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POP Project Consortium

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Introduction and rationale

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.

The Consortium has been selected from different European countries on the basis of the outstanding qualifications of the individual partners and teams in their respective research fields, in order to fulfil the various tasks of the project in an optimal way. We made the choice of a limited number of partners as a determinant factor for the quality of the partnerships and as a key to success. POP will thus provide a unique opportunity for a group of highly qualified European scientists to be involved in a concerted effort to solve problems relating to natural climate variability at a global scale and its timing. The wide variety of tasks, requiring different types expertise, technological know-how, laboratory facilities and equipment, require a concerted effort to be carried out by research teams from several countries. This project takes advantage of the different experience, resulting from various research traditions, among the members of the European science community.

As regards data-gathering, there are both existing data sets that must be substantially augmented, and new data sets that we have planned. From the overall planning point of view the key to success is to avoid spending time in gathering any data that will in the end not contribute to the objectives of the project. This becomes an important issue when one is dealing with very large numbers of analyses. The co-ordinator will keep in close contact with the other partners, particularly in the early stages of the project, so as to monitor this aspect of the project.

Partners within POP

The Godwin Laboratory, UCAM, UK (Cambridge University, UK,: Partner 1) will be the Coordinator of POP. Professor Shackleton will take a very active role in coordinating this project because to an unusual extent its success will depend on interdisciplinary interactions between the participants. The Godwin Laboratory will also be leader of the Deep Ocean to Ice Sheet linkages package(WP2).

The Laboratoire de Glaciologie et de Geophysique de Grenoble, LGGE CNRS, Grenoble, (Partner 2) is one of the leading laboratories in the field of glaciology and palaeoclimate studies, and will be involved in all the work packages. They will carry out most of the data-gathering on ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica.

The Institut d'Investigacions Quimiques I Ambientals, ICER (CSIC, Barcelona, ES), Partner (3), is Europe's leading laboratory for the use of organic biomarkers in palaeoceanography.

The Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE (CNRS-CEA, Gif, F) (Partner 4) includes expertise both in the study of marine sediments and in glaciology and climate modelling.

The Climate and Environmental Physics Institute, CEP (Bern University, CH) (Partner 5), have a very varied modelling expertise that can be tailored to the specific requirements of POP and will contribute to all work-packages.


The Institut Francais pour la Recherche et la Technolgie Polaire (IFRTP) is an international leader in the collection of long piston cores of deep-sea sediment for palaeoceanographic purposes. They have provided the ships for all the IMAGES coring cruises up to the present.