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Eystein Jansen. (Photo: Andreas H. Opsvik/Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research)

Podcast: "We are very fond of mud!"

Professor Eystein Jansen on the importance of paleoclimate.


"Paleoclimate is one of the critical fields that has formed the knowledge of our climate system," says Professor Eystein Jansen.

He is one of the founders of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, and his field of study is vital to understand how Earth's climate has changed, and is still changing. By studying the past, we have been able to do good predictions of how we humans affect the climate we have now, and the future climate.

Listen to the episode here:

Summed up in a sentence, Jansen describes paleoclimate jokingly as "We are very fond of mud!":

"The critical thing is to find good mud, that contains traces of how the ocean has operated in the past."

In the sediments, the layers of sand and silt and particles moved by water or wind, you can find a layered history of the world. With coring devices, long steel tubes, you can core natural areas like the bottom of oceans, lakes, or glaciers. 

Having been part of the Bjerknes Centre since before its beginning twenty years ago, and part of many scientific projects before that, he has a long past and experience (not long in the geological time scale, of course) to look back on. He sees the larger collaborations as central leading up to the gathered climate knowledge.

"Without these global scientific communities, organised through the IPCC, I don't think we would have been where we are today," says Jansen.

"Hopefully that may lead to solving the climate crisis."

He closes off the interview by encouraging early career scientists to look for the unknown. 

"It is very difficult to say what knowledge we will need, so it's more to be interested in the broad aspect, and pursue your most ambitious ideas, rather than looking for something particular. If you do that, it has already have been found out."

Apart from being a Professor of the University of Bergen, he is also a newly elected Vice President of the European Research Council, Academic Director of the Academia Europaea Bergen Hub, and deputy director of the interdisciplinary SapienCE Centre, a Norwegian Center for Excellence in Research.

Bjerknes Climate Podcasts: 

The podcast is produced by Stephen Outten and Ingjald Pilskog. Stephen Outten is a researcher at Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center and Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchIngjald Pilskog is an associated professor at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and connected to the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.

You can find all the episodes of the Bjerknes Centre podcast here. Find more episodes of the Bjerknes Climate podcast on PodbeanAppleSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.