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Cold and Palaeo Environments

The Cold and Palaeo Environments group conduct research around the globe from the polar regions to the tropics to measure and model the impacts of climate change.  

Despite increasing scientific certainty of the physical basis for global climate change and the increasing likelihood of profound resulting impacts, we are failing to convince the public, businesses, and governments on the extent and rate of action that is necessary. Cold and Palaeo Environments will tackle these problems by developing new understandings of past and contemporary climates and join with social scientists and disciplines, both across and outside the Unit (e.g., psychologists, economists, planners), to address and adapt to the climate crisis. 


Projects and Collaborations  

Some examples of our current projects are listed below:   

Tipping Points in Antarctic Climate Components

Northumbria researchers are a key partner in Tipping Points in Antarctic Climate Components (TiPACCs), a European Horizon project assessing the likelihood of sudden and large changes in the climate of Antarctica and the effects of this could on global sea levels. The project aims to provide a list of early warning signs for these ‘tipping points’ and communicate these to governments, policymakers and the general public. Watch video about the project  

Processes, Drivers, Prediction: modelling the History and Evolution of Thwaites (PROPHET)

Thwaite’s glacier is the widest glacier on Earth at approximately 80 miles wide and is part of Antarctica’s West Antarctic ice sheet. The loss of ice from this glacier due to climate change contributes to around 4% of global sea level rise, with this expected to rise. The PROPHET project, led by Northumbria’s Professor Hilmar Gudmundsson, is a modelling project aimed to help more accurately predict future projections of ice loss from the glacier. Find out more.

Peruvian Glacier Retreat and its Impact on Water Security

Water melting from the Peruvian Andes provides a reliable and important water source for communities. This however is threatened by increasing temperatures and changing rain patterns linked to climate change as well as increased economic demand due to urbanisation and development. This project will conduct scientific research to improve hydrological forecasting that will help quantify the risks and potential impact for communities. The aim is to provide research-driven insights for planning at a local and regional level and to increase the resilience of communities to changes.  

Other ongoing projects: 

Find out more about Cold and Palaeo Environments on our Department research page

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