Section 5.2: Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution
Various transects across the Eurasian continent makeup the regional emphasis of our work. Complementary projects in southern Africa and America take up special questions in the Southern Hemisphere. Of prime importance for our high resolution investigations is the selection of geoarchives with annual records like lake sediments and tree rings. Among our tools are specially developed, highly precises coring systems, with which we can collect 100 meter long continuous sediment profiles from lakes. From such cores, we can find out about the climate and environmental changes in the last 130,000 years. This interval spans the complete glacial interval from the most recent warm period to the present. We also investigate older interglacial periods, in order to have complementary data from absolutely natural conditions without any human influence. For this purpose, we have developed methods, with which we can collect layers from dried paleolakes.
Sediments from the maars in the Eifel, Italy, France and China play a special role. These lakes have small watersheds and contain very long, undisturbed sediment profiles with annual layering. For the first time, using sediments from the Lago Grande di Monticchio in Southern Italy, the length of a past warm period could be determined by counting the annual layers. With sediments from the Chinese maars Huguang and Sihailongwan, we are currently reconstructing the development of and changes in the East Asian monsoon system over the past 65,000 years. At Lake El'gygytgyn, a meteor crater on the Tschuchotka Peninsula in northeastern Siberia, we are doing paleomagnetic investigations as part of the International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP). One of our central tasks is to synchronize the geological time series collected from various profiles in order to assess regional variability. For this reason, we continue to develop more precise chronologies and stratigraphies and are participating in the development of a uniform "stratigraphy of Germany".