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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Jun 2018

Research article | 01 Jun 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

A statistical method to validate reconstructions of late-glacial relative sea level – Application to shallow water shells rated as low-grade sea-level indicators

Milena Latinović1,2, Volker Klemann1, Christopher Irrgang1, Meike Bagge1, Sebastian Specht1,3, and Maik Thomas1,2 Milena Latinović et al.
  • 1GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Free University, Berlin, Germany
  • 3University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. In this study, we propose a statistical method to validate sea-level reconstructions using geological records known as sea-level indicators (SLIs). SLIs are often the only available data to retrace late-glacial relative sea level (RSL). Determining the RSL from SLI height is not straight forward, the elevation at which an SLI was found usually does not represent the past RSL. In contrast, it has to be related to past RSL by investigating sample’s type, habitat and deposition conditions. For instance, water distribution at which a specific specimen is found today can be related to the indicator's depositional height range. Furthermore, the precision of dating varies between geological samples, and, in case of radiocarbon dating, the age has to be calibrated using a non-linear calibration curve. To avoid an a-priori assumption like normal-distributed uncertainties, we define likelihood functions which take into account the indicative meaning’s available error information and calibration statistics represented by joint probabilities. For this conceptional study, we restrict ourselves to one type of indicators, shallow-water shells, which are usually considered as low-grade samples giving only a lower limit of former sea level, as the depth range in which they live spreads over several tens of meters, and does not follow a normal distribution. The presented method is aimed to serve as a strategy for glacial isostatic adjustment reconstructions, in this case for the German Paleo-Climate Modelling Initiative PalMod ( and by extending it to other SLI types.

Milena Latinović et al.
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Milena Latinović et al.
Milena Latinović et al.
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Latest update: 14 Oct 2018
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
By using geological samples we are trying to validate the models that are reconstructing the sea level in the past 20 000 years. We applied proposed statistical method using 4 types of shells that were found in the area of the Hudson Bay on 140 members of model ensemble. After the comparison of the the results with studies from this area, we concluded that the method is suitable for validation of model ensemble based sea-level change caused by land movement of the Earth due to ice-age burden.
By using geological samples we are trying to validate the models that are reconstructing the sea...