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The Carlsberg Foundation grants DKK 4,5M to research in abrupt climate change

Sune Olander Rasmussen, associate professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, Centre for Ice and Climate, receives a Carlsberg Foundation Distinguished Associate Professor Fellowship of DKK 4,5M to research in abrupt climate change. The project will provide new insight into the mechanisms behind the sudden climate changes of the past, thereby improving our ways of managing the risk of future abrupt climate change.

It has been more than 40 years since the abrupt climate changes of the Ice Ages were first proven by means of ice cores. Despite of this, we still lack an overall understanding of the roles of the different parts of the climate system in relation to the changes, which, over the course of some decades, led to a fundamental reorganisation of the climate system.

Thanks to a Carlsberg Foundation grant to the project “ChronoClimate”, Sune Olander Rasmussen from the Niels Bohr Institute, Centre for Ice and Climate, will investigate the interplay between different components of the climate system: The oceans, the atmosphere, and the cryosphere (ice cape, glaciers, and sea ice) to discover the underlying mechanisms of the changes. As it is, abrupt climate change poses a significant risk in the future of humanity; therefore, it is important to understand the details of the mechanisms behind it.

“The new and visionary project of Sune O. Rasmussen is a beautiful example of the Carlberg Foundation’s wish to support excellent research, which, at the same time, can assist in solving some of the enormous societal challenges of our world. In this way, the project demonstrates what we call Scientific Social Responsibility. The consequences of the rise of the global temperature leading to rising sea levels, more and more violent storms, change in rainfall patterns etc., are problems that we must take seriously. Sune O. Rasmussen’s project will contribute with new historic data on the mutually dependent components of the climate system, which will shed new light on the current changes and their origin”, says Flemming Besenbacher, chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation.

Ice cores are the key

The primary focus of the project is the climate changing processes of the past, as these present the key to a better understanding of the future climate and also pave the way for improving the climate models over the years to come.

A lot of different data on the abrupt climate changes of the Ice Age must be analysed and compared to data from previous, as well as existing climate models. The research will be based on data from ice cores from the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet, and it will lead to improvement and development of dating methodologies and integration of climatic data from different paleo-climate-archives, registering the conditions in the different parts of the climate system.

“In a densely populated world, likely to undergo significant climate changes over the next centuries, it is of key importance to better understand how climate changes propagate and influence other regions and parts of the climate system. Our project will contribute to this. By describing and understanding under which conditions abrupt climate changes have occurred in the past, we can better evaluate the risk of future abrupt climate change”, says Sune Olander Rasmussen.

For further information, contact:

Associate professor Sune Olander Rasmussen,

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