolution climate archives. Bivalve shells are the ideal archive for studying these changes, because contrary to sedimentary archives, they record environmental conditions down to daily resolution. Unfortunately, physiological effects distort conventional climate proxies in bivalve shells, complicating climate reconstructions. This project develops new, accurate tools for sub-annual scale climate reconstructions in three species of bivalve using high resolution (< 50 µm) trace element and microstructure analyses on cross sections through their shells combined with the novel clumped isotope method, which reconstructs absolute water temperatures. First, for accurate calibration, this multi-proxy approach is tested on bivalves grown in monitored North Sea environments. The new proxies are then applied on recent bivalves to reconstruct sub-annual climate change in the past 500 years, recording human impact in the North Sea. Finally, fossil bivalve shells from the warm Miocene epoch are used to study the effect of global warming on short-term climate variability. Acquiring these well-constrained sub-annual paleoclimate records will improve predictions of climate extremes on a warming planet.
Effective start/end date1/10/1930/09/24

    Flemish discipline codes

  • Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified

ID: 46815080