The 5th International PalaeoArc Conference and the Bolin Centre RT1-RT3 workshop at KVA

The 5th International PalaeoArc Conference was organized at Stockholm University, The Swedish Museum of Natural History and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences over three days (Monday May 27–Wednesday May 29). It attracted 103 scientists (28% early career) from 17 countries, mainly from Europe but also North America and Asia. The conference was organized by staff from the Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University and The Natural History Museum. The conference was co-sponsored by the Bolin Centre Research Theme 3 “Past Climates” as well as Arctic Avenue, a spearhead Arctic research collaboration between the University of Helsinki and Stockholm University.

As outlined in the description of the PalaeoArc international network research programme, the 85 presentations (55 oral, 30 poster) covered a wide range of topics, spanning present-day processes in the Arctic to environmental and climatic changes over past centuries to millions of years. The conference had an excellent balance of marine and terrestrial scientists including archaeologists, facilitating  the open exchange and intergation of different perspectives on past and present Arctic climate change. 18 local students and scientists presented their research at PaleoArc. A notable sub-theme of this years meeting was on last interglacial climates of the Arctic, with considerable dialogue in the community about the interpretation of marine proxies for past sea ice conditions, and the basic geochronological tools used to identify and date past interglacial sediments. Two breakthrough papers led by Bolin Centre scientists are at the center of this discussion and including new evidence for a seasonally ice-free Arctic in the Last Interglacial (Vermassen et al. 2023) and a revised Quaternary biochronology for Arctic Ocean sediments (Razmjooei et al. 2023).  The full PalaeoArc program book can be found online.

Opening of the 5th PalaeoArc conference at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm. Photo: Frederik Schenk

The last day of the PalaeoArc conference was hosted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and merged with the beginning of an international Bolin Centre RT1-RT3 workshop on Spatial Patterns of Last Interglacial Arctic climate change (LIGA) that brought together climate modellers and geoscientists and continued at the Geoscience building of Stockholm University for the rest of the week.

Group photo on the stairs of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Photo by KVA
The best poster award was given to Kelsey N Moreland, PhD student at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, Stockholm University. Photo: Matt O’Regan
The best early career presentation award was given to Chung Yan (Crystal) Fu, master student from the Department of Geography, Cambridge University, UK. Photo: Matt O’Regan
Conference dinner at Sjöfartshuset, Skeppsbrön on Gamla stan (old town), Stockholm. Photo: Frederik Schenk

A pre-conference excursion, let by Prof. Alasdair Skelton from Stockholm University, took place on the Island Utö south of Stockholm. It focused on deep time geological processes almost 2 billion years ago where first signs of life are recorded in the bedrock. In the same time, the island is only ~5000 years old when it emerged out of the Baltic Sea due to significant ongoing glaciotectonic uplift. A massive metre-sized fault through the island, indicative of a substantial earthquake, served as a reminder of ongoing postglacial tectonics in Scandinavia. Finally, Utö is also the place where the chemical element Lithium was first discovered in 1800 which is today driving the green energy transition.

Pre-conference excursion on the Island Utö in the outer archipelago southeast of Stockholm. Photo: Frederik Schenk

On behalf of the organizing team and institutions, we want to thank all participants and co-organizers for excellent presentations and lively discussions on and off the stage. We hope to see many of you next year again for the 6th PalaeoArc conference in Tromsø, Norway, June 2–6, 2025.

Frederik Schenk on behalf of Bolin Centre RT3 co-leaders

Matt O’Regan on behalf of PalaeoArc and local organizing team