Change Alley

information, opinion, conversation

£3m Funding For Research Into Our Ancestors’ Response To Abrupt Climate Change

with 10 comments

“A Walk In The Snow, Naked” by lickyoats

A research consortium, led by Professor John Lowe in the Geography Department at Royal Holloway, University of London, has been awarded funding of £3m to develop a novel approach for assessing how humans may have responded to rapid environmental changes during the recent past.

A five-year project named RESET (Response of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions), funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, brings together scientists from the universities of London,  Oxford and Southampton and the Natural History Museum, London,  based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, with expertise in human palaeontology, archaeology, oceanography, volcanic geology and past climate change.

Dr Simon Blockley, from Oxford University’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, said “Research like this is fundamental in understanding the role of climate change to the development and adaptation of our species.”

More here

Best you crack on guys, we haven’t got long.

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Written by Pete Smith

October 8, 2007 at 3:18 pm

10 Responses

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  1. More from the linked press release;

    Ice-core records from Greenland have suggested that pronounced climatic shifts with severe environmental consequences are possible within as little as 20 years or less. This means that some of our ancestors experienced climatic variability perhaps as rapid as those associated with global warming today.

    “Being able to establish the precise temporal relationships between archaeological events and sudden changes in the environment has proved an elusive goal for scientists so far. Until this obstacle is overcome, answers to some of the most vital and intriguing questions about our recent past, and understanding fully their implications for the future, will remain tantalisingly beyond our grasp,” commented Professor John Lowe, Professor of Geography and Quaternary Science at Royal Holloway and the scientific co-ordinator of RESET.

    Excellent project idea. Certainly a nice wee number for these academics!

    matt

    October 8, 2007 at 3:45 pm

  2. A stimulating intellectual exercise, but I’ll be intrigued to see if anything practical comes out of it. If the bottom line is “Wear more clothes if it gets colder, move north if it gets warmer”, someone might consider asking for their £3m back.

    Pete Smith

    October 8, 2007 at 3:49 pm

  3. Ha ha. Yes, conclusion ladies gentlemen from the report is … ‘panic’ and ‘get into your caravans and head for Scandinavia’.

    Maybe a few shares in a caravan manufacturer would be a good call. 😉

    matt

    October 8, 2007 at 4:08 pm

  4. Wow! That picture is brilliant. Love it!

    (at first glimpse I thought it a remarkable similarity to my neighbours across the street)

    matt

    October 8, 2007 at 7:45 pm

  5. It’s Sol Campbell and Helena Bonham-Carter.

    Pete Smith

    October 8, 2007 at 10:18 pm

  6. Hi all

    Bottom line – very appropriate. The emphasis seems to be on may – could we ever find out the answer and would it be relevant today anyway? Would the £3m be better spending subsidising better insulation or solar heating?

    Keith

    October 8, 2007 at 11:17 pm

  7. Hi Keith,

    I agree. Of course discovering more about human activity in the distant past is a good thing, but linking it to contemporary issues with a casual reference to climate change makes it look like a cynical bid for funding.

    Pete Smith

    October 9, 2007 at 11:39 am

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