SISAL scientific goals


The SISAL working group will bring together speleothem scientists, speleothem-process modelers, statisticians and climate modelers to develop a global data synthesis that can be used both to explore past climate changes and in model evaluation. The most important stakeholder of this initiative is the Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP), which is currently designing paleoclimate model simulations in the framework of the next phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6).

The immediate focus will be on compiling δ18O and δ13C records that could be used for data-model comparisons in the next round of the CMIP6-PMIP4 simulations.

sisal stal image

Image 2: Stalagmite FR-18 is retrieved from Grotte di Frasassi, Italy, and grew during the last 12,000 years. Its climate-proxy enable us to study in detail how past climate has changed during this period. Photo credit: Michael Deininger.


Specific objectives

1. Identify the current status of speleothem-based paleoclimate reconstructions globally.

2. Generate a global-scale database available to the paleoclimate community.

3. Provide data to evaluate the CMIP6-PMIP4 simulations using isotope-enabled climate models.

4. Formulate recommendations for future speleothem research future to maximize its usefulness in the context of paleoclimate modeling studies.


Goals with respect to the database

1. Implement a consistent methodology and quality control requirements to allow cross-comparison of speleothem records.

2. Create a database of stable oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) isotope speleothem records, including metadata to allow quality control and reliability assessment.

3. Link data generators to the climate and speleothem-process modelers to formulate ways to deal with differences between δ18O in precipitation (model output) and in calcite (speleothem record) in data-model comparisons.


Goals with respect to the interpretations of the data

1. Assess the spatial and temporal robustness of the signals recorded by speleothems for different time periods (e.g. Last Interglacial, LGM, MH and Last Millennium).

2. Identify non-linearities and potential thresholds in the climate system.

3. Compare the observed signals with other types of records.


Engagement with other communities

Encourage interaction and exchange of information between the speleothem community, climate and speleothem-process modelers, and statisticians.

Engage with other WGs involved in synthesis of isotopic data, including Iso2k and LinkedEarth.