Northern Hemisphere INTIMATE news

10th International INTIMATE workshop


The 10th International INTIMATE workshop will be held in Oxford from September 19-22, 2008. During the workshop in Oxford, September 2008, we intend to set out the lines for the coming years. Above this, we will focus on high precision correlation of records spanning the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT), expansion of the chronological focus and geographical coverage of INTIMATE, as well as new methodologies.

Pre-registration is now open, For more information follow the link to the workshop web-site here.


INTIMATE session at EGU General Assembly Vienna 2008


INTIMATE has organised a symposium and poster session during the EGU in Vienna on Tuesday April 13. The abstracts of the oral and poster contributions can be seen here.


Quaternary Science Reviews special issue on INTIMATE: refining the record of the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition.


This special issue contains a selection of papers presented during the 8th INTIMATE workshop on Iceland. The Quaternary Science Reviews INTIMATE special issue is now available on open access, follow the link here.


Quaternary Science Reviews special issue on Early Holocene Climate Oscillations


Closely related to the work of INTIMATE is the publication of a Special Issue on Early Holocene Climate Oscillations: Based on a workshop on Early Holocene Climate Oscillations – causes and consequences sponsored by the  Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Amsterdam, April 2005.  

The special issue edited by Hoek,W.Z. and J.A.A.Bos, contains a series of papers presenting recent developments with respect to Early Holocene climate oscillations and can be found on the QSR web-site.  


9th International INTIMATE workshop


During the XVIIth congress in Cairns Australia, INTIMATE held its 9th international workshop with participants from both hemispheres.


8th International INTIMATE workshop


The 8th North Atlantic INTIMATE Workshop was held from September 10-14, 2005 in Iceland. Our local organiser, Jón Eiríksson (along with Arny Sveinbjornsdottir, Olafur Ingolfsson, and Sigfus Johnsen) arranged a fantastic workshop venue in Hotel Höfðabrekka in Vik, near Myrdalsjokull, 200 km east of Reykjavik. During the excursion on September 10th, lead by Jon Eiriksson, Olafur Ingolfson and Gudrum Larsen, we experienced sunny weather (as usual) and visited some Icelandic highlights as well as the volcanic and glaciated terrain on our way to Vik. The workshop was attended by 28 participants from 8 different countries, representing the ice-core, marine, terrestrial, tephra, 14C-dating  tree-ring and climate modelling community. One of the outcomes of the meeting is a Special Paper and Special Issue containing a selection of the papers presented during the workshop. 

The proceedings (programme and abstracts) can be downloaded here (pdf). 

Gerard Bond, member of our INTIMATE Steering Group, passed away on Wednesday June 29, 2005. He was active within INTIMATE since the very start of the project and joined several of our workshops. We always enjoyed his active participation, scientific attitude and humour. It is a big loss for the palaeoclimate community and especially for his family and friends.

Recent developments


The North Atlantic INTIMATE workshop held in the Eifel region, Germany (September 2004) provided the opportunity to review the progression that has been made during the 1999-2003 inter-congress period. Attention was given to refining the remit and specific objectives of the North Atlantic INTIMATE group for the 2003-2007 inter-congress period. The participation of an executive member of the Australasian INTIMATE project (Rewi Newnham) stimulated the discussions about harmonising the aims of the different regional groups and resulted in the extension of the time-scale backward into the Last Glacial and forward into the Holocene. The workshop further provided the opportunity to identify the specific aims of subsequent workshops to be held within the present inter-congress period.

Based on our present knowledge, it is now timely to develop a systematic approach for unravelling the mechanisms associated with the abrupt climate changes recorded in the ice-core, marine and terrestrial realms. Overall aims of the North Atlantic INTIMATE project are:

(a)    explore the potentials of different time-stratigraphic marker horizons in ice-core, marine, and terrestrial records;

(b)   reduce the uncertainties in timing of events for the different environments, (e.g. spatial and temporal differences in marine reservoir ages);

(c)    determine spatial patterns of events and gradients the North Atlantic region;

(d)   compare the results from the North Atlantic spatial and temporal reconstructions with palaeoclimate model results;

(e)    to examine the (global) correlation of abrupt climatic events over a longer time period (30-8 ka BP).


For the 2003-2007 inter-congress period a series of regular workshops has been planned. During the first North Atlantic INTIMATE workshop in the Eifel region, Germany, held in September 15-18, 2004, new developments were presented and plans were made for future meetings and the associated research agenda. This workshop, and associated excursion to the Eifel Volcanic Field and the type locality of the Laacher See Tephra was hosted by Thomas Litt (Friedrich-Wilhelms University, Bonn) and attended by 38 participants from 12 different countries.

Based on the discussions held during the 2004 North Atlantic INTIMATE workshop in the Eifel region, the following research topics have been adopted for the project:


Correlation of high resolution records from the North Atlantic region

The new INTCAL04 calibration dataset (Reimer et al. Radiocarbon 2004) will allow for more detailed and precise correlation of different datasets up to 26 ka cal. BP. Detailed analysis may reveal spatial and temporal patterns in reservoir ages in the North Atlantic. Participation of dating specialists within the project favours the interpretation of time-stratigraphic correlations. For the construction of a common time-scale, guidance notes based on the correlation protocol (Lowe et al. 2001) will be applied and, if necessary, this protocol will be extended. The application of tephrostratigraphy for correlations, chronologies and regional syntheses will undoubtedly improve the results of the correlation exercises. The new results from the NGRIP ice-core record, and especially the newly obtained annual time-scale, will become available within the next year and may serve as a template for correlation.


Extending the time span for the North Atlantic INTIMATE project

The extension of the time span for the North Atlantic INTIMATE project further back to about 30 ka and into the Holocene up to 8.2 ka cooling event permits the comparison with the results from the Australasian INTIMATE project where deglaciation appear to have started several thousand of years earlier than in the North Atlantic. Covering the last glacial period would allow to address some globally significant questions, such as the nature and timing of last glacial maximum and Heinrich events. It has become a necessity in INTIMATE research to continue the record and discussion into the Holocene, where abrupt climate changes occurred, presumably as a result of changes in Atlantic Ocean circulation. The Early Holocene with its abrupt climate oscillations (recorded round e.g. 11.2 and 8.2 ka cal. BP) forms the transition to the relatively stable Interglacial conditions.


Synthesis of palaeorecords for INQUA Cairns 2007

In conjunction with the Australasian INTIMATE initiative, a synthesis of key records from the Ice core, marine and terrestrial realms for the last 30,000 years will be constructed. The compilation of records will be presented on a common timescale and will serve for comparison with other regional INTIMATE groups. For the North Atlantic region, a series of time-slice map for the main events over the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition will be made. The reconstructed climate patterns will be compared with simulation results from palaeoclimate modelling for the North Atlantic region.


Planned workshop meetings:

·        The next North Atlantic Intimate workshop will be held mid-September 2005 on Iceland (convened by Jon Eiriksson and colleagues) with the main focus on the correlation of palaeoclimate records using tephrochonology and the new INTCAL04 calibration dataset. In this meeting we will, furthermore, make a start with the construction of event maps for the North Atlantic and identification of the 30-8 ka key records in our region.

·        In 2006 we have planned to organise a workshop meeting in the USA on the western Atlantic Seaboard. In this meeting we hope to attract a good representation of scientists from the USA and Canada.

·        In 2007 INTIMATE will present its major results during the anticipated North Atlantic INTIMATE Symposium session at INQUA Cairns. A joint workshop meeting with members from the different regional INTIMATE initiatives may lead to joint publication of a global overview of climate events during the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition.

Beside the official INTIMATE workshop meetings, regular meetings will be attended by key persons of INTIMATE where participation in the work of INTIMATE will be stimulated. Examples of these meetings for which independent funding has been awarded are:

·        European Science Foundation (ESF) workshop on European tephrochronology convened by Siwan Davies and Stefan Wastegard, to be held in Swansea, April 2005.

·        Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW) Workshop on Early Holocene Climate Oscillations convened by Hanneke Bos, Sjoerd Bohncke & Wim Hoek, to be held in Amsterdam, April 2005. 

Joint SCOTAV-INTIMATE publication:

Turney, C.S.M., Lowe, J.J., Davies, S.M., Hall, V., Lowe, D.J., Wastegard, S., Hoek, W.Z., Alloway, B., SCOTAV & INTIMATE Members 2004. Tephrochronology of Last Termination Sequences in Europe: a protocol for improved analytical precision and robust correlation procedures (a joint SCOTAV-INTIMATE proposal). Journal of Quaternary Science 19, 111-120.


The Commission for Tephrochronology and Volcanism announce a 'virtual' workshop on practical techniques for detecting, extracting and geochemically analysing microscopic volcanic glass. The workshop is a new initiative for the Commission as it will be presented via the Internet. It will be of particular interest to COTAV members and will also be freely available to members of all INQUA Commissions, including INTIMATE. From 15th April 2002, by simply logging on to the COTAV website (, members will have access to activities which will detail the value of using microscopic tephras for correlative purposes. Practical demonstrations on detecting, extracting and geochemically-analysing minute quantities of volcanic glass will be available and a case history describing the value of the microscopic tephra to the Quaternary scientist will be presented. Particular attention will be given to techniques used when performing Electron Microprobe single-tephra shard analyses. To support the Commission's international membership, the presentations will be made in English with Chinese and Italian text available at the time of the workshop or soon thereafter. Interactive sessions when Commission members may contact fellow  scientists for discussions will comprise a further aspect of the workshop.  No registration is necessary.

INTIMATE publications

  • September 2001: Global and Planetary Change Special Issue 30 (1-2): “The last deglaciation: climate modeling and data analysis”, edited by J. Vandenberghe, H. Rensen and R.F.B. Isarin. This GPC special issue contains a number of contributions by INTIMATE members.   
  • May 2001: The INTIMATE Special Issue based on the papers presented during INQUA Durban 1999 appeared in Quaternary Science Reviews 20(11). This issue contains the following contributions:
    • M.J.C. Walker, S. Björck and J.J. Lowe Integration of ice core, marine and terrestrial records (INTIMATE) from around the North Atlantic region: - an introduction
    • J. John Lowe, Wim Z. Hoek and INTIMATE group Inter-regional correlation of palaeoclimatic records for the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition: a protocol for improved precision recommended by the INTIMATE project group
    • Gerard C. Bond, Charles Mandeville and Sharon Hoffmann Were rhyolitic glasses in the Vedde Ash and in the North Atlantic's Ash Zone 1 produced by the same volcanic eruption?
    • A. Asioli et al. Sub-millennial scale climatic oscillations in the central Adriatic during the Lateglacial: palaeoceanographic implications
    • Michael Friedrich et al. High-resolution climate signals in the Bølling-Allerød Interstadial (Greenland Interstadial 1) as reflected in European tree-ring chronologies compared to marine varves and ice-core records
    • Thomas Litt et al. Correlation and synchronisation of Lateglacial continental sequences in northern central Europe based on annually laminated lacustrine sediments
    • W.Z. Hoek and S.J.P. Bohncke Oxygen-isotope wiggle matching as a tool for synchronising ice-core and terrestrial records over Termination 1
    • Les C. Cwynar and Ray W. Spear Lateglacial climate change in the White Mountains of New Hampshire