PALSEA workshop: Using ecological and chronological data to improve proxy-based paleo sea-level reconstructions

21.07 - 23.07.2019  
Dublin, Ireland
Contact person:
Natasha Barlow, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Workshop report: 
> Access

PAGES' PALSEA working group will hold a workshop, titled "Using ecological and chronological data to improve proxy-based paleo sea-level reconstructions", from 21-23 July 2019, prior to the 20th INQUA Congress, in Dublin, UK.


Trinity College, Dublin, UK.


Participant numbers will be limited to approximately 50. A small number of scientists with specific expertise on the workshop theme will be invited to attend, but participation will be open, through an abstract-submission process.

This will be the first workshop of the new PALSEA phase after the 2018 cross-cutting PALSEA-QUIGS meeting in Rutgers, NJ. The follow-on meeting, in 2020, will focus on how the refined sea-level reconstructions can be used by the solid earth and ice-sheet modeling communities to improve understanding of drivers of sea level on Pliocene and Quaternary timescales.


This meeting will focus on refining proxy-based reconstructions of past sea level. Sea-level rise due to polar ice-sheet decay in a warming world is one of the most important, and most uncertain, aspects associated with climate change. Because the instrumental record is short and changes to date have been modest, observations from the recent past provide at best a limited vantage point from which to gauge the future.

The geologic record, in contrast, features major, and sometimes rapid, changes in ice sheets and sea level that remain to be fully explored and explained. Recent methodological improvements bear the potential to reduce uncertainties in local sea-level reconstructions, which will be crucial for reconciling sea-level-based estimates of past ice-sheet volumes.

In keeping with PALSEA goals, all datasets will be added to an appropriate World Data System data center, following the protocols outlined in the PALSEA2 Dusterhus et al (2016) paper.

Program outline

21 July: The first day of the meeting will be dedicated to the ecological and environmental interpretation of proxy-based datasets (recent work e.g. Hibbert et al. 2016 has shown the importance of such information).

22 July: The second day will will focus on cutting-edge chronological attribution techniques, which is critical to link sea level data to climate archives in order to better understand the drivers of change.

23 July: During the third day, participants will split into two separate groups, each working on one specific time period. The first group will be coordinated by the HOLSEA (a INQUA working group) leader Nicole Khan, building upon the previous workshops and on the progress of a special issue in Quaternary Science Reviews reporting Holocene relative sea level (RSL) indicators. The second group will be organized by Alessio Rovere, who will lead the work towards the inception of the World Atlas of Last Interglacial Shorelines.

We will focus on the Holocene and LIG in this meeting as these are the time periods where there is currently the greatest potential to develop comprehensive datasets. The two groups will then reconvene at the end of the day to report on the database progress of Holocene and Last Interglacial RSL. N. Khan and A. Rovere will develop a data sharing protocol in concordance with the ongoing efforts to enhance data stewardship within PAGES.


Abstract submission closes 27 February via the PALSEA website:

Acceptance of abstracts will be confirmed by 15 March. 

Abstracts will be selected on the basis of relevance to the overall topic. Abstract selection will also take into account gender balance, ECR status and participants from low GDP countries.


Registration closes 18 April 2019:

Registration costs $US175, and will include lunch on all three days as well as the conference dinner at Urban Brewing, on 22 July. 

Financial support

PAGES has provided some financial assistance towards accommodation for early-career researchers and scientists from less-developed countries. Delegates are responsible for booking their own accommodation.

Workshop organisers

- Natasha Barlow (University of Leeds)
- Robin Edwards (Trinity College, Dublin)
- Jacky Austermann (Columbia University)
- Alessio Rovere (University of Bremen)
- Jeremy Shakun (Boston College)
- Nicole Khan (NTU, Singapore)


PALSEA is a PAGES and INQUA working group focused on using past changes in sea level and Earth’s cryosphere to constrain future sea-level rise in response to climate change.

PALSEA is a continuation of PALSEA1, which operated from 2008 to 2012, and PALSEA2, which operated from 2013-2017.

PALSEA activities officially restart in January 2019.

Further information

Informal questions can be sent to working group leader Natasha Barlow: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find out more on the group's external website: