Research report 2004 - Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry

New approaches to paleoclimate

Gleixner, Gerd; Sachse, Dirk; Radke, Jens; Werner, Martin
The global climate system and its anthropogenic influences are key issues of earth system science. Currently new components, like terrestrial vegetation or marine biosphere are added to earth system models to improve climate predictions. Reconstructions of the palaeoclimate are essential to evaluate the model simulations and estimate the quality of the model predictions. Most promising are reconstructions of the terrestrial climate, as continental climate variability is much larger than marine variability. Unfortunately, in terrestrial records often suitable climate proxies are missing. Here we investigate if aquatic and terrestrial biomarkers, e.g. chemical fossils, from the terrestrial record can be used for direct climate reconstruction. Results of this project suggest that compound specific hydrogen isotope ratios of alkanes are emerging as a new palaeoclimate proxy.

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