Application of pre-industrial data to quantify current impacts of environmental and climate change
Instrumental observations of climate and environmental variables are often comparably short and representative of local settings. In the context of global warming and other recent environmental changes the short time span of instrumental records can make it difficult to quantify the impacts of human-induced changes since the industrial revolution. Environmental and climate reconstructions based on palaeo-ecological and geochemical proxy data from natural archives can be of high resolution (even seasonal) and of very high quality. Such records can range from site-specific reconstructions to gridded reconstructions on regional to global scales. Proxy records and other pre-instrumental data effectively provide a baseline as a backdrop for the current changes, not only as estimates of preindustrial levels, but also provide information on changes in variability and spatial patterns. The most realistic time frame to explore is the past millennium, the period from which high-resolution proxy records, historical accounts and museum collections are most abundant.
With this action group we aim to extend the temporal perspective of BECC-relevant research to achieve enhanced mechanistic understanding and quantification of recent and future dynamics of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Focus will be placed on environmental and climate change across a range of scales in both space and time to foster new collaborations and research proposals. We will inform BECC-affiliated working groups of the potential of using pre-instrumental records through seminars and workshops. A specific aim is to cast a report outlining the added value of, as well as the methods involved in, pre-instrumental approaches to inform environmental and climate change. The report will be based on topics and methods mastered by the LU and GU BECC researchers active in the action group and can form the
basis of a review paper.