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No longer at LDEO: 
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
205 Geoscience
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8749
(845) 365-8150


Fields of interest: 
Paleoclimate, Paleo Hydrology, Paleoceanography, Climate Modelling, Geo-chronologies

My research interests cover a broad spectrum of topics surrounding past climate dynamics. I am particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms behind rapid transitions in the climate system to create predictability for future climate change. A critical issue is to better comprehend the exact sequence of events occurring across rapid climate shifts of the past in order to discern cause-effect relationships between the different components of the global climate system (atmosphere, oceans, ice sheets and the carbon cycle).   

My research mostly involves the use of paleo-climate records from marine and lake sediment cores using a variety of inorganic and organic geochemical proxies, with a special focus on stable isotopic tracers. These proxies provide powerful tools to reconstruct changes in ocean circulation, and regional shifts in precipitation and atmospheric circulation patterns.

Further important aspects of my work involve developing robust chronologies for paleo-climate archives to better integrate climate data from marine and terrestrial records, as well as evaluating physical models in relation to past climate scenarios.

Current research projects are outlined below.


Main current projects

A novel approach to reconstruct multi-decadal variability of North Atlantic 14C reservoir ages during the last deglaciation. By synchronizing deglacial marine proxies from the Norwegian Sea to terrestrial hydro-climate records from southern Scandinavia, the project has the overarching goal of building more accurate and precise atmospheric-based 14C chronologies for marine records located on the Atlantic inflow to the Nordic Seas in a crucial deep-water formation region. The project involves the construction of a regional high-resolution surface- and bottom-water 14C ocean ventilation record. By combining the 14C data with lipid biomarker reconstructions of water-column productivity, the records will help to better resolve the timing of changes in North Atlantic thermo-haline circulation and biological carbon sequestration relative to the climate and atmospheric CO2 shifts observed in ice-core records during the last deglaciation. 

Quantifying North European Climate Transitions during the last deglaciation. The project aims to provide better insights into mechanisms and extent of abrupt climate changes in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic during the last deglaciation. In this matter, I focus on the isotopic composition of lipid biomarkers (δD) from lake sediment records in order to quantify hydrological changes across the rapid climatic and environmental shifts that punctuated this critical period.

Investigating the response of past ice sheets to volcanic forcing. The project focuses on the geochemical analysis of annual glacial clay-varve records deposited proximal to the former Fennoscandian Ice Sheet to reconstruct melting rates and investigate the sensitivity of past ice sheets to volcanic forcing during the last deglaciation. The varve records are underpinned by exceptionally well-constrained and annually resolved chronologies that – through the identification of common volcanic horizons – allow synchronization to Greenland ice-core records. The synchronization enables for the first time comparison of ice-core records of volcanism to glacial varves recording the melting history of a paleo-ice sheet. By combining glacial varve proxy records and climate model simulations, this research aims at identifying the potential role of volcanism on changes in mass and surface energy balance of ice sheets during the last deglaciation.

Response of the climate system to the rapid desertification of the Sahara during the mid Holocene. The scope of this project is to better understand the large-scale response of the climate system to changes in vegetation cover in the Sahara and Sahel regions across the enigmatic mid-Holocene climate transition. By combining proxy reconstructions and output from Earth System climate models, we investigate non-linear features and sensitivity of regional atmospheric modes of circulation (NAO, ENSO) in response to the rapid termination of the African Humid Period.


Other projects


Global and regional marine 14C variations during Marine Isotope Stage 3 

Routing of meltwater from the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet at the onset of the Younger Dryas 

Linking past solar activity variations and depositional processes in Finnish boreal lakes




In preparation

Muschitiello, F., D'Andrea, W. J., Dokken, T., Schmittner, A., Welten, K., Heaton, T. J. The role of North Atlantic Ocean circulation on atmospheric CO2 changes during the last deglaciation. In preparation

Simon, M. H., Muschitiello, F., Dokken, T., Sadatzki, H., Hajdas, I., Jansen, E. Ocean ventilation changes in the Nordic Seas during MIS 3- Insights into the mechanisms of Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles. In preparation

O'Regan, M., Coxall, H., Hill, P., Hilton, R., Muschitiello, F., Swärd, H., Blasco, S. Early Holocene sea-level in the Canadian Beaufort Sea constrained by radiocarbon dates from a deep borehole in the Mackenzie Trough. In preparation


Submitted, under review, under revision

Wohlfarth, B., Luoto, T., Muschitiello, F., Väliranta, M., Björck, S., Siwan, D., Kylandeer, M., Ljung, K., Reimer, P., Smittenberg, R. Climate and environment in southwest Sweden 15.3 - 11.3 cal. ka BP. Under Review, Boreas

Sadatzki, H., Berben, S. M. P., Muschitiello, F., Dokken, T. M., Stein, R., Fahl, K., Jansen, E. Sea ice control of abrupt Greenland climate change over Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles. Under Review, Nature Geoscience

Ahmed, E., Agren, R., Unneberg, P., Schenk, F., Rattray, J., Han, L., Yamoah, A., Muschitiello, F., Pedersen, M., Smittenberg, R., Parducci, L., Slotte, T., Wohlfarth., B. Archaeal community successions in Lateglacial lake sediments: Implications for paleo-climate change. Under Review, Quaternary Science Reviews

Schenk, F., Väliranta, M., Muschitiello, F., Tarasov, L., Heikkilä, M., Brandefelt, J., Johannson, A., Näslund, J., Wohlfarth, B. Warm summers during the Younger Dryas cold reversal. Under ReviewNature Geoscience

Muschitiello, F., Pausata, F.S.R., Wohlfarth, B., Impact of volcanic aerosol on Scandinavian Ice Sheet melting during the Last Termination. Under ReviewNature Communications

Rattray, J.E, Iñiguez Pacheco, E., Afrifa, Y.K.K., Muschitiello, F., Sawicka, J.E., Brüchert, V., Smittenberg, R.H. A Reverse Phase Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Method for the Analysis of Glycerol Dialkyl Glycerol Tetraethers. Under revision, Organic Geochemistry



15 - Pausata, F.S.R., Zhang, Q., Muschitiello, F., Lu, Z., Chafik, L., Niedermeyer, E., Stager, J.C., and Liu, Z., 2017.  Green Sahara suppressing ENSO variability in the Mid Holocene. Nature Communications 8, 16020, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms16020 

14 - Miller, C.M., Dickens, G.R., Jakobsson, M., Johansson, C., Koshurnikov, A., O’Regan, Muschitiello, F., Stranne, C., Mörth, C-M., 2017. Low methane concentrations in sediment along the continental slope north of Siberia: Inference from pore water geochemistry. Biogeosciences 14, 2929-2953.

13 - Pearce, C., Varhelyi, A., Wastegård, S., Muschitiello, F., Barrientos, N., O'Regan, M., Cronin, T. M., Gemery, L., Semiletov, I., Backman, J., Jakobsson, M., 2017. The 3.6 ka Aniakchak tephra in the Arctic Ocean: a constraint on the Holocene radiocarbon reservoir age in the Chukchi Sea. Climate of the Past 13, 303-316.


12 - Saarni, S., Muschitiello, F., Weege, S., Brauer, A., Saarinen, T., 2016. Solar-forced atmospheric blocking during the last 3600 years in Eastern Finland inferred from varved lake sediments of Lake Kuninkaisenlampi. Quaternary Science Reviews 154, 100-110.

11 - Tesi, T., Muschitiello, F., Smittenberg, R.H., Jakobsson, M., Vonk, J., Hill, P., Dudarev, O., Gustafsson, O., 2016.  Massive remobilization of permafrost carbon during post-glacial warming. Nature Communications 7, 13653

10 - Wohlfarth, B., Muschitiello, F., Greenwood, S.L., Smittenberg, R.H., Kylander, K., Steinthorsdottir, M., Whitehouse, N.J., 2016. Hässeldala – a key site for Last Termination climate events in Northern Europe. Boreas, doi:10.1111/bor.12207 

9 - Muschitiello, F., Lea, J., Greenwood, S.L., Nick, F.M., Brunnberg, L., MacLeod, A., Wohlfarth, B., 2016. Timing of the first drainage of the Baltic Ice Lake synchronous with the onset of Greenland Stadial 1. Boreas 45, 322-334.



8 - Muschitiello, F., Pausata, F.S.R., Watson, J.E., Smittenberg, R.H., Salih, A.A.M., Brooks, S.J., Whitehouse, N.J. Karlatou-Charalampopoulou, A., Wohlfarth, B., 2015. Fennoscandian freshwater control on Greenland hydroclimate shifts at the onset of the Younger Dryas. Nature Communications 6, 8939.

7 - Muschitiello, F., Zhang, Q., Sundqvist, H.S., Davies, F.J., Renssen, H., 2015. Arctic climate response to the termination of the African Humid Period. Quaternary Science Reviews 125, 91-97.

6 - Muschitiello, F., Andersson, A., Wohlfarth, B., Smittenberg, R.H., 2015. The C20 highly branched isoprenoid biomarker – a new diatom-sourced proxy for summer trophic conditions? Organic Geochemistry 81, 27-33.

5 - Davies, F.J., Renssen, H., Blascheck, M., Muschitiello, F., 2015. The impact of Sahara desertification on Arctic cooling during the Holocene. Climate of the Past 11, 571-586.

4 - Muschitiello, F. and Wohlfarth, B., 2015. Time-transgressive environmental shift at the onset of the Younger Dryas across Northern Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews 109, 49-56.

3 - Steinthorsdottir, M., de Boer, A., Oliver, I.C., Muschitiello, F., Blaauw, M., Wohlfarth, B., 2015. Response to: Comment on “Synchronous records of pCO2 and Δ14C suggest rapid, ocean-derived pCO2 fluctuations at the onset of the Younger Dryas”. Quaternary Science Reviews 107, 270-273.



2 - Steinthorsdottir, M., de Boer, A., Oliver, I.C., Muschitiello, F., Blaauw, M., Reimer, P.J., and Wohlfarth,  B., 2014. Synchronous records of pCO2 and Δ14C suggest rapid, ocean-derived pCO2 fluctuations at the onset of the Younger Dryas. Quaternary Science Reviews 99, 84-96.



1 - Muschitiello, F., Wohlfarth, B., Schwark, L., Sturm, C., Hammarlund, D., 2013. New evidence of Holocene atmospheric circulation dynamics based on lake sediments from southern Sweden: a link to the Siberian High. Quaternary Science Reviews 77, 113-124.


Non peer-reviewed articles

Dee, S. and Muschitiello, F., 2013. What should the research questions and priorities in paleoscience be for the next 10 years?  PAGES publication 2, 94.

List of degrees from highest to lowest:
PhD in Marine Geology
Stockholm University
MSc in Geological Sciences (summa cum laude)
University of Perugia
BSc in Chemical Sciences
University of Venice
Honors & Awards: 
2017 – EGU Outstanding Early Career Scientist Awards - Climate: Past, Present & Future (CL) Division
2015 – Best Student poster Award - INQUA XIX Congress
2013 – Outstanding Young Scientist Oral Presentation Award - 2nd Conference of Doctoral School of Earth Sciences, Tallin University

Referenced in the Following News Items: