Circumpolar Arctic PaleoEnvironments

Welcome to the CAPE Home Page!

CAPE 1997 Meeting in Lammi, Finland

CAPE 2000 Meeting in Iceland

CAPE 2002 Meeting, Coastal Maine, USA


Prediction of environmental change is one of the greatest challenges to humankind, a challenge that must be addressed by the scientific community. Although the Arctic covers only a modest fraction of the planet, it includes many of the most sensitive elements of the planetary system likely to change in the coming decades and centuries. Even environmental changes restricted to the Arctic may, via strong feedbacks, lead to large impacts outside the Arctic region. High latitude climates determine, in part, pole to equator energy balances that in turn govern atmospheric circulation patterns. Developing a predictive understanding of the Arctic system therefore has a high priority in the context of Global Change, to understand both the causes and the consequences of global climate change.

The record of past environmental change defines the limits of natural variability of the climate system, and when combined with ongoing refinements of general circulation models, may provide the basis for a predictive capability of future changes in our environment. Regional reconstructions of paleoenvironmental change in the Arctic are currently the focus of several international and national research programs. However, to reach an understanding of the role of the Arctic in the global climate system necessitates a circum - arctic approach. To achieve such hemispheric syntheses requires international collaboration.

CAPE is proposed as an organization within IGBP-PAGES to provide the vehicle through which international and national Arctic paleo-programs can be linked. The primary emphasis of CAPE is to facilitate scientific integration of paleoenvironmental research on terrestrial environments and adjacent margins covering the last 250,000 years of Earth history, particularly those tasks that cannot easily be achieved by individual investigators or even regionally focused research teams. Circumpolar syntheses of environmental reconstructions for specific time slices or key time series will be accomplished through focused international meetings that are intended to bring together the primary data and modeling communities.

CAPE will be led by a 10 t0 15 person Steering Committee representing a balance of national and disciplinary interests, from which a smaller Executive Committee will be chosen to attend to practical aspects of the organization. The Steering Committee will be charged with establishing short and long term objectives, and an Organizing Committee for biannual CAPE meetings.


Pages by Mathieu Duvall, PARCS Data Coordinator (mduvall@bates.edu)