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Dr Francesco Muschitiello PhD

Dr Francesco Muschitiello PhD

Lecturer in Physical Geography

Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoceanography, Geochronology



  • 2018 - present: Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2016-2017: Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
  • 2017: Postdoctoral Researcher, Uni Research Climate Bergen


  • PhD Marine Geology: University of Stockholm
  • MSc in Geology: University of Perugia
  • BSc in Chemistry: University of Venice

Awards and honours

  • EGU Climate Division– Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award, European Geophysical Union (2017)
  • Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Postdoctoral Fellowship (2016)


My research interests cover a broad spectrum of topics surrounding past climate dynamics. I am particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms behind rapid transitions in the climate system to create predictability for future climate change. I am also interested in better comprehending the exact sequence of events occurring across rapid climate shifts of the past in order to discern cause-effect relationships between the different components of the global climate system (atmosphere, oceans, ice sheets and the carbon cycle).

My research mostly involves the use of palaeo-climate records from marine and lake sediment cores using a variety of inorganic and organic geochemical proxies, with a special focus on stable isotopic tracers. These proxies provide powerful tools to reconstruct changes in ocean circulation, and regional shifts in precipitation and atmospheric circulation patterns.

Further important aspects of my work involve developing robust chronologies for palaeo-climate archives to better integrate climate data from marine and terrestrial records, as well as evaluating physical models in relation to past climate scenarios.


If you are an undergrad at the University of Cambridge and interested in getting some experience in climate science or organic geochemistry, please get in touch with me about potential opportunities. I am also interested in welcoming new students and postdocs with an interest in one or more of the following: statistical methods for climate reconstruction; model/proxy data comparison; integrating marine and terrestrial palaeo-climate records; stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry.


In preparation

  • Simon, M.H., Muschitiello, F., Tisserand, A.A., Perner, K., Olsen, A., Dokken, T.M., Moros, M., Jansen, E. A 150 year (1850-2015 AD) record of multi-decadal oceanographic changes from offshore North Iceland. In preparation
  • Sessford, E.G., Jensen, M.F., Tisserand, A.A., Muschitiello, F., Dokken, T.M., Nisancioglu, K.H., Jansen, E. Consistent fluctuations in intermediate water temperature off the coast of Greenland and Norway during Dansgaard-Oeschger events. In preparation
  • Simon, M. H., Muschitiello, F., Dokken, T., Sadatzki, H., Hajdas, I., Jansen, E. Ocean ventilation changes in the Nordic Seas during MIS 3- Insights into the mechanisms of Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles. In preparation
  • Muschitiello, F., Wiles, G.C., Lowell, T.V., Kaplan, S., Kromer, B., Hansona, R. Climate variability and tree growth during the Last Glacial Maximum in the mid-latitude of central USA. In preparation
  • Martens, J., Wild, B, Muschitiello, F., Tesi, T., O'Regan, M., Jakobsson, M., Andersson, A., Sköld, M., Semiletov, I., Dudarev, O.V., Gustafsson, Ö. East Siberian Shelf slope sediments suggest permafrost carbon mobilization during the last glacial termination. In preparation

Submitted, under review, under revision

  • Barrientos, N., Coxall, H., Lear, C., Pearce, C., Muschitiello, F., O'Regan, M., Gemery, L., Cronin, T., Koshurnikov, A., Jakobsson, M. Late Holocene variability in Pacific water inflow through the Bering Strait. Submitted

Peer-reviewed articles

  • Muschitiello, F., D'Andrea, W. J., Schmittner, A., Heaton, T. J., Balascio, N. L., deRoberts, N., Caffee, M. W., Woodruff, T. E., Welten, K. C., Simon, Skinner, L., M. H., Dokken, T. M. Deep-water circulation changes lead North Atlantic climate during deglaciation. Accepted
  • Sadatzki, Dokken, T. M., H., Berben, S. M. P., Muschitiello, F., Stein, R., Fahl, K., Jansen, E. Sea ice control of abrupt Greenland climate change over Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles. Science Advances, In Press
  • O'Regan, M., Coxall, H., Hill, P., Hilton, R., Muschitiello, F., Swärd, H., Blasco, S., 2018. Early Holocene sea-level in the Canadian Beaufort Sea constrained by radiocarbon dates from a deep borehole in the Mackenzie Trough. Boreas 47, 1102-1117.
  • Schenk, F., Väliranta, M., Muschitiello, F., Tarasov, L., Heikkilä, M., Brandefelt, J., Johannson, A., Näslund, J., Wohlfarth, B., 2018. Warm summers during the Younger Dryas cold reversal. Nature Communications 9, 1634, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04071-5
  • Wohlfarth, B., Luoto, T., Muschitiello, F., Väliranta, M., Björck, S., Siwan, D., Kylandeer, M., Ljung, K., Reimer, P., Smittenberg, R., 2018. Climate and environment in southwest Sweden 15.3 - 11.3 cal. ka BP. Boreas 47, 687-710.
  • Ahmed, E., Parducci, L., Unneberg, P., Agren, R., Schenk, F., Rattray, J., Han, L., Muschitiello, F., Pedersen, M., Smittenberg, R., Yamoah, A., Slotte, T., Wohlfarth., B., 2018. Archaeal community successions in Lateglacial lake sediments: Implications for paleo-climate change. Quaternary Science Reviews 181, 19-29.
  • Muschitiello, F., Pausata, F.S.R., Lea, J.M., Mair, D.W.F., Wohlfarth, B., 2017. Enhanced ice sheet melting driven by volcanic eruptions during the last deglaciation. Nature Communications 8, 1020, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01273-1
  • Pausata, F.S.R., Zhang, Q., Muschitiello, F., Lu, Z., Chafik, L., Niedermeyer, E., Stager, J.C., and Liu, Z., 2017. Green Sahara suppressing ENSO variability in the Mid Holocene. Nature Communications 8, 16020, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms16020
  • Miller, C.M., Dickens, G.R., Jakobsson, M., Johansson, C., Koshurnikov, A., O'Regan, Muschitiello, F., Stranne, C., Mörth, C-M., 2017. Low methane concentrations in sediment along the continental slope north of Siberia: Inference from pore water geochemistry. Biogeosciences 14, 2929-2953.
  • Pearce, C., Varhelyi, A., Wastegård, S., Muschitiello, F., Barrientos, N., O'Regan, M., Cronin, T. M., Gemery, L., Semiletov, I., Backman, J., Jakobsson, M., 2017. The 3.6 ka Aniakchak tephra in the Arctic Ocean: a constraint on the Holocene radiocarbon reservoir age in the Chukchi Sea. Climate of the Past 13, 303-316.
  • Saarni, S., Muschitiello, F., Weege, S., Brauer, A., Saarinen, T., 2016. Solar-forced atmospheric blocking during the last 3600 years in Eastern Finland inferred from varved lake sediments of Lake Kuninkaisenlampi. Quaternary Science Reviews 154, 100-110.
  • Tesi, T., Muschitiello, F., Smittenberg, R.H., Jakobsson, M., Vonk, J., Hill, P., Dudarev, O., Gustafsson, O., 2016. Massive remobilization of permafrost carbon during post-glacial warming. Nature Communications 7, 13653
  • Wohlfarth, B., Muschitiello, F., Greenwood, S.L., Smittenberg, R.H., Kylander, K., Steinthorsdottir, M., Whitehouse, N.J., 2016. Hässeldala – a key site for Last Termination climate events in Northern Europe. Boreas, 46, 143-161.
  • Muschitiello, F., Lea, J., Greenwood, S.L., Nick, F.M., Brunnberg, L., MacLeod, A., Wohlfarth, B., 2016. Timing of the first drainage of the Baltic Ice Lake synchronous with the onset of Greenland Stadial 1. Boreas 45, 322-334.
  • Muschitiello, F., Pausata, F.S.R., Watson, J.E., Smittenberg, R.H., Salih, A.A.M., Brooks, S.J., Whitehouse, N.J. Karlatou-Charalampopoulou, A., Wohlfarth, B., 2015. Fennoscandian freshwater control on Greenland hydroclimate shifts at the onset of the Younger Dryas. Nature Communications 6, 8939.
  • Muschitiello, F., Zhang, Q., Sundqvist, H.S., Davies, F.J., Renssen, H., 2015. Arctic climate response to the termination of the African Humid Period. Quaternary Science Reviews 125, 91-97.
  • Muschitiello, F., Andersson, A., Wohlfarth, B., Smittenberg, R.H., 2015. The C20 highly branched isoprenoid biomarker – a new diatom-sourced proxy for summer trophic conditions? Organic Geochemistry 81, 27-33.
  • Davies, F.J., Renssen, H., Blascheck, M., Muschitiello, F., 2015. The impact of Sahara desertification on Arctic cooling during the Holocene. Climate of the Past 11, 571-586.
  • Muschitiello, F. and Wohlfarth, B., 2015. Time-transgressive environmental shift at the onset of the Younger Dryas across Northern Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews 109, 49-56.
  • Steinthorsdottir, M., de Boer, A., Oliver, I.C., Muschitiello, F., Blaauw, M., Wohlfarth, B., 2015. Response to: Comment on "Synchronous records of pCO2 and Δ14C suggest rapid, ocean-derived pCO2 fluctuations at the onset of the Younger Dryas". Quaternary Science Reviews 107, 270-273.
  • Steinthorsdottir, M., de Boer, A., Oliver, I.C., Muschitiello, F., Blaauw, M., Reimer, P.J., and Wohlfarth, B., 2014. Synchronous records of pCO2 and Δ14C suggest rapid, ocean-derived pCO2 fluctuations at the onset of the Younger Dryas. Quaternary Science Reviews 99, 84-96.
  • Muschitiello, F., Wohlfarth, B., Schwark, L., Sturm, C., Hammarlund, D., 2013. New evidence of Holocene atmospheric circulation dynamics based on lake sediments from southern Sweden: a link to the Siberian High. Quaternary Science Reviews 77, 113-124.

Non peer-reviewed articles

  • Dee, S. and Muschitiello, F., 2013. What should the research questions and priorities in paleoscience be for the next 10 years? PAGES publication 2, 94.