PALSEA workshop: Improving understanding of ice-sheet and solid-Earth processes driving paleo sea-level change

01.09 - 30.09.2021  
Palisades, NY, USA
Contact person:
Jacqueline Austermann, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The PALeo-constraints on SEA-level rise (PALSEA) working group workshop "Improving understanding of ice-sheet and solid-Earth processes driving paleo sea-level change" in Palisades, NY, USA, will be held in 2021.

Dates are still to be advised, but it will potentially be held in Northern Hemisphere autumn.

*Update 22 June 2020, from the organizers*

This workshop was originally planned for 14-16 September 2020. The 2021 meeting will have the same scope and venue.

In order not to loose the contact with the community, leaders have organized a two-day virtual "PALSEA Express" on 15 and 16 September 2020. Each day will be composed of three hours of virtual talks and posters. They will schedule the two days at different times, in order to allow connections from different time zones.

Find out more about the PALSEA Express virtual gathering here.

The information below was for the in-person workshop in 2020. Updates will be provided soon.


Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


This is a joint meeting with SERCE. It is is an open meeting for approximately 50 people. Group leaders will invite a small number of scientists with specific expertise on the workshop theme, but we will open the participation through an abstract submission process.


This meeting will focus on developing a better understanding of the physical processes that drive ice-sheet collapse and solid earth deformation. These processes are highly uncertain due to a lack of observational constraints, yet they are the dominant drivers for local sea-level change. Overcoming this uncertainty requires drawing from observations and expertise from a variety of fields complementary to PALSEA including mineral physics, geodynamics, and glaciology.

In this meeting, we aim to bring empiricists and modelers from these communities together in order to unify solid Earth deformation and ice-sheet evolution across time and spatial scales. Pairing our improved understanding of physical processes with enhanced paleo datasets will allow us to narrow in on ice-sheet contributions to past sea-level rise.


The first day of the meeting will be dedicated to better understanding solid Earth deformation on ice-age timescales such as glacial isostatic adjustment, tectonics, and mantle dynamic topography.

The second day will be dedicated to presentations addressing cutting-edge constraints on paleo ice sheets including ice-sheet modeling and ice-margin constraints.

During the third day of the meeting, we will address data stewardship in the sea-level modeling community. In particular we will focus on:
- trying to establish best practices for the documentation, distribution, and citation of numerical code;
- what benchmarking across different 1D and 3D codes exist and/or should be done; and
- how model output should be made available to the community (what format, what platform).

Addressing these goals will be an integral part of the data-stewardship activities of this PALSEA phase.

Confirmed speakers

- (ECR) Harriet Lau, University of California, Berkeley, USA – expertise in transient rheology and GIA
- (ECR) Kerry Callaghan, University of Minnesota Twin City, USA – changes in terrestrial water storage
- Surendra Adhikari (JPL)
- Violaine Coulon (Université libre de Bruxelles)
- (ECR) Rene Gassmöller, UC Davis, USA – geodynamic modeling, software development and model data stewardship.

Abstracts and registration

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. More information on how to submit abstracts and the deadline date will be announced as soon as possible.

Abstract submission is now online and closes 1 July. Please submit your abstract through this form.

Registration will open later and will close 10 August 2020. Registration will cost $US100. Details will be provided as soon as possible.

Financial support

PAGES has provided some financial support for the attendance of 10 ECRs or scientists from developing countries. See the abstract form (link above) for all details.


The second phase of PALSEA from 2013-2018 was instrumental in identifying many of the challenges in firmly constraining past sea-level changes. The current, third phase of PALSEA (2019-2021) seeks to target these challenges to help overcome them.

The first workshop of this phase in 2019 focused on ecological and chronological considerations critical to accurately interpreting proxy records of paleo sea level.

The 2020 workshop will probe the latest understanding of the ice-sheet and solid-Earth processes driving the sea-level changes encoded in these proxy records.

We plan a final workshop in 2021 that integrates these advances to improve estimates of past rates and magnitudes of sea-level change, and explores how they can be used to validate coupled models used for future projections.

Further information

Contact meeting organizer Jacqueline Austermann, Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, such as accommodation recommendations, go to the official workshop website: