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QUIGS scientific goals

Phase 2 (2019-2022)

The drive towards a systematic understanding of interglacials requires targeted model exercises as well specific data sets with improved chronologies.

Therefore, QUIGS aims to:

(1) Document and synthesize data on the temporal and spatial patterns of climate responses during Quaternary interglacials and assess the governing processes using numerical models.

(2) Link causal factors to observed interglacial properties (intensity, timing, and duration).

(3) Constrain the extent of warming relative to the latest sea-level reconstuctions.

(4) Provide a more complete view of the range and underlying physics of interglacial properties by considering the entire length of the Quaternary.

(5) Assess the relevance of interglacials to understanding future climate change.

Research questions of QUIGS Phase 2 are structured around the three planned workshops that will revisit the three themes tackled during the QUIGS Phase 1 Workshops:

1. Warm Extremes

- What are causes for the excess warmth during the LIG and MIS 11?
- Can we constrain the amplitude of LIG warming and the geographic and temporal variability in this warming?
- Can we constrain the timing and magnitude of ice-sheet contributions to the LIG and MIS 11 sea-level highstands?

2. Glacial Terminations

- Are interglacial properties dependent upon the previous glacial state?
- To what extent does the sequence of events during a termination influence trends within the interglacial?
- What are the causes for the observed differences between TI and TII?

3. Interglacials of the 41kyr-world & the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT)

- What are the causes of the MPT?
- Are there fundamental differences between interglacials of the 41kyr-world and those of the 100kyr-world?
- To what extent can we use the warm interglacials of the 41kyr-world to add value to the study of warm extremes?


The PALSEA-QUIGS workshop on "Climate Ice sheet and sea level during past interglacial periods" was held from 24-27 September 2018 in Galloway, USA.

This workshop centered on the following topical questions:
- Can external (e.g. orbital) or internal (e.g. greenhouse gases) climate forcings explain the observed climate, ice-sheet and sea-level responses based on current knowledge of global physics?
- Does the relationship between interglacial climate and ice sheets/sea level change across the Quaternary? Are there interglacials other than MIS 5e and MIS 11 where we could attempt to link climate and sea level?
- How do interglacial sea-level highstands relate to interglacial high-latitude, global and tropical temperatures?
- Can we reach a firm conclusion on the magnitude of warming and the maximum sea level contribution for Greenland and Antarctic in MIS 5e?


Summary of QUIGS Phase 1 (2015-2017)

1st QUIGS Workshop on Warm Extremes, Cambridge, UK, 9-11 November 2015

The first workshop assessed the current knowledge and research needs on the temporal and spatial patterns of climate forcing, responses and feedbacks during the Last Interglacial (LIG) period and Marine Isotopic Stage 11 (MIS 11).

New climate proxies, high-resolution paleoclimatic records, data syntheses, and snapshot and transient climate-model simulations outlined known features of LIG and MIS 11 climate and highlighted the need for an improved understanding of the magnitude and drivers of LIG and MIS 11 enhanced warmth (summary in Capron et al. Past Global Changes Magazine 2016, link below).

A dedicated discussion session identified 127 ka as the most appropriate time interval across the LIG to run the PMIP4-CMIP6 LIG equilibrium simulations (design described in Otto-Bliesner et al. GMD 2017). In order to provide appropriate data constraints in the framework of upcoming CMIP6-PMIP4 lig127k simulations, a QUIGS publication presents the first data-based 127 ka time slice accompanied with a critical evaluation and recommendations on the existing LIG syntheses (Capron et al QSR 2017).

Capron E, Govin A, Bakker P, Hoffman JS, Holloway M, Moseley G and Stone EJ (2016). Paving the road for improved integrative investigations of past Warm Extremes. Past Global Changes Magazine, volume 24, no 1, p. 34. Read here.

2nd QUIGS workshop on Glacial Terminations, Montreal, Canada, 18-20 October 2016

The second workshop assessed current knowledge and research needs on the spatio-temporal patterns of climate forcing, responses and feedbacks that characterize glacial terminations.

Discussions outlined common features and differences between terminations and highlighted the increased record availability and understanding for Terminations I (TI) and II (TII). Reducing age uncertainties attached to chronologies of paleo records across TII and improved constraints on the size and spatial distribution of ice sheets during the penultimate glacial maximum were identified as key challenges (summary in Capron et al. Past Global Changes Magazine 2017, link below).

A QUIGS paper is in preparation to provide a framework and recommendations for upcoming TII transient simulations (Menviel et al. in prep. CP). This effort is now being integrated in PMIP4 and complements the PMIP4 TI deglaciation experiments. In the framework of QUIGS Phase 2, it will allow an evaluation of the similarities and differences in the climate system response during TI and TII in concert with paleoclimate records.

Capron E, Vazquez Riveiros N, He F, Jacobel A and Zhang X (2017). Spatial pattern and temporal evolution of glacial terminations of the last 800 ka. Past Global Changes Magazine, vol. 25, no 2. p.118. Read here.

3rd QUIGS workshop on Interglacials of the 41kyr-world & the MPT, Molyvos, Greece, 28-30 August 2017

Our understanding of glacial-interglacial cycles has been built on a large body of evidence on Middle- and Late-Pleistocene environments, dominated by 100 kyr ice-volume variations. However, any theory of ice ages remains incomplete if it does not include an adequate description and understanding of the mode and tempo of climate variability during the 41kyr-world and the transition into the 100kyr-world (the so-called [Early] Mid-Pleistocene Transition, MPT).

The workshop focused on two specific issues: (i) characteristics of interglacial periods of the 41kyr-world (CO2 concentrations, sea level, ocean circulation, temperature and precipitation regimes, duration, structure, etc); (ii) causes of the MPT (identifying primary hypotheses and how to test them).

Research directions were formulated:

(i) We encourage future investigations to focus on generating high-resolution datasets across a specific time slab characterized by typical pre-MPT glacial-interglacial cycles. We hope also that this will generate interest amongst the modeling community (summary in Chalk et al. Past Global Changes Magazine 2017, link below).

(ii) We provide recommendations on how to test the two main potential causes for the MPT ("CO2" or "regolith" hypotheses; Pena, Ford et al. in prep. for EOS)

Chalk T,  Capron E, Drew M and Panagiotopoulos K (2017). Interglacials of the 41 kyr-world and the Mid- Pleistocene Transition. Past Global Changes Magazine, vol. 25, no. 3. p.155. Read here.