Future research priorities

Ice cores are extremely valuable palaeoenvir-onmental archives, and it seems unlikely that their potential has been exploited fully, as far as both precision and resolution are concerned. The future challenge will be to measure the full range of proxy environmental information stored in ice cores. New ice cores should therefore be obtained in order to validate existing ice-core data. Hopefully, new ice cores from Greenland will penetrate in situ Eemian ice.

Differences in magnitude and timing of Late Glacial and Holocene ice advances have the potential to establish climatic gradients and circulation patterns and provide information about underlying climatic factors. Glacial and climate reconstructions in NW Europe are particularly important in this respect because it is possible to record changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns in the North Atlantic region. Controls on Late-Glacial deglaciation and the following Holocene period merit further study. So far, there has been a tendency to produce regional correlations of glacier and climate variations. The data compilation presented here, however, demonstrates significant intraregional differences in climate (temperature/ precipitation) and glacier response. Future research should therefore focus on establishing representative, multidisciplinary, well-dated records from individual glaciers to study similarities and dissimilarities in glacier response to topographical and climatic parameters (e.g. summer temperature, winter precipitation, wind direction, glacier aspect, radiation). Radiocarbon dates should be given in calendar years in order to study rates of change and rates of sediment accumulation/ deposition.

Two particular problems remain to be solved in the context of how various components interact to cause climate change, and how the linkages function between different components in the ocean-atmosphere-terrestrial system. The first is to distinguish between cause and effect, and the second is to establish the precise order of events. Progress will come in both of these important areas as research is further refined (improved dating, better correlations and strati-graphic resolution). Establishment of more multidisiplinary research teams to synthesize proxy data from a range of sources may allow us to come closer to a solution of the complex linkages between the different components of the ocean-atmosphere-terrestrial systems in the past, at present, and in the future.

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