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Global Change Through Time



Leader: Richard Levy

The Global Change through Time Programme is part of an international research effort on global & climate change. The programme focuses on improving predictions of future progressive or abrupt warming, improving predictions of future climate variability, and improving understanding of the carbon cycle and climate sensitivity to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration.

The programme consists of eight projects that aim to advance understanding of past climate and environmental change in the New Zealand region, Southern Ocean and Antarctica; reduce uncertainties surrounding future climate change, and create value for New Zealand industry through applied paleontology and isotope geoscience.


  • Isotope Science for Climate Research - Marcus Vandergoes. Refine existing isotopic methods (14C, 10Be, 26Al) and develop new methods for dating sediments and soils and for climate reconstruction, especially past temperatures.
  • Modern Carbon Cycle - Jocelyn Turnbull. This project aims to understand and model the source and fate of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
  • Antarctic Climate Archives - Nancy Bertler. Ice cores recovered from Antarctica and New Zealand are used to reconstruct high-resolution climate records for the past 70,000 years to improve understanding of Southern Hemisphere climate drivers and to reduce uncertainties in predictive climate models.
  • Terrestrial Climate Archives - David Barrell. Terrestrial climate archives, such as lake cores and glacial geomorphology, are used to quantify natural climate variability for the past 150,000 years at centennial to millennial time scales, to examine rates of climate transitions and to identify the impact of global climate events on New Zealand
  • Marine Paleoclimate Records - Giuseppe Cortese. Climate archives preserved in marine sediment cores are used to identify the main drivers, mechanisms and patterns of climate change in the southwest Pacific over the last 20 million years.
  • High CO2 climate - Identify the global causes and regional consequences for biological and physical systems of extreme climatic events in the greenhouse world of the early Cenozoic and Late Cretaceous.
  • Paleontology Collections and Databases - Maintain and enhance the National Paleontology Collection (NPC) and New Zealand Fossil Record File (FRF), in accordance with best practice, to facilitate their use for national and international research and educational outreach.
  • Land and Water -  Utilising isotope measurement techniques, data and models, to enhance and protect the value and environmental performance of land and freshwater industries.

The Global Change Through Time programme supports the annual Quaternary Techniques Short Course.