The Holocene Express
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PCC: ATMS, ESS, OCEAN 586A, Winter 2007
The Holocene Express

Course description
Over the Holocene (the last 12,000 yr) orbital wobbles resulted in variations in solar radiation that greatly exceeded radiation changes due to future emissions of CO2 (albeit as a function of season and latitude). And yet the Holocene is widely regarded as a remarkably quiescent interval in
Earth's history.

How come?

As a group we will undertake a worldwide survey of proxy climate records, and ask where is this conventional picture wrong, and where is our understanding of climate dynamics truly challenged by what the records reveal?

Active research and participation will be essential!

Grading policy

2 Credits. Credit/No Credit.

To recieve credit you will be expected to: Read assigned papers. Attend and participate in discussions. Delve into the paleoclimate and/or dynamics literature on two occasions during the quarter to dredge up what is known about the discussion topic.

Class Meetings

One 2-hr class per week:

0.5 hr discussion of assigned papers
1.5 hr discussion of "discovered" literature

Required readings
Approximately 2 papers per week will be assigned, one paleoclimate paper and one climate dynamics or modeling paper.

Evaluation of Literature
Each participant is expected to scour the literature and report back to the group on at least one paper, data or model, addressing the following questions:

1. Quality of record or model
1.1. Robustness & reliability of proxy
1.2. Quality of age model
1.3. Quality of model
2. Interpretation of the authors
3. Your interpretation of
3.1. Trend
3.2. Changes in variability
4. Does the record or model confirm or challenge our expectations of the response of climate based on insolation forcing (or is it simply unclear)?

For example, for question 1: is the proxy reliably and clearly related to climate- some atmospheric variable(s) that we can understand? It is seasonal or annual mean proxy (or unclear)? For question 3: does the proxy show clear difference between Holocene and the preceding glacial times, in either the trend of the record, or its variability?

A short (

Other information
Postdocs and faculty are welcome to participateif they have done the assigned readings and contribute to the discussion (while not dominating them!).