Introduction: paleoclimate

Our climate and environment are currently subject to strong anthropogenic pressures but also exhibit pervasive natural variations, as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. The study of past climate and environmental variability serves several objectives: one is to estimate the amplitude of those variations, which is a necessary step to inform policy makers not only with an average future trend but also with a corridor of future environmental paths; a second objective is to learn about the mechanisms behind those natural variations, including extreme events, since those mechanism will likely be relevant for the future decades; a third objective is to place the currently observed trends against the backdrop of natural variability.

Coastal regions are the transition between open oceans and land masses. They feel the influence of both climate subsystems. A large proportion of human population lives at the coast and uses the ecosystem services provided by the coast. Therefore, the study of past climate and environmental variations in these regions requires the analysis of both marine and terrestrial environmental archives - e.g.tree-rings and molluscs- together with climate simulations with comprehensive models at global and regional scales. I am interested in the Holocene, the current warm period over the last 10,000 years that followed the last Ice Age, and particularly the past two thousand years. This period contains several warmer and colder phases, being still similar the our current climate. Therefore, the lessons learned from the analysis of this period are more easily transferable to the present climate and the climate of the next decades.