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.
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
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. In preparation
Muschitiello, F., Dokken, T., Luoto, T., Björck, S., Reimer, P.J., Schenk, F., Smittenberg, R.H., Wohlfarth, B. North Atlantic overturning and climate response to meltwater forcing during the last deglaciation. In preparation
Submitted, under review, under revision
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. Submitted
Pausata, F.S.R., Zhang, Q., Muschitiello, F., Lu, Z., Chafik, L., Niedermeyer, E., Stager, J.C., and Liu, Z.: Green Sahara suppressing ENSO variability in the Mid Holocene. Under review, Nature Communications
Muschitiello, F., Pausata, F.S.R., Wohlfarth, B., Impact of volcanic aerosol on Scandinavian Ice Sheet melting during the Last Termination. Re-submitted, Nature 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
14 - Pearce, C., Varhelyi, A., Wastegård, S., Muschitiello, F., Barrientos, N., O'Regan, M., Cronin, T. M., Gemery, L., Semiletov, I., Backman, J., Jakobsson, M., 2016. 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 Discussions, doi: 10.5194/cp-2016-112.
13 - 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.
12 - 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
11 - 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
10 - Miller, C.M., Dickens, G.R., Jakobsson, M., Johansson, C., Koshurnikov, A., O’Regan, Muschitiello, F., Stranne, C., Mörth, C-M., 2016. Low methane concentrations in sediment along the continental slope north of Siberia: Inference from pore water geochemistry. Biogeosciences Discussions, doi:10.5194/bg-2016-308
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.
Referenced in the Following News Items: