Rapid Climate Change
International Science Conference


for the Media

NEW: Conference Summary (PDF)

Conference Themes



Full presentations


24 - 27 October 2006. Birmingham, U.K.

Some models predict that rapid (decadal-scale) climate change could occur under the scenario of global warming that is likely to happen over the next century. The Atlantic Ocean's thermohaline circulation (THC) is thought to have played a key role in rapid changes in the past and to have the potential to do so in the future, although other processes may also cause rapid climate change to occur.

This conference will explore the scientific understanding of rapid climate change, with a main but not exclusive focus on the role of the THC in such change.

Scientific Steering Group: Eric Wolff (chair), Peter Challenor, Henk Dijkstra, Eystein Jansen, Bill Johns, Cathy Johnson, Lloyd Keigwin, Jochem Marotzke, Paul Valdes, Martin Visbek, with Meric Srokosz (RAPID Science Coordinator).

The conference is based around four themes, each with its own session in the four-day programme.

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • present day observations of the strength and structure of the Atlantic THC
  • paleo data (ice, land, ocean) on past rapid climate changes
  • modelling of past and possible future rapid climate change
  • understanding of processes controlling the strength of THC
  • testing models using present day and paleo observations
  • impacts of rapid THC change on climate and weather
  • probability of rapid climate changing occurring
  • impacts of rapid climate change on society
Conference abstracts
  Information for the media

This conference is organised under the auspices of the UK Natural Environment Research Council's Rapid Climate Change programme (RAPID), and in cooperation with NWO, RCN, NSF, NOAA, CLIVAR and the CLIVAR / PAGES working group, and with the Cape Farewell project.

The conference seeks to bring together the international community of scientists carrying out oceanographic observations, paleo studies and ocean and coupled climate modelling in order to discuss recent research findings and to identify outstanding problems and ways forward in the science of rapid climate change.

Artwork courtesy of Cape Farewell, who will present 'The Art of Climate Change' in words and images during the conference. Top: 'Ice Lens' by Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey. Bottom: 'The Messenger' by David Buckland.