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Warm climates of the past - a lesson for the future?









The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


Organised by Dr Daniel Lunt, Professor Harry Elderfield FRS, Professor Andy Ridgwell and Professor Rich Pancost

In several periods in Earth's history, the climate has been significantly warmer than present.  What lessons about the future can be learnt from past warm periods?  The answer depends on the quality of reconstructions of past climates, our understanding of their causes, and the validity of climate models which aim to reproduce them.  This meeting will address these exciting and challenging issues. 

This meeting was followed by a satellite meeting on Reconstructing and understanding CO2 variability in the past which took place at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre from 12-13 October 2011.

The proceedings of this meeting have been published in a dedicated issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

Biographies and audio recordings are available below.

Event organisers

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Schedule of talks

Session 1

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

CO2 and sea level: looking to the past to predict the future

Professor Maureen Raymo, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, USA

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Drivers of CO2 change during the middle Miocene

Professor Gavin Foster, University of Southampton, UK

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Looking at ice to understand climate - the role of orbital forcing in driving warm climates

Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark

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Overview of CO2 change on 55 million year timescale

Professor Mark Pagani, Yale University, USA

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Session 2

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Polar paradise? Life at the poles in a warm greenhouse world

Professor Jane Francis, University of Leeds, UK

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Reconstructing and assessing confidence to warm pliocene sea surface temperature estimates

Dr Harry Dowsett, United States Geological Survey, USA

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The dynamics of rapid greenhouse warming as revealed by the paleocene-eocene thermal maximuma

Professor James (Jim) C. Zachos, University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), USA

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Warm ocean processes and carbon cycling in the Eocene

Professor Paul Pearson, Cardiff University, UK

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Session 3

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A revised view of Antarctic climate and glacial history: implications for future sea level

Professor Rob DeConto, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA

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Towards a solution to the cold pole problem

Dr Jeffrey Kiehl, National Center for Atmospheric, USA

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Uncertainty in model predictions of extreme warm climates

Professor Paul Valdes, University of Bristol, UK

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Understanding warmth during the last interglacial

Dr Bette Otto-Bliesner, National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA

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Session 4

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A working Bayesian estimate of the ice-sheet contribution to future sea-level change

Dr Mark Siddall, University of Bristol, UK

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Constraints on climate feedbacks

Professor Mat Collins, University of Exeter, UK

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Earth's Climate History: Lessons for the Future

Dr James Hansen, Columbia University, USA

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Lessons from the past on climate sensitivity, long-term CO2 legacy, and ocean acidification

Professor Richard Zeebe, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA

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Warm climates of the past - a lesson for the future? The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK
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