Scientific objectives for the next 10 years of NECLIME research

Quantitative palaeoclimate reconstruction of the Neogene climate evolution in Eurasia

As in the last decade quantitative, proxy-data based reconstructions of climate patterns in time and space will be in the focus of NECLIME. Key areas will be Central and East Asia where many gaps still exist in our data. The time frame studied will be extended to the early Pleistocene. To understand the processes behind the data reconstructed and hence the Neogene climate system modelling approaches on Neogene Eurasian and global climate will be included, regarding atmospheric and ocean circulation.

The analysis of patterns changing in time should aim at studies of detailed and high-resolving records from suitable section providing a reasonable age-control. More research is required to address problems with different scales of climate change and to compare the impact of orbital forcing in different parts of Eurasia.

Ecosystem analysis / reconstruction of biome- and vegetation maps

The analysis of interactions between palaeogeography, vegetation, fauna and climate combined with biome modelling approaches has been a topic becoming increasingly important during the last decade of NECLIME research. Also, methodologies and classification systems have been developed within NECLIME providing a sound basis for future work. As regards the Neogene, vegetation reconstructions have been presented basically for Europe, and for a few time slices only. As the number of sites made available by NECLIME members is growing fast it will be possible in the near future to come up with Eurasia-wide reconstructions and to address more derived questions.

Evolution and palaeoclimate

As decided on the Izmir meeting the thematic complex “evolution and palaeoclimate” will be a future focus of NECLIME. The use of biomolecular methods along with traditional, morphological and anatomical studies has proven a powerful tool to improve the taxonomy, not only of modern plant species. Thus, studies on selected taxonomical groups are planned using molecular phylogenetics in order to unravel the evolution of different characters in plant families and of biodiversity. This can be discussed in the context of Neogene boundary conditions and model data that are already available in NECLIME. Thus the taxonomy of the plant fossil record and its NLR concept can be improved.

Analysis of interactions

Interactions between changes in vegetation, fauna, palaeogeography, and climate system can be analysed when integrating over studies on the specific topics.

Data input in Pangaea

As in the past years, Pangaea will remain “the database of choice” for NECLIME, providing open access to our published data. The support we obtain from Pangaea is gratefully acknowledged. Thus the community of earth scientists can profit from our work, and use NECLIME records for own research.

Also in the future the NECLIME coordination group will take care that published data are entered in PANGAEA in a timely manner. We are very grateful to Zhou Zhe-kun and colleagues for their assistance.