The 2017 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award is awarded to Francesco Muschitiello for his contributions to understanding mechanisms of abrupt climatic change in combination with observations across the North Atlantic region.
Francesco Muschitiello has challenged and contributed to important debates about the mechanisms of abrupt climatic change, as well as observations of the timing and nature of environmental responses across the North Atlantic region. Through the study of terrestrial sites in southern Sweden and marine records in the Norwegian seas during his PhD, Muschitiello’s research has evaluated the role of Scandinavian Ice Sheet melt as a driver of hydroclimatic shifts across the northern north Atlantic at the onset of the cold climate conditions of the Younger Dryas (~12,800 years ago). In his research Muschitiello has applied traditional palaeoecological and novel palaeoclimatic methods and used climate model simulations to explore the connectivity between earth system processes during the last deglaciation. He has taken a rigorous approach to building chronologies for his records, which utilise radiocarbon dating, tephrochronology and varve counting. In doing so Muschitiello has precisely dated the first drainage of the Baltic Ice Lake, which he shows occurred synchronous to the start of Greenland Stadial 1, indicating a link between freshwater forcing in the northeast north Atlantic and abrupt changes in atmosphere-ocean circulation. Muschitiello has published extensively on a multitude of topics, applying a range of methodologies demonstrating a breadth of expertise. His intellectual curiosity, creativity and self-motivation make him a worthy recipient of the Climate Division’s Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award.