The Future of Past Climate

May 5th, 2019 - May 10th, 2019

Recent attention to paleoclimate research has made apparent to the wider global change community the relevance of paleo perspectives on climate change. Of particular importance, paleoclimate has documented amplitudes and rates of climate change that are not knowable from historical records and has identified drivers of climate change on a range of timescales. Of equal importance, paleoclimate provides targets and points of validation for current-generation climate models used to predict near-term climate change. Recent advances in proxy methods, numerical approaches, and modeling capabilities have opened new avenues of investigation into past climate change. However, key gaps in knowledge and capabilities persist. Among them are uncertainties in proxies and their calibrations; uncertainties in the absolute timing and spatial coherence of past climate events; gaps in data availability for broad intervals of the Phanerozoic; and limitations in modeling capabilities and knowledge of past boundary conditions.

There is motivation by the research community and funders to chart new directions for future research into Earth’s past climate in order to understand how climate operates in climate states different than the present, and especially in warm states that might be analogues to a future state. Discussion topics will include how climate sensitivity and variability, extreme events, and the hydrological cycle and other aspects of the climate system, operated during past climate states, and what forcings and feedbacks caused the transition between states. Potential elements of this vision could include proxy and model development, new methods of treating existing data sets including through assimilation, and a focus on critical regions or transitions in Earth history.

This AGCI workshop will bring together experts in paleoclimate data generation, modeling, and data-model synthesis to present ideas from recent efforts and to develop ideas/recommendations for the way forward.

Funding Partners

Earth’s Climate Trajectory, Past and Future

Presented By Jessica Tierney
Date May 8, 2019

Workshop Outcomes

  • Past climates inform our future
    View PDF


Expand to see available videos and presentations
Day 1May 6, 2019

9:30 am Scene Setting, Intended Outcomes Presented by Isabel Patricia Montanez, Christopher J Poulsen, Jessica Tierney

10:00 am Understanding Cloud Feedback and Natural Aerosol Fingerprints to Interpret Past Warm Climate Forcing and Constrain Tropical Climate Sensitivity Presented by Natalie Burls

11:15 am What the Pliocene Can Teach Us About Rainfall In A Warmer World Presented by Tripti Bhattacharya

11:25 am The Evolution of Plio-Pleistocene Climate and Potential Thresholds of “Catastrophic” Climate Change Presented by Gavin Foster

11:30 am Stability of the Earth Climate in Response to Deep Time Large Perturbations Presented by Yves Godderis

2:15 pm Reconstructing CO2 and Related Feedbacks in Deep Time Presented by Isabel Patricia Montanez

3:05 pm Paleoseasonality – A Missing Piece of the Paleoclimate Puzzle

3:10 pm Paleotraits and Paleobiomes in a High CO2 World. Can They Inform Paleoclimate Models?

4:40 pm Narrowing the Model-Data Gap with Isotope-Enabled Climate Models


Isabel Patricia Montanez

starEvent Co-Chair

Christopher J Poulsen

University of Michigan
starEvent Co-Chair

Jessica Tierney

University of Arizona
Associate Professor
starEvent Co-Chair


Syracuse University
Assistant Professor
George Mason University
Assistant Professor
University of Connecticut
Assistant Professor in Residence
Queen Mary University of London
University of Southampton
Professor of Isotope Geochemistry
Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
Directeur de Recherche
Smithsonian Institution
Research Geologist
University of Bristol
Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate
Syracuse University
Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI)
Program Director
University of Bristol
Professor of Climate Science
Academic Fellow
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Senior Scientist
University of Michigan
Assistant Professor
University of California, Riverside
Professor of Earth System Science
University of Stockholm
Post Doctoral Researcher
University of Arizona
Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University
Assistant Professor
University of Michigan
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

View Historical Roster

The attendee list and participant profiles are regularly updated. For information on participant affiliation at the time of workshop, please refer to the historical roster. If you are aware of updates needed to participant or workshop records, please notify AGCI’s workshops team.