Just after I have attended a conference on seasonal and decadal prediction at NCAR in Boulder/Colorado, my next stop was at the PALSEA and QUIGS meeting in Galloway/New Jersey. It was the third time that I attended a PALSEA and as the other two times it was a great opportunity for me. The main topic of the conference was the sea-level and climate change during the last and other interglacials.
Many talks surrounded the available data and their interpretation. In this context it is a very complex task to bring together on the one side the many different proxies and evidences of sea-level height during that period and on the other side to explain their causes by the changes of ice-sheets in the higher latitudes and the reaction on them by the Earth. As a consequence there were many interesting discussions surrounding this field and many different viewpoints were heard. Specific questions around when the last interglacial exactly started, how high the sea-level was during that period and how the exact evolution of sea-level happened during that time were often discussed during this week. Most discussions were evidence driven, trying to make sense of the sometimes contradicting results and their uncertainties.
Also the understanding of the consequences of these results played an important role, as sea-level change is not happening isolated. It requires the build up or melting of ice shoot and with it a change in climate. In a climate system, as we know from looking around us today, that is highly connected all the climate sub-components, especially atmosphere, cryosphere and ocean have to tell the same story.
Myself have presented a poster on the last interglacial sea-level evolution and had several interesting discussions on this topic. Also the field trip, which showed us the study fields of salt marches, which are used to investigate Holocene sea-level change at the East American coast was very informative. Seeing the data collection first hand always helps to understand the topic better and getting better results at the computer in your own office. All in all it was a great opportunity for me, which was made possible by the financial contribution by the organisers, which allowed me to attend.