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POP Impacts and Benefits

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A) Relationship Between Climate Science and Social Needs

Ocean-wide tele-connections that have been identified during the last decade have an important impact on European climate. Abrupt changes in European climate can only be understood by examining them in the context of global climatic change. These tele-connections arise, for example, through the transport of heat from the tropical Atlantic to the northern latitudes, which exert a very strong influence on climatic conditions over most of the European continent.

The POP project is concentrated upon the production of an unique data-base of high-resolution climatic data taken from key areas through the last 3 climatic cycles, which will help to answer questions linked to natural climate variability and its global timing. It will provide the necessary information for a better assessment of the role of low-latitude, high latitude, oceanic and atmospheric forcing on European climate. The ultimate goal of POP is to improve knowledge of the global impact of natural abrupt climatic fluctuations over the last 350,000 years, and will contribute to a better assessment of possible future climate change and the possible anthropogenic contribution to 21st century (European) warming, both issues having significant socio-economic implications for the entire Community.

B) Benefits to the European Climate Research Community

We also see our project as a contribution to the European leadership in the field of abrupt climatic change in the geological past and its understanding at a global scale. The issues addressed will greatly add to the European competence to provide basic knowledge for implementing the sustainable development concept at a global level.

This project will have equal contributions from the marine palaeoceanography community and the ice-core community, with strong input from modellers who are familiar with both aspects. This project has been planned with a limited number of participants because the co-ordinator believes that this will facilitate detailed interactions. Participants will either meet or be involved in e-mail discussions at least three times per year. Meetings will be short and highly focused. POP will bring together a group of highly qualified scientists from the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Switzerland to undertake a comprehensive study of marine and glaciological records representing key components of the global climate system. All the sites that we plan to use within POP have the potential of providing the finest quality data, that are of the highest priority for understanding the climate history of the last 350,000 years at high temporal resolution.