Continental climate variability in Belgium: future projections inferred from past Interglacial climate reconstructions from Belgian speleothems

Project Details


The objective is to reconstruct continental paleoclimates at high-resolution (annual to seasonal) for the Last Interglacial period (130 000 to ~114 000 years ago) and its transition to glacial condition, using geochemical signals recorded in stalagmites collected from caves in Southern Belgium. Stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon,together with trace element concentrations will be measured at high resolution in the calcite of the layered stalagmites. In temperate zones, delta18O is related to precipitation amount and temperature, while delta13C characterizes soil activity and vegetation. The major advantages of working with stalagmites are that they constitute one of the few archives that make it possible to reconstruct continental paleoclimates and second that they can be dated very precisely using the U-Th isotopic system. The obtained Interglacial data will then be compared with existing Holocene records and similar data recovered from speleothems covering the two Interglacial periods before the Last Interglacial. The goal is that the interpretation of these data will give a better insight in the climate evolution and variability during warm intervals over the last 350 ka. The knowledge acquired during this PhD study will contribute to a better understanding of ongoing climate changes, and be used to calibrate current climate models.
Effective start/end date1/01/1531/12/15

Flemish discipline codes

  • Mathematical sciences
  • Earth sciences
  • Chemical sciences


  • Interglacial periods
  • Chemistry
  • Paleoclimate
  • Speleothem
  • Continental climates
  • Stable isotopes
  • BelQua Annual Workshop

    Stef Vansteenberge (Participant)
    4 Mar 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference