Quantitative climate reconstructions using plant remains: assumptions, pitfalls and solutions

Kuehl-01

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PD Dr. Norbert Kühl
Steinmann Institute
University of Bonn

Botanical fossils have long been appreciated and used as proxy data for quantitative climate reconstructions because of the close relationship between plant occurrence and climate. In fact, plant fossils have been in use for quantitative climate reconstructions for about a century now. Over time, increasingly sophisticated methods have been developed for successfully transferring pollen and macro fossil data into climatic information.

However, it is important to keep in mind that accurate and precise results rely on assumptions that have to be met. Reliability (e.g. accuracy and preciseness) depends on the underlying data, the properties of the used transfer method, and the temporal and spatial scale under consideration.  Hence, the degree of reliability of reconstructions varies. The talk addresses this issue by providing examples as well as techniques towards solving the problem.

Specifically, the talk addresses 1) how human impact may bias climate reconstructions and how can be dealt with it, 2) quantification of plant-climate relationships, and 3) temporal variability in spatial distribution of vegetation types . Different methods react differently to the challenges that proxy data provide, which emphasizes that it is essential to consider characteristics of methods when choosing one and use it for climate reconstructions.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 15/06/2015, 15:45 h – 17:00 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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