The impact of climate change on landscapes | Future making in the Anthropocene Podcast

Terranova researcher Frank Arthur and Hans Renssen, professor on climate change

The fifth episode of the ‘Future Making in the Anthropocene’-podcast covers the impact of climate change on landscapes. We are experiencing the devastating effects of the warming of the planet: forest fires, floods and heavy storms. They impact our lives and affect natural habitats. Computer models help to understand climate change and provide information on the future. But those models will not be able to halt current trends: Is humankind ready to act?

“If you want to project what will happen to our climate in the future, you have to look back into history”, states Frank Arthur. Arthur is a researcher in the Terranova program, working at the University of South-eastern Norway. Arthur has simulated the climate of the past 11,500 years in different European regions in a high-resolution model. Such models are essential in simulating climate patterns and can help to project trends into the future. 

To create an accurate climate model, meteorological data is combined with archaeological archives, retrieved from archaeological sites such as glaciers, ice cores, sediment layers and lakes. This historical data is fed into the models to simulate what happened many ages ago. This method makes it possible to develop models with a higher resolution, that deliver more accurate data than their predecessors. “In order to increase accuracy, we need to add more climate models with high resolution into the system, adding to the ones that exist already. The next step is to use these models to project into the future”, says Arthur.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) traces and interprets climate change on a global level. Their reports provide insights into the far-reaching consequences of climate change on our planet. Hans Renssen, professor on Climate Change and supervisor of Arthurs’ research, isn’t convinced that governments are taking adequate measures to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. However, both Renssen and Arthur are persevering in their long-term endeavour to spread knowledge on climate change to policymakers, among others. In the podcast, they explain how their research contributes to the huge task humankind is facing.

Show notes

  • Arthur, F., Roche, D. M., Fyfe, R., Quiquet, A., and Renssen, H.: Simulations of the Holocene climate in Europe using an interactive downscaling within the iLOVECLIM model (version 1.1), published in: Clim. Past, 19, 87–106
  • According to the IPCC Synthesis-report, published in March 2023, it is only possible to avoid warming of 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) or 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) if massive and immediate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are made.
  • Contact Frank Arthur by e-mail 
  • Contact Hans Renssen by e-mail