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PAGES - Past Global Changes
Formed: 1991
Office: Bern, Switzerland

The PAGES - Past Global Changes project is an international effort to coordinate and promote past global change research. PAGES mission is to improve our understanding of past changes in the Earth System in a quantitative and process-oriented way in order to improve projections of future climate and environment, and inform strategies for sustainability.

PAGES brings together more than 5,000 scientists from over 100 countries.

PAGES scope of interest includes the physical climate system, biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem processes, biodiversity, and human dimensions, on different time scales — Pleistocene, Holocene, last millennium and the recent past.

PAGES encourages international and interdisciplinary collaborations and seeks to involve scientists from developing countries in the worldwide paleo-community. In this respect, PAGES is not a research institution i.e. research activities are not prescribed by PAGES committees or the International Project Office (IPO), rather based on input from its multidisciplinary community, PAGES works to identify and understand those aspects of past climate and environmental change that are of greatest significance for the future of human societies.

In this way PAGES supports 'bottom-up' initiatives and helps to develop common international science directions to ensure that important scientific questions are addressed in a coherent manner. In addition, capacity building, education and outreach are an integral part of PAGES philosophy.

PAGES is therefore a service-oriented project that works to promote integrative research activities and support the international paleoscience community through fostering collaboration and communication, and ensuring access to and dissemination of results, data, and other relevant information.

Founded in 1991, PAGES is a core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and is funded by the (US) National Science Foundation and Swiss National Science Foundation(s), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


PAGES aims to create synergies by overcoming boundaries that have historically existed between different: 1) Approaches: reconstruction, data analysis and numerical modeling; 2) Spheres: land, ocean, ice and atmosphere; 3) Timescales: paleoscience, modern processes and future projections; and 4) Resource levels: developed and developing country scientists.

Specifically PAGES main objectives are:

- integrating international paleoresearch

- encouraging research partnerships

- strengthening the involvement of scientists from developing countries

- supporting educational programs

- engaging with the climate modeling community

- facilitating public access to paleo-data

Several research activities, by groups of scientists with common interests, i.e. Working Groups, are incorporated within PAGES. Programs and workshops are designed to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplines and countries.

PAGES also provides a forum for scientists to discuss and interpret ice, ocean, and terrestrial paleoclimate records and modeling results, and foster the development of internationally accessible data archives.

Scientific structure[edit]

PAGES has four overarching foci addressed by Working Groups that target specific aspects of each foci:

Focus 1: Climate Forcings

Focus 2: Regional Climate Dynamics

Focus 3: Global Earth-System Dynamics

Focus 4: Human-Climate-Ecosystem Interactions

In addition, four cross-cutting themes underpin all four foci:

CCT 1: Chronology

CCT 2: Proxy Development, Calibration and Validation

CCT 3: Modeling

CCT 4: Data Management


The PAGES community consists of over 5000 scientists from more than 100 countries around the world. All scientists are encouraged to initiate projects under PAGES scientific foci and cross-cutting themes, participate in PAGES workshops and contribute to PAGES products.

In addition there are many ways PAGES community members can contribute including:

- becoming a PAGES subscriber to PAGES news

- following PAGES news on Facebook and Twitter

- participating in PAGES meetings

- proposing a Working Group that contributes to PAGES science

- adding a National PAGES for your country

- contributing to the PAGES Product Database (e.g. paired pictures, presentations, posters, info sheets)

- publishing an article in the PAGES newsletter

- adding a paleo-event to the calendar

- adding paleo-job offers

- nominating SSC members

- becoming a PAGES guest scientist

- giving feedback on PAGES

Governance structure[edit]

Scientific Steering Committee: PAGES is overseen by an international Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) composed of members chosen to be representative of the major techniques, disciplines and geographic regions that contribute to paleoscience. These members are appointed by the IGBP Scientific Committee, and each serve for a maximum of two consecutive three-year terms. The SSC meets once a year to provide guidance and oversight to the program as a whole.

Executive Committee: Five members of the SSC also serve on an Executive Committee (EXCOM), which is in more regular contact with the International Project Office. The five member EXCOM is co-chaired by a U.S and Swiss SSC member by virtue of the fact that these countries provide the bulk of PAGES core funding.

International Project Office: Under direction of the SSC, the staff of the small International Project Office (IPO) in Bern, Switzerland, carries out the day-to-day running of the PAGES. Their activities include maintaining the PAGES website and databases, organizing meetings and workshops, editing and writing PAGES publications, and serving as liaison to other global change programs. The IPO regularly hosts paleoscientists from around the world as Guest Scientists for both short-term and long-term sabbatical visits.

External links[edit]