The objectives of the Project are multiple and can grouped under the following:
- To calibrate our tools in order to better understand the proxies that we currently use for climatic reconstructions. We will work on modern processes to validate and calibrate our proxies and will analyse water column and modern sediment trap samples (seasonal variations), short marine sediment cores, sea-bed morphology, shallow firn cores, snow pits and precipitation samples covering the instrumental period of the last decades.
- To document changes of different components of the Holocene climate system in terms of amplitudes, frequencies and timing. Using a multi-proxy approach, we will reconstruct climate and environmental parameters in the selected areas.
- To document the regional heterogeneity of the different components over the Holocene period. We will investigate several marine cores from the Antarctic continental margin and ice cores from the ice sheet, integrating the results with climate models using data assimilation techniques. The large number of records studied and their diversity (both regional and type of records) will allow us to better constrain the regional heterogeneity of the different components/parameters.
- To document the relationships between the different components/parameters. All the components are connected but their relationships/feedbacks are highly non-linear. Sea bed morphology is also a crucial component for downslope flowing of High Salinity Shelf Water, formed in coastal polynyas, and finally to mixing with Antarctic circumpolar water. We propose a detailed comparison of marine and ice core records to better document the interactions among atmosphere/cryosphere-ocean. The interpretations will feed into/validate numerical models.
- To document the forcing factors of the different components/parameters and to test the sensitivity of the climate system to different forcing factors. We will provide numerical models incorporating marine and ice core data to better understand the relationship between forcing factors and climatic response.
- To document the feedbacks of the different components/parameters on Holocene climate. We will combine marine and ice core data with those deriving from numerical models to determine the role of atmospheric circulation, sea ice, and ocean in regulating the Holocene climate in the different sectors of the Southern Ocean and the impact of the Southern Ocean on thermohaline circulation.