Determining climate impacts

A history of detailed palaeoecological and archaeological studies has provided valuable insights into the vulnerability (and resilience) of flora and fauna to past climates. These data provide an opportunity to identify and quantify species thresholds of tolerance to past climate change, useful for resource management, model prediction and intervention. Scientists within INTIMATE have been synthesising data from European archives from 60,000 – 8000 yrs BP, to review and evaluate the impacts of abrupt climate change on ecosystem dynamics (e.g. Birks et al., 2014). This involves collaboration between specialists working on a diversity of datasets (e.g. records of past vegetation, faunal remains, genetics) and producing both quantitative and qualitative reconstructions. A first stage in this undertaking has been to standardize methods for integrating data across species and then to assess which data are capable of comparison, so that the best data-sets of flora and fauna can be integrated with palaeoclimate and model reconstructions.

Results of a working group on climate impacts, under the 2011-2014 EC COST Action, have been published in two special issues of Quaternary International.  These include regional syntheses bringing together multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental data (e.g. Stančikaitė et al., 2014; Zernitskaya et al., 2014; Feurdean et al., 2014) with the archaeological record of human occupation (e.g. Cupillard et al., 2014) as well as addressing the theoretical and methodological implications of such an integrative approach (Birks et al., 2014; Hoek et al., 2014).


Birks, H.H., Gelorini, V., Robinson, E., Hoek, W.Z., 2014. Impacts of palaeoclimate change 60 000–8000 years ago on humans and their environments in Europe: Integrating palaeoenvironmental and archaeological data. Quaternary International.
Cupillard, C., Magny, M., Bocherens, H., Bridault, A., Bégeot, C., Bichet, V., Bossuet, G., Drucker, D.G., Gauthier, E., Jouannic, G., 2014. Changes in ecosystems, climate and societies in the Jura Mountains between 40 and 8 ka cal BP. Quaternary International.
Feurdean, A., Perşoiu, A., Tanţău, I., Stevens, T., Magyari, E., Onac, B., Marković, S., Andrič, M., Connor, S., Fărcaş, S., 2014. Climate variability and associated vegetation response throughout Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) between 60 and 8 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews.
Stančikaitė, M., Šeirienė, V., Kisielienė, D., Martma, T., Gryguc, G., Zinkutė, R., Mažeika, J., Šinkūnas, P., 2014. Lateglacial and early Holocene environmental dynamics in northern Lithuania: A multi-proxy record from Ginkūnai Lake. Quaternary International.
Zernitskaya, V., Stančikaitė, M., Vlasov, B., Šeirienė, V., Kisielienė, D., Gryguc, G., Skipitytė, R., 2014. Vegetation pattern and sedimentation changes in the context of the Lateglacial climatic events: Case study of Staroje Lake (Eastern Belarus). Quaternary International.