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Modelling Climate Variability During Critical Intervals of the Late Pliocene

Leeds, UK
Workshop report
Contact person
Cara Healy
E-Mail address
Working groups
Meeting Category

The newly formed Pliocene Climate Variability over Glacial-Interglacial Timescales (PlioVAR) working group has three primary scientific objectives. The second of which is to examine, develop and utilise methodologies enabling enhanced simulation of climate variability during the Late Pliocene. This will provide the focus for this workshop.

Warm intervals of the Pliocene provide an opportunity to examine climate forcing and feedbacks. Available proxy data for this period can be constrained in time by multiple stratigraphic frameworks. Orbital forcing of solar radiation is known precisely, and many of the species that exist today were also present in the Pliocene. As a result, detailed understanding of climate and environmental change at this time is possible through proxy data analysis and data-model integration.

Palaeoclimate studies of the Pleistocene have demonstrated the value of understanding climate variability over orbital timescales, whereby the unique spatial and temporal signatures of individual interglacials or glacial-interglacial cycles have been able to highlight sensitive regions or components of the climate system. Recent climate model studies have confirmed that such variability (and regional non-synchroneity) should also be expected in the Pliocene. However, Pliocene proxy data density is lower than for the Pleistocene and stratigraphical correlation can be more challenging (e.g. benthic delta oscillations are muted compared to the late Pleistocene).

A key objective of PlioVAR is to examine the tools available, and experimental design, of new climate modelling studies to characterise Late Pliocene climate change, including the production of new transient model simulations that will facilitate an enhanced understanding of Pliocene climate and environmental variability.

To set the scene we welcome contributions that have used proxy data or numerical models to help understand Late Pliocene climate variability. This workshop will assess the role of equilibrium snap shot style versus transient model experiments, what our requirements are in terms of characterising geological forcings to underpin climate model studies of Late Pliocene climate variability, explore the opportunities and challenges of Earth system models in this context and assess the importance role of climate variability vis-à-vis co-ordinated climate model intercomparison projects (specifically the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project).

A programme will be finalised and circulated to participants closer to the event date.

Workshop details

The workshop will be held at Weetwood Hall, Leeds, UK, from 9.30am Monday 29 February to 5pm Tuesday 1 March 2016.

Full details of the workshop here:


Tickets are on sale from 9am Monday 23 November until 5pm Thursday 17 December 2015.

Register and purchase tickets here:


Cara Healy (PA to Alan Haywood)

Alan Haywood (organizer)
School of Earth and Environment
University of Leeds
Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS29JT, UK


Post-meeting material

PAGES Magazine workshop report

> Modeling late Pliocene climate variability (vol.24, no.1)