The main objective of INTIMATE is to develop common protocols and methods within a larger network to reconstruct abrupt and extreme climate change across the full range of European environments (ice, marine and terrestrial) within the period 60,000 to 8000 years ago, bringing together scientists in order to better understand the impact and mechanisms of change, and thereby reducing the uncertainty of future prediction. INTIMATE activities are financed by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). COST is one of the longest-running European frameworks supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe.
Precise correlation between high precision palaeoclimate archives over the last 60,000 years is critical to gain a better understanding of the exact timing and, hence, mechanisms of past climate change. The abrupt climatic changes in this time-frame occur at millennial to centennial scales and developing and integrating independent chronologies with this level of resolution is a core goal of IMTIMATE.
Past climate and environmental data provide critical tests of global and regional climate models. While there are a small number of high profile records, such as the Greenland ice cores, which are critical for informing on the dynamic nature of past climate change, it is at the scale of Europe and the North Atlantic that abrupt climate variability needs to be fully explored. It is crucial that independent records of abrupt climate change across Europe are generated and robustly compared to test for leads/lags in the climate system and the interaction between different climate forcing mechanisms. Doing so will critically underpin our ability to model future climate change and ecosystem response. The main objectives of this Action are to standardize methodologies across Europe; incorporate reconstructions within climate models; and facilitate interdisciplinary science collaborations, including early-stage and established scientists, to build European research capacity.