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£3.3m to model last interglacial sea level

28 January 2011

A NERC consortium grant worth nearly £3.3 million has been awarded to a network of researchers, co-led by the University of Bristol, to model the last interglacial sea level.

Bristol was able to create the necessary network (Bristol, Oxford, Southampton, Durham, Plymouth and Liverpool) to win this consortium grant thanks to PALSEA (PALeo-constraints on SEA-level rise), a working group initiated and coordinated by Dr Mark Siddall, an RCUK research fellow in the School of Earth Sciences.

PALSEA uses international workshops to coordinate the efforts of the strongest groups worldwide to place limits on future sea-level change by reconstructing and modelling past sea-level and ice sheet change.

PALSEA is highly regarded internationally.  A workshop in Bristol in September 2010 drew on the expertise of 70 researchers from around the world in a programme of talks and round-table discussions focusing on key scientific and policy-relevant developments.

This workshop was supported by the Science Faculty's Black Swan Initiative, which funds highly adventurous research.

Funding and support was also provided by the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).

The NERC grant is led by Professor Tony Payne, Dr Mark Siddall, Dr Dan Lunt and Dr Joy Singarayer in Bristol University’s School of Geographical Sciences and School of Earth Sciences.

Dr Siddall said: “The global distribution of sea level is complex but understanding the extent and distribution is fundamental to allow human adaptations.  Local sea-level records from the past can help ‘fingerprint’ which ice sheets contributed to individual episodes of sea-level rise in the past using isostatic models, which help us to understand the distribution of future sea-level rise.”

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