Iso2k - A global synthesis of Common Era hydroclimate using water isotopes

iso2k logo

Iso2k timeline

 Phase 2

 Phase 3
 2015-17  2017  2018  2019  May 2020



Iso2k is a community-based effort within the next phase of the PAGES 2k Network, investigating decadal to centennial-scale variability, as well as possible secular trends, in hydroclimate over the past 2,000 years.

The PAGES Iso2k project is creating a global database of paleo-δ18O and δD records for the Common Era. Stable water isotopes detect regional-scale circulation patterns, making them excellent tracers of the water cycle’s response to changes in climate. The project will address the scientific questions using a database of water isotope proxy records to identify regional- and global-scale features in hydroclimate and atmospheric circulation during the past 2kyr. Comparisons between isotope-enabled climate model simulations of the Last Millennium and the Iso2k database will assist in assessing the stability of climate/isotope relationships and the climatic and circulation processes driving key patterns in the isotopic composition of environmental waters.

iso2k figure
Figure 1: Version 0.4 of the database with the number of records to date and their location over both time and space.

The database consists of stable isotopic records from a diversity of archives, such as glaciers, ground ice, speleothems, corals, sclerosponges, trees, lake and marine sediments, with a wide range of resolutions. The team agreed upon intentionally broad data selection criteria in order to include as many records as possible. For annually-banded records, the minimum record duration is 30 years. For non-annually-banded records, the minimum record duration is 200 years, with a minimum resolution of at least five data points within the past 2,000 years. Records must be published and data sets must be publicly available (i.e., in a public archive, in the publication itself, or promptly provided by the author when requested). Future versions of the Iso2k database will also screen and incorporate unpublished records contributed by the community.

Iso2k stands out from other databases, as group members include experts in every archive, rather than single archives alone. These experts enter extensive metadata about each individual record into the database.

The metadata template (1) creates a common language among different proxy archives to catalogue the defining characteristics of each record, and (2) provides the minimum amount of information needed to facilitate process-based data syntheses and comparisons with climate models.

The purpose of the metadata is to help the non-expert cull relevant climate data for topical analysis, as well as the expert to use Big Data approaches to test how archives record environmental conditions.

As a result, Iso2k has begun preparing publications of structure of the database, as well as a separate scientific publication of the initial findings. After these two publications, group members have already identified approximately 10 major studies using the Iso2k database that will be pursued over the next two years.


Paleoclimate archives

The Iso2k team includes experts from a range of paleoclimate archives that contain water isotopic proxy data:

- Marine sediments
- Lake sediments
- Corals
- Ice cores and ice wedges
- Groundwater
- Speleothems
- Tree rings

The Iso2k team also includes experts on isotope-enabled paleoclimate modeling, data assimilation, and data synthesis.


> Iso2k scientific goals

> Iso2k people


Learn more and participate

Subscribe to the 2k Network mailing list here.

This group is open to anyone who is interested. To participate visit the Projects page or contact the coordinators.