Time Location Organiser Objective Participants Agenda Materials

Photograph showing idyllic scene of mountains and alpine lake. At the right the Brienzer lake is visible (Photo: N. Marwan).

Reconstructing Environmental Changes in the Swiss Alps

Geo.X Brainstorm Meeting

Time

November 8th til 10th, 2023

Location

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Potsdam, Telegrafenberg Building A56, Hasselmann Hall

Campus map showing building A56 and a subset showing the meeting room in A56.

Organiser

Norbert Marwan (deputy head RD4, PIK)
Gabriele Pilz (scientific coordinator RD4, PIK)

Objective

First stalagmite samples from cave "Oberländer" (Photo: S. Breitenbach)

We aim to establish an interdisciplinary research group and develop a project proposal focused on utilizing caves and cave-based palaeoenvironmental records to investigate landscape and environmental changes of the Swiss Alps during the late Quaternary. The Saegistal region in Switzerland provides a unique opportunity to reconstruct glaciation dynamics and geomorphological evolution using a range of techniques, including the use of caves for dating glacier advances and studying topographic and geomorphological development, speleothem-based clumped isotopes for palaeothermometry, trace elements for assessing water availability, and cryogenic carbonates as permafrost time markers. Preliminary studies conducted in the region demonstrate the high potential for environmental reconstructions through cave documentation and speleothem analysis.

Participants

Cave "Seeschwinde" (Photo: N. Wächter)
PIK
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Member of the Leibniz Association, Research Department Complex Systems, Research Group on Development of advanced time series analysis techniques
GFZ
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, Section Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, Laboratory for stable Isotopes (sediments and water)
AWI
Alfred Wegener Institute Potsdam, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Division Polar Terrestrial Environmental Systems, Stable Isotope Lab
UP1
University of Potsdam, Institute of Geosciences, General Geology
UP2
University of Potsdam, Institute of Geosciences, Remote Sensing and Earth Surface Processes
NU
Northumbria University Newcastle, Department Geography and Environmental Sciences, Palaeoclimate group
UB
University of Bern, Department for Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS

Agenda

Presentation of research groups should include skills and available facilities (15 min + 5 min discussion). A second presentation contains an illustrative example of own research related to the topic (15 min + 5 min discussion).

Each group should also prepare a "state of the art" of their potential contribution to the project.

View to the southern rim of the Saegistal (Photo: C. Luethi)

Wednesday, November 8th

9:30
Opening, short introduction round
10:30
Norbert Marwan: Introduction Saegistal and research objectives
11:15
Coffee break
11:45
Presentation of groups
  1. Sebastian Breitenbach (NU): NICEST laboratory at Northumbria University
  2. Birgit Schröder, Sylvia Pinkerneil, Rik Tjallingii (GFZ): Laboratories for stable isotopes and for element scanning at Section 4.3 GFZ
  3. Hanno Meyer (AWI): NISOLAB Stable Isotope Facility at AWI Potsdam
12:45
Lunch
13:45
Presentation of groups
  1. Franziska Lechleitner (UB): Radiocarbon analysis and Critical Zone research in Bern
  2. Bodo Bookhagen (UP): Remote Sensing and Earth Surface Processes at Uni Potsdam
  3. Peter van der Beek (UP): Late Cenozoic climate change, erosion, and mountain relief: The ERC COOLER project at UP
  4. Norbert Marwan (PIK): Advanced time series analysis techniques at PIK
15:00
Coffee break
15:30
Norbert Marwan and Sebastian Breitenbach: Overview on previous (academic) research and preliminary work from our group in this region
16:30
Illustrative examples of related studies from our groups
  1. Sylvia Pinkerneil, Birgit Schröder, Jens Mingram (GFZ): GCO Central Asia – Continental Paleoclimate Archives & Monitoring
  2. Tobias Braun (PIK): Decline in seasonal predictability potentially destabilized Classic Maya societies
  3. Aljoscha Rheinwalt, Bodo Bookhagen (UP): Pebble sizes and grain-size distributions from point clouds
17:30
Get together

Thursday, November 9th

9:30
Illustrative examples of related studies from our groups
  1. Sebastian Breitenbach (NU): Speleothems – Archives of permafrost, temperature, and vegetation
  2. Franziska Lechleitner (UB): Understanding subsurface processes in the terrestrial carbon cycle – Insights from Milandre Cave, Switzerland
  3. Peter van der Beek (UP): Miocene cave sediments record topographic, erosional and drainage development in the Western European Alps
11:00
Coffee break
11:30
First discussion on potential research topics, including state of the art
12:30
Lunch
13:30
Break out groups: Developing research ideas
15:30
Coffee break
16:00
Discussion on research ideas, integration of research topics

Friday, November 10th

9:30
Discussion on funding options
11:00
Coffee break
11:30
Writing workshop
12:30
Lunch
13:30
Visit and tour isotope lab at GFZ
15:30
Coffee break
16:00
Summary and next steps

Materials

Paper


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