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Prof Ulrich Salzmann


Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences

I am Professor of Palaeoecology & Palaeoclimatology in the Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences, and Director of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership ONEPlanet. Prior to joining Northumbria University, I worked at the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK (2005-2010), the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany (2003-2005) and the Institute for Archaeology & Archaeobotany, University of Frankfurt, Germany (1998-2002), where I received my PhD degree on the vegetation and climate history of the West African savanna.


My research focuses on the reconstruction of the Earth’s past environments. I am particularly interested in the palaeoclimatology and palaeoecology of tropical and polar regions. My research includes:

Antarctic and Arctic climate and vegetation change. The polar regions play a key role in our understanding of environmental change in a warmer-than-present world. I am reconstructing Antarctic land-ocean interactions before the onset of glaciation and during past warm periods to understand the forcing and feedback mechanisms controlling polar glaciation throughout the past Greenhouse to Icehouse transition.

Global synthesis of climate proxy data for testing and improving numerical climate models. By combining palynology with data-model comparison, my research fosters a deeper understanding of how terrestrial environments responded, and might respond in the future, to rapid changes in temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Quaternary vegetation change and human impact. I have a strong interest in assessing the role of early human impact and climate change. A thorough understanding of the importance of human impact is essential for the development of sustainable management and appropriate mitigation strategies for the future.


  • "As Good as (G)Old? Comparing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of Restored and Natural Mangrove Forests in the Wallacea Region (CoReNat); NERC  (Co-I)
  • Super-Warm Early Eocene Temperatures and climate: understanding the response of the Earth system to high CO2 through integrated modelling and data – SWEET”; NERC Large Grant (Co-I)
  • The Pliocene of Northwest China: Understanding aridification in a warmer world”; Royal Society (PI)
  • Southern High Latitude Vegetation Response to Rapid Climate Change at the Cenozoic Greenhouse to Icehouse Transition”, NERC (PI)
  • Late Pliocene soils and lakes: A global data set for the analysis of climate feedbacks in a warmer world”, NERC (PI)
Ulrich Salzmann


  • PhD December 01 1998
  • MSc February 01 1994
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2018

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth, Klages, J., Salzmann, U., Bickert, T., Hillenbrand, C., Gohl, K., Kuhn, G., Bohaty, S., Tischak, J., Mueller, J., Frederichs, T., Bauersachs, T., Ehrmann, W., Van De Flierdt, T., Simoes, P., Larter, R., Lohmann, G., Niezgodzki, I., Uenzelmann-Neben, G., Zundel, M., Spiegel, C., Mark, C., Chew, D., Francis, J., Nehrke, G., Schwarz, F., Smith, J., Freudenthal, T., Esper, O., Paelike, H., Ronge, T., Dziadek, R. 2 Apr 2020, In: Nature
  • Southern Ocean warming and Wilkes Land ice sheet retreat during the mid-Miocene, Sangiorgi, F., Bijl, P., Passchier, S., Salzmann, U., Schouten, S., McKay, R., Cody, R., Pross, J., Van De Flierdt, T., Bohaty, S., Levy, R., Williams, T., Escutia, C., Brinkhuis, H. 22 Jan 2018, In: Nature Communications
  • Heterogeneity in global vegetation and terrestrial climate change during the late Eocene to early Oligocene transition, Pound, M., Salzmann, U. 24 Feb 2017, In: Scientific Reports
  • A global synthesis of the marine and terrestrial evidence for glaciation during the Pliocene Epoch, De Schepper, S., Gibbard, P., Salzmann, U., Ehlers, J. Aug 2014, In: Earth-Science Reviews
  • Challenges in quantifying Pliocene terrestrial warming revealed by data–model discord, Salzmann, U., Dolan, A., Haywood, A., Chan, W., Voss, J., Hill, D., Abe-Ouchi, A., Otto-Bliesner, B., Bragg, F., Chandler, M., Contoux, C., Dowsett, H., Jost, A., Kamae, Y., Lohmann, G., Lunt, D., Pickering, S., Pound, M., Ramstein, G., Rosenbloom, N., Sohl, L., Stepanek, C., Ueda, H., Zhang, Z. 2013, In: Nature Climate Change
  • Earth system sensitivity inferred from Pliocene modelling and data, Lunt, D., Haywood, A., Schmidt, G., Salzmann, U., Valdes, P., Dowsett, H. Jan 2010, In: Nature Geoscience
  • A new global biome reconstruction and data-model comparison for the Middle Pliocene, Salzmann, U., Haywood, A., Lunt, D., Valdes, P., Hill, D. 2008, In: Global Ecology and Biogeography
  • The past is a guide to the future? Comparing middle pliocene vegetation with predicted biome distributions for the twenty-first century, Salzmann, U., Haywood, A., Lunt, D. 13 Jan 2009, In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • Comment on "Intensifying Weathering and Land Use in Iron Age Central Africa", Neumann, K., Eggert, M., Oslisly, R., Clist, B., Denham, T., de Maret, P., Ozainne, S., Hildebrand, E., Bostoen, K., Salzmann, U., Schwartz, D., Eichhorn, B., Tchiengue, B., Hohn, A. 31 Aug 2012, In: Science

PGR Supervision

  • Michael Amoo Start: 01/10/2019
  • Florian Schwarz Pliocene vegetation and climate variability on the NE Tibetan Plateau (Qaidam and Kunlun Pass Basin) over glacial-interglacial timescales Start: 01/10/2015
  • Anna Egerton Start: 01/10/2019
  • Alasdair Thompson Start: 01/10/2019


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