Tag Archives: Climate

Club on Tue 10.11.

Hi All,

next Tuesday we will have a talk by Miikka Tallavaara from Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies. His talk is titled “How climate change shaped hunter-gatherer population dynamics in Europe 30.000-4000 years ago”. Do not miss this opportunity to hear and discuss about this rather hot topic!

See you on Tue 10.11.2015 cl. 16.00 in C108!


Department seminar on THURSDAY 22.1. at 12.15

Hi all,

The departmental seminar this week will be held on THURSDAY at 12.15. The seminar is given by Dr. Stephan Harrison from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, UK.

Dr. Harrison‘s main research interests lie in geomorphological responses to climate change. He has worked for twelve field seasons on the glaciers of Patagonia studying their fluctuation histories over the last 15,000 years and the geomorphological impact of recent glacier retreat on valley-side slopes.

THURSDAY, 22.1.2015

Time: 12.15

Location: D112 Physicum, Kumpula Campus


All are welcome


Departmental seminar this week – Tang Hui

Dear all,

This Friday (5.12) the departmental seminar is given by Dr. Tang Hui from the Division of Geology. This will also be Hui’s farewell talk as he was appointed as a postdoc researcher to Oslo University and will move to Norway in the beginning of next year.


Tang Hui: MOUNTAIN UPLIFT AND THE ASIAN MONSOON: A NEW MODELING PERSPECTIVE – The uplift and growth of the Tibetan Plateau and the surrounding mountains have long been recognized as an important player for the Asian monsoon evolution in the geological periods. But how the Asian monsoon responds to these tectonic changes remains controversial. In the seminar, I will introduce some recent climate modeling studies on the effects of different regional mountains on the Asian monsoon system, and discuss how these modeled effects could be applied to the geological periods.

Friday, 5.12. at 14.15 in D104, Physicum, Kumpula campus

All are welcome


Department seminar Thursday 13.3.

Hi all,

The departmental seminar this week after the department coffee:

Thursday 13.3. at 14.30 in C108 (Physicum)

Minna Väliranta (Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU), Dept.of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki) “Quantitative climate reconstructions derived from plant macrofossils”

All are welcome!


Oligo-Miocene climate change and mammal body-size evolution: a test of Bergmann’s Rule

Oligo-Miocene climate change and mammal body-size evolution in the northwest United States: a test of Bergmann’s Rule

John D. Orcutt and Samantha S. B. Hopkins

Paleobiology: Fall 2013, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 648-661.

Whether or not climate plays a causal role in mammal body-size evolution is one of the longest-standing debates in ecology. Bergmann’s Rule, the longest-standing modeladdressing this topic, posits that geographic body-mass patterns are driven by temperature, whereas subsequent research has suggested that other ecological variables, particularly precipitation and seasonality, may be the major drivers of body-size evolution. While paleoecological data provide a unique and crucial perspective on this debate, paleontological tests of Bergmann’s rule and its corollaries have been scarce. We present a study of body-size evolution in three ecologically distinct families of mammal (equids, canids, and sciurids) during the Oligo-Miocene of the northwest United States, an ideal natural laboratory for such studies because of its rich fossil and paleoclimatic records. Body-size trends are different in all three groups, and in no case is a significant relationship observed between body size and any climatic variable, counter to what has been observed in modern ecosystems. We suggest that for most of the Cenozoic, at least in the Northwest, body mass has not been driven by any one climatic factor but instead has been the product of complex interactions between organisms and their environments, though the nature of these interactions varies from taxon to taxon. The relationship that exists between climate and body size in many groups of modern mammals, therefore, is the exception to the rule and may be the product of an exceptionally cool and volatile global climate. As anthropogenic global warming continues and ushers in climatic conditions more comparable to earlier intervals of the Cenozoic than to the modern day, models of corresponding biotic variables such as body size may lose predictive power if they do not incorporate paleoecological data.



Giant lizard named for Jim Morrison tells tale of climate change

Giant lizards occupied herbivorous mammalian ecospace during the Paleogene greenhouse in Southeast Asia
Jason J. Head, Gregg F. Gunnell, Patricia A. Holroyd, J. Howard Hutchison and Russell L. Ciochon


and some press

– Jacqueline

Making sense of palaeoclimate sensitivity

Making sense of palaeoclimate sensitivity

A new approach for evaluating past climate sensitivity data has been developed by scientists to help improve comparison with estimates of long-term climate projections developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


Paper can be found here:


– Laura

Late Pleistocene climate change and the global expansion of anatomically modern humans

Late Pleistocene climate change and the global expansion of anatomically modern humans
Eriksson et al.
Published online before print September 17, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1209494109


The extent to which past climate change has dictated the pattern and timing of the out-of-Africa expansion by anatomically modern humans is currently unclear [Stewart JR, Stringer CB (2012) Science 335:1317–1321]. In particular, the incompleteness of the fossil record makes it difficult to quantify the effect of climate. Here, we take a different approach to this problem; rather than relying on the appearance of fossils or archaeological evidence to determine arrival times in different parts of the world, we use patterns of genetic variation in modern human populations to determine the plausibility of past demographic parameters. We develop a spatially explicit model of the expansion of anatomically modern humans and use climate reconstructions over the past 120 ky based on the Hadley Centre global climate model HadCM3 to quantify the possible effects of climate on human demography. The combinations of demographic parameters compatible with the current genetic makeup of worldwide populations indicate a clear effect of climate on past population densities. Our estimates of this effect, based on population genetics, capture the observed relationship between current climate and population density in modern hunter–gatherers worldwide, providing supporting evidence for the realism of our approach. Furthermore, although we did not use any archaeological and anthropological data to inform the model, the arrival times in different continents predicted by our model are also broadly consistent with the fossil and archaeological records. Our framework provides the most accurate spatiotemporal reconstruction of human demographic history available at present and will allow for a greater integration of genetic and archaeological evidence.