Processes and Palaeo–Environmental Changes in the Arctic: From Past to Present (PalaeoArc)

PalaeoArc is an international network research programme. The scientific goal of this six-year programme is to understand and explain the climatically-induced environmental changes in the Arctic that have taken place throughout the Quaternary and continue in the present-day. There are four major themes to the programme: 1) the dynamics of Arctic ice sheets, ice shelves and glaciers; 2) the dynamics of high latitude oceans and sea ice; 3) the dynamics of the terrestrial environment and landscape evolution; and 4), the climatic response to, and interaction between, these different parts of the Arctic system. A further underlying rationale for PalaeoArc is that knowledge of past environmental processes and change in the Arctic are key to understanding the present and future of the Arctic, and vice versa

As a research network, PalaeoArc strives to bring together and build bridges between scientists from different countries and career stages, and from different disciplines in Arctic science. This includes marine and terrestrial researchers, working either with field data on numerical modelling approaches.  

PalaeoArc builds on and extends the legacy of previous network programmes that include PAST Gateways (Palaeo-Arctic Spatial and Temporal Gateways), APEX (Arctic Palaeoclimate and its Extremes), QUEEN (Quaternary Environment of the Eurasian North) and PONAM (Polar North Atlantic Margins – Late Cenozoic Evolution). A key focus of the network’s activities is an annual international conference that brings together Arctic scientists from a number of disciplines and typically includes an excursion. The network is led by an international Steering Committee representing nine different countries. 

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Steering committee members:

Anne Jennings
INSTAAR, University of Colorado

Anne Jennings is a Research Scientist III and Fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. Her research is on Arctic paleoclimate and paleoceanography, ice-sheet/ocean interactions especially on the Greenland margins and in the Canadian Arctic.   

Astrid Lyså (Chair)

Astrid Lyså is senior research scientist at the Quaternary geology group, Geological Survey of Norway. She is a glacial geologist working with glacial history and landscape development in the Arctic and glacial processes mainly in the terrestrial environment. Current research includes glacial history and environmental changes in mainland Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen.

Caterina Morigi 
University of Pisa

Caterina Morigi is Associate Professor of Stratigraphy and Sedimentology at University of Pisa and Adjunct Senior Researcher at the Stratigraphy Department of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. She is a marine geologist interested in climate and ocean changes in Arctic, Antarctic and subarctic environments, with a focus on micropaleontology (foraminifera). Current research deals with sedimentary records from the late Cenozoic to the last thousand years, with special attention to short-time climate variability.

Chris Stokes
Durham University

Chris Stokes is a Professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University. His research is focussed on glaciers, and ranges from the monitoring of small mountain glaciers over the last few decades to large-scale reconstructions of ice sheets over tens of thousands of years. A common theme of much of his work is the use of remote sensing (e.g. satellite imagery), which allows repeat monitoring of changes in present-day glaciers and provides an efficient means to visualise and investigate the landforms left behind by former ice sheets. 

Ívar Örn Benediktsson
University of Iceland

Ívar Örn Benediktsson is a research scientist and adjunct professor in Quaternary and glacial geology at the University of Iceland with a main focus on the dynamics and geological fingerprints of fast-flowing glaciers, as well as on glacier and ice sheet reconstructions. Current and recent research areas are Iceland, Sweden and Siberia.

Juliane Müller
Alfred Wegner Institute

Juliane Müller is currently leading a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany. She is a marine geoscientist with a strong background in paleoenvironmental reconstructions using biomarker lipids. Her major focusis on seaice reconstructions. 

Laura Bronzo

University of Pisa, Italy

Laura Bronzo is a Phd student at the University of Pisa. Laura’s main interests are micropaleontology and marine microplastics. For her PhD project she collaborates with the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), and the National Institute of Oceanography and Sperimental Geophysics (INOGS), Italy. She is currently studying the marine calcareous nannofossil record of the last twenty thousand years of the Mediterranean and Arctic regions

Matt O’Regan
Stockholm University

Matt O’Regan is a Research Scientist at the Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, who specializes in the marine geology and paleoceanography of the Arctic Ocean. His research aims at deciphering the Quaternary glacial history of the Arctic Ocean using marine sediment cores and geophysical data; analysing sedimentary records to understand the development and variability of sea ice in the geologic past; and deciphering how key tectonic events associated with the development of the Arctic Ocean are related to palaeoceanographic changes in the basin.

Monica Winsborrow
UiT– The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø

Monica Winsborrow is a researcher at the University of Tromsø, and has a primary research interest is the reconstruction of past ice sheets, working to understand the processes and mechanisms that control their evolution and dynamics, and examining their environmental impacts. She is also the assistant director of the Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE).  

Nicolaj Krog Larsen
Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen

Nicolaj Krog Larsen is a professor of terrestrial Quaternary geology at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His research is focused on the Arctic ice- and climate history, glacial geomorphology and sedimentology, and Quaternary geology and stratigraphy in Fennoscandia.

Pertti Sarala
University of Oulu

Pertti Sarala is professor in geochemical exploration, which is a joint post of the Geological Survey of Finland and the Oulu Mining School. His research interests are in surficial geology and geochemistry in mineral exploration as well as in applied Quaternary geology and geochronology in glaciated terrain. His projects focus on advanced, low-impact geochemical exploration techniques for diminishing traces to the environment in the northern regions.

Witold Szczuciński
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan

Dr hab. Witold Szczuciński is employed as a professor in Institute of Geology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. His professional specialty covers sedimentology, geochemistry, and natural hazards, and my major scientific interests include quantitative studies of contemporary sedimentation processes, sedimentary record, and impacts of natural disasters (tsunami, meteorite impacts, floods, storms, glacier surges, landslides), applications of radioisotopes: 210Pb and 137Cs, and application of ancient DNA in geological studies. He conducts studies on land as well as offshore and his major study areas include Svalbard, Greenland, South China Sea, Andaman Sea, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Baltic Sea, Poland, Atlantic Ocean, and Antarctica.



6th International PalaeoArc Conference
June 2 – 6, 2025
Tromsø, Norway


Poster meeting


5th International PalaeoArc Conference
May 27 – 29, 2024
Stockholm, Sweden


4th International PalaeoArc Conference
August 27-30, 2023
Akureyri, Iceland


3rd International PalaeoArc Conference
August 23-26, 2023
Rovaniemi, Finland


2nd International PalaeoArc International Conference
24-28 May 2021
Pisa, Italy (hosted on line)


1st PalaeoArc International Conference
20-24 May, 2019
Pozńan, Poland

Download the abstract volume and guide


Download abstract volumes from PASTGateway Meetings by clicking on the links below.

Durham, UK 2018

Kristineberg, Sweden 2017

Trondheim, Norway 2016

Potsdam, Germany 2015

Trieste, Italy 2014

St. Petersburg, Russia 2013


Polar North Atlantic Margins – Late Cenozoic Evolution
(PONAM; 1989-1994)

PONAM was a European Science Foundation (ESF) “Associated Programme”, but was run as a large research project. The main research theme was the development of the climate and ice sheets through the last interglacial-glacial cycle, but the development on longer time scales and the present interglacial conditions were also studied. It was an overarching goal that marine and terrestrial scientists should work closely together.  

PONAM was originally proposed by Anders Elverhøi (Univ. of Oslo) who also was the project leader. The steering committee consisted of J. A. Dowdeswell (UK), M. Fratta (ESF), S. Funder (Denmark), J. Mangerud (Norway), D. Futterer (1989-92) and R. Stein (1992-94) (Germany). Some of the advisory committee consisting of G. S. Boulton, J.-P. Henriet, C. Hjort, A. Juillet.Leclerc, H.C. Larsen, J. Thiede and T.O. Vorren met regularly with the steering committee. The funding, obtained from a number of sources, is estimated to about 7 million Euros. A minor funding of about 0.2 mill Euros from ESF was crucial because it covered regular steering committee meetings and annual meetings for all participants, including Ph.D. and Master students, securing focus on the main problems and close co-operation between scientists from different fields and countries. 

PONAM scientists published more than 200 papers in international journals, including four special volumes; the last consisted of 10 multi-authored synthesis papers (Quaternary Science Reviews 17, 1998). Some 25 Ph.D. and 36 Master theses were completed within the project. 

Quaternary Environment of the Eurasian North
(QUEEN; 1996-2002)

Almost all participants in PONAM were very happy with the project and during the last meetings of PONAM a new project was discussed. Most western scientists knew very little about Arctic Russia, including the shelf and the Arctic Ocean to the north and it was decided to establish a project parallel to PONAM, but now studying environmental changes over the two last glacial cycles from continental Arctic Russia to the Arctic Ocean. 

Jörn Thiede (Germany) was project leader and the steering committee consisted of V. Astakhov (Russia), H. Bauch (Germany), D.Y. Bolshiyanov (Russia), J.A. Dowdeswell (UK), S. Funder (Denmark), C. Hjort (Sweden), V.M. Kotlyakov (Russia), J. Mangerud (Norway), S.M. Pryamikov (Russia), M. Saarnisto (Finland) and C. Schlüchter (Switzerland). Similar to PONAM a funding from ESF allowed regular steering committee meetings and an annual meeting for all participants, which were extremely important for the co-operation. This time an EU-project, Ice Sheets and Climate in the Eurasian Arctic at the Last Glacial Maximum (Eurasian Ice Sheets, 1998-2000), co-ordinated by J.I. Svendsen, funded a major part of the land work. Otherwise, there were funding from several sources. 

A large number of papers were published from QUEEN, including four special volumes in international journals, the last contained 11 multi-authored synthesis papers (Quaternary Science Reviews 23, No. 11-13, 2004). 


Arctic Palaeoclimate and its Extremes (APEX; 2004-2012 

The QUEEN closing meeting was held in October 2004 in Brofede, Denmark. One of the main goals with the closing meeting was for the QUEEN Steering Committee to appoint a group of younger scientists and give them the task of forming a new continuation project. Martin Jakobsson (Sweden) was assigned to chair the group that consisted of Igor Demidov (Russia), Ólafur Ingólfson (Iceland), Kurt Kjær (Denmark), Gerhard Krinner (France), Antony Long (UK), Juha Pekka Lunkka (Finland), Robert Spielhagen (Germany), and John Inge Svendsen (Norway). After a brain storming session during the Brofelde meeting the appointed group came up with the idea of forming a project that would aim to  better understand the magnitude and frequency of past Arctic climate variability, especially the “extremes” versus the “normal” conditions of the climate system. The Arctic Palaeoclimate and Its Extremes (APEX) program was initiated. An important aspect of APEX was the emphasis on the integration of marine and terrestrial science as well as modelling and field observations. APEX received formal endorsement by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and ended up involving scientists from 15 European countries, Canada, Russia and USA and became one of the coordinating programmes for palaeoclimate research during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008. The APEX Steering Group was expanded with four more members by including Dmitry Subetto (Russia), Thijs van Kolfschoten (The Netherlands), Brenda Hall (USA) and Claus Andreasen (Greenland).  

A kick-off meeting held at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm 2007 began a series of yearly APEX meetings; Copenhagen (Denmark) 2008, Durham (UK) 2009, Höfn (Iceland) 2010, Longyearbyen (Svalbard) 2011, and Oulanka (Finland) 2012.  Three Special APEX volumes were published:  

Polar Research, 2008, vol 27: Introduction + 13 multi authored papers. 

Quaternary Science Reviews, 2010, vol 29, issues 25-26: Introduction + 22 multi authored papers. 

Quaternary Science Reviews, 2014, 92, Introduction + 29 multi authored papers.