The Miocene is the future: Studying past climate change to better predict the future
1st International conference on Miocene climate change research
Stockholm, 3–5 June, 2019
Swedish Museum of Natural History
Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University
During the Cenozoic, the past 66 million years of Earth’s history, the climate system has changed mode from ‘greenhouse’ to ‘icehouse’ mode, with permanent bi-polar glaciation. Superimposed on this long-term cooling are a series of transient warm periods, or climatic optima, where temperatures returned to significantly warmer conditions.
The Miocene, ~23-5 million years ago (Ma) was a significant time period of overall warm global climate, relative to today. Importantly, during this time the continents moved very close to their modern positions, and flora and fauna evolved into the species that exist today. The expansion of grasslands is commonly correlated to a general drying of continental interiors, while the global climate first warmed and then cooled.
The Miocene was a time of extremes, including transient significant periods of glaciation surrounding a return to strong greenhouse climate conditions in the mid Miocene (~17–14.5 Ma), a time interval called the mid Miocene climatic optimum —the MMCO— which has been identified as a particularly appropriate analogue for the future greenhouse climate we are racing towards, in the event that goals to reduce CO2 emissions are not met.
Greenhouse periods in the geological past, such as the Miocene, provide unique perspectives on the response of Earth systems to elevated CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. During the Miocene, CO2 is reconstructed to have dropped from earlier Cenozoic values of ~500–800 ppm to ~ 450–500 ppm—i.e. in the near-modern range.
Yet, climate was anomalously warm and large climate swings correlated with small changes in CO2. This phenomenon has been difficult to reconcile with climate models and implies either missing positive feedbacks in the models (the same models used to simulate future climate), or a lack of knowledge of past climate forcings, which might mitigate the model-data discrepancy.
The specific goals of the conference is to focus on the following initiatives:
A preliminary schedule is available here: MioMeet 2019 conference schedule
The bulk of the meeting will take place at the Geo Science Building (Geohuset), Stockholm University, 3–5 June 2019, 9 am – 5:30 pm (three full days), with scientific and social activities planned on the evenings of the first two days.
How to get here: Travelling from the city centre (T-centralen underground train station), take the red line nr. 14, going towards ’Mörby Centrum’. Exit at stop ’Universitetet’ and walk straight towards the green buildings slightly to the left.
If travelling from elsewhere, please see here for alternative routes and maps
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Dr. Margret Steinthorsdottir, NRM, Sweden
Dr. Agatha DeBoer, Stockholm University, Sweden
Dr. Helen Coxall, Stockholm University, Sweden
Prof. Matthew Huber, Purdue University, USA
More information to come
More information about the program, abstract submission, registration and fees will be added shortly.