Note new deadline for registration/hotel reservation:

May 15, 2004

XVIèmes Rencontres de Blois

(site updated May 21, 2004)


Challenges in the climate sciences

23rd - 28th May 2004

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Information Bulletin Practical organization
Accommodation Registration fee
Conference location Scientific organisation

and programme NEW (May 7, 2004)

Contributed papers Social programme
Funding Travel
Registration/hotel reservation Form

deadline: April 9, 2004

Funding Application Form

deadline: February 22, 2004

Sponsored by:

Conseil Régional de la Région Centre,
Ministère de la Recherche,
Ville de Blois.


This is an announcement and call for papers for an international conference which will be held in the Château of Blois, in France's Loire Valley.

Challenges in the climate sciences is articulated around the growing realisation that we live in climatically disturbing times.

Greenhouse gas concentrations are rising, and are now rather higher than they have been for nearly half a million years. Global average temperatures are the highest seen in the last thousand years at least. Some, as yet uncertain, fraction of these changes is part of the natural climate cycle of the Earth, driven by such factors as variations in solar output and volcanic activity; human activity is responsible for the what may turn out to be the dominant part.

We are not at present able to make a clear distinction between natural cycles and the effects of human activity; still less are we able to confidently predict how farther evolution of human society, accompanied by population pressure, increased used of fossil fuels, changes in land cover etc., will modify the climate system.

The Earth is a complex system, with interactions between the land, the ocean, and the atmosphere, with feedback at all levels and at many time scales. Our concrete empirical information is essentially "historical", and many of our current insights have come from a study of past events and cycles, spanning many hundreds of thousands of years. But as technology has improved in recent years, so has our ability to study the planet as a global system, with observations made across the face of the planet, on land, sea, lakes, ice caps, through sustained satellite observations and simulations carried on state of the art computers. And with this change of perspective has come the realisation that we are perhaps pushing the Earth beyond the point where the natural system can compensate by adjusting itself appropriately on a reasonable time scale.

Paleontological records show that climate shifts can appear relatively rapidly and be global in extent; from archeological records we know that such changes have had devastating effects on human societies. And the two planets closest to the Earth, Mars and Venus, are clear evidence that even a relatively modest change in the importance of an external parameter - solar radiation - can tip the climate system into very different regimes, two of which are completely hostile to life. And the complex cloud structure of the solar system's largest planet - Jupiter - underscores our relative ignorance about atmospheric dynamics on a large scale.

Challenges in the climate sciences will attack these questions from various points of view. The conference will be organised around the following four basic themes:

  • The uniqueness of the Earth in the Solar System; planets and other bodies with atmospheres and how they differ from the Earth; life as a key ingredient for planetary change.
  • Key processes involved in climate fluctuations; past changes in terrestrial climate; natural v. human induced variability; global sustainability; socio-economic implications.
  • State of the art in forecasting; understanding the atmospheric, land surface, water and energy cycles.
  • Earth system science; models which need data, and data which need models.

The conference will consist of plenary sessions for indepth oral presentations, and long poster sessions for contributed papers. We will aim to achieve a balance between review talks, provocative talks given by recognized specialists, and shorter contributions, special emphasis being placed on participation by younger researchers and post-docs. If the need arises, parallels sessions can be organised; if you would be interested in presenting work in a parallel session, please indicate this on the preregistration form.

This conference will be the 16th in a series of international mulitidisciplinary meetings which have in the past covered many topics in physics, astronomy and biology. All sessions take place in the Château of Blois, a beautiful renaissance castle which has housed many French kings, and notably François 1st. Meals are served in the castle to all participants, in order to encourage interaction between scientists at all levels. Participation is limited to about 150 persons.

If you urgently need information which is not in the following information bulletin, you may contact L. M. Celnikier, at the email address:




The XVIth Rencontres de Blois, entitled «Challenges in the Climate Sciences» will be held at the Château Royal de Blois, France, from Sunday, May 23rd to Friday, May 28th, 2004. The postal address of the conference when in session is:

  Rencontres de Blois

Château de Blois

41000 BLOIS, France


The picturesque old French town of Blois, famous for its XIV-XVIIth century chateau, is about 170 km (100 miles) from Paris in the beautiful region of the «Châteaux de la Loire».


1. Welcome and registration

Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday afternoon, May 23rd, 2004. Registration at the conference office in the Château de Blois will start at about 15:00 on Sunday, May 23rd. A welcome cocktail will be offered to the participants and their families at 19:00. It will be followed by dinner at the Château.

2. Conference schedule

The conference will start on Monday, May 24th at 9:00 and will end at 12:00 on Friday, May 28th.

The conference room will be located at the Château Royal de Blois itself.

3. Conference facilities

The following equipment will be available : a slide projector for 5 cm x 5 cm slides, an overhead-projector for transparencies, and a video projector for computer presentations. Note that we cannot supply the computer: you should bring your own.

5. Proceedings

The proceedings will be edited and published if a sufficient number of participants send in their manuscripts by the proceedings deadline. Participants will receive a copy of the proceedings at no extra charge.

Deadline for submitting the manuscrip: January 1st, 2005.

Instructions for submitting the manuscripts will be distributed at the conference; please be aware that we will require the manuscripts to be in the form of ASCII files (Mac or PC) using the LATEX typesetting convention. No other format or support will be accepted since we do not have the (wo)manpower to do multiple conversions.

6. Registration fee

If you wish to participate in the conference, you should register as soon as possible using the on-line combined registration/hotel reservation form which is on this web site as part of a combined registration/hotel reservation form.

The deadline for registration and hotel reservation is March 22, 2004.

The registration fee will amount to 315 Euros.

Payment of the registration fee can be made:

- by personal check in euros drawn on a French Bank only to the order of Rencontres de Blois, sent to the conference secretariat (if you wish, but prepayment of the registration fee is not obligatory) or on arrival at the conference. To avoid ruinous bank fees which are beyond our control, we will accept neither foreign currency personal cheques, nor indeed any personal cheques drawn on a non-French bank.

- by traveller's checks in euros or US dollars on arrival at the conference.

- prepayment (if you wish, but prepayment of the registration fee is not obligatory) by bank transfer (remember to add 23 Euros for bank fees if transferring from outside France) to the following account:

It will take one month for our account to be credited, so please have the bank transfer made before May 20.

In any case, bring proof of the transfer and give it to the conference secretariat during registration in Blois.

Please note that as an educational organisation we unfortunately cannot accept Credit Card payment.

7. Accommodation

Hotel accommodation will be available in 3 categories :

one star (*), two stars (**) and three stars (***), all rooms having either a shower or a bath.

The price ranges are:

The hotel reservation can be made online via the combined registration/hotel reservation form which is available on this site. In order to simplify matters for you, the conference will pay a deposit to the hotels to guarantee reservation; however, in return for this simplification, if you choose to cancel your reservation, we ask you to do so as soon as possible and in any case not later than April 22, 2004, as otherwise the hotels will keep the deposit.

8. Meals

In order to enhance the interaction and exchange between participants, all participants are requested to have lunch and dinner together. The conference has asked a caterer to serve lunch and dinner in the Château Royal de Blois.

The package cost for 5 days is 200 Euros and should be paid to the caterer on the conference site; since this is a specially negotiated "package" for the conference, it cannot be reduced for partial attendance.

8. Funding

Some very limited financial support may be available for young European researchers, and European researchers who cannot obtain funding from their home institutes. A suitable application form is available on this site; if you need funding, you should fill in this form and send a signed copy by post or fax to the address indicated; please be aware that our budget is restricted.

Citizens of other countries, especially citizens of Eastern European countries, requiring financial support should also fill in the same funding application form.

9. Social program

Several social activities are planned during the conference for participants, their families and guests : visits of the Châteaux of Blois , Chambord and Chenonceau, and a "Son et Lumiere" show at the Chateau de Blois. An additional program for the accompanying persons (cost not included in the above) will be organized in collaboration with the tourist office of Blois.

10. Travel

The most convenient way to reach Blois is to arrive in Paris and take a train (SNCF) from the Austerlitz railway station to Blois. There are frequent train from Paris to Blois; the following schedule (just a few particularly convenient trains are indicated) is approximately valid for this year. You are strongly advised to check with your travel agency!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2004 Friday, May 28th, 2004
Departure from


Arrival in Blois Departure from Blois Arrival in Paris Austerlitz
11 h 41 13 h 35 12 h 24 14 h 23
13 h 41 15 h 36 15 h 37 17 h 34
15 h 50 17 h 29 17 h 29 18 h 59
17 h 36 19 h 02    

For participants arriving by train, a conference bus will be waiting at the station at the following times:




Blois can also easily be reached by car. Take the exit "Blois" on the Motorway ("autoroute'') A10 connecting Paris to the Chateaux de la Loire area (about 2 hours drive). Once in Blois, follow the signs "Centre".


The conference will consist of plenary sessions for invited talks, long poster sessions for contributed papers; parallel sessions for relatively short oral contributed papers can be organised if the required; interested participants should indicate this on the preregistration form on this site.

There will be a coffee break in the middle of the morning and afternoon, coupled with the poster sessions; lunch and dinner will be served at the Chateau to all participants in order to enhance opportunities for contact and exchange of ideas.

Sunday, May 23: arrival in Blois; registration, welcome cocktail, dinner,

then (preliminary programme, subject to change):

Plenary programme (as of May 21)

contributed oral papers destined for parallel sessions have been integrated into the plenary programme

Day   session chairman title confirmed speakers
Monday: 9h00   Final registration, welcome, etc.
10h15   Pause poster-café  
11h00 H. Letreut What do we understand about couplings in the climate system Jean-Claude Duplessy (LSCE, France)
11h45 Can we detect and attribute climate change? David Frame (Univ. Oxford, UK)
12h30   déjeuner
14h00 I. James When are connections between solar variability and climate important? Drew Schindell (NASA-Goddard, USA)
  14h40 Can solar forcing explain the dramatice regional signatures of past interglacial climates? Bette L. Otto-Bliesner (NCAR, USA)
  15h20 Climate change on Mars François Forget (LMD, France)
16h00 Pause poster-café
16h45 What can Titan teach us about the very early Earth ? Athena Coustenis (Meudon, France)
  17h30   Guided visit of the Blois Chlâteau  
Tuesday 9h00 M.-L. Chanin Can we constrain cloud-radiative feedbacks produced by climate models ? Sandrine Bony-Lena (LMD, France)
  9h30 Modes of climate change, relevant sensitivities and their estimation Richard Lindzen (MIT, USA)
10h00 Environmental monitoring from space Allan. O'Neill (Reading University, UK)
10h30 Pause poster-café
11h00 Are regional scales meaningful ? Serge Planton (Météo-France)
11h30 What is the role of the stratosphere ? Mark Baldwin (North West Research Assn., USA)
  12h00 Contribution

of stratospheric cooling to satellite-inferred tropospheric temperature


Stephen Warren (University of Washington, USA)
12h30   déjeuner
14h00 J.-C. Duplessy The Indian Ocean and the monsoon G.Reverdin (LODyC, France)
  14h45 In what respects is the 21st century different from the early 20th ? Hervé Letreut (France)

  15h15 Global and hemispheric effects of solar activity variability in interannual air surface temperatures: results of a non-linear spectral analysis of the data and a possible physical mechanism T. Kuznetsova (IZMIRAN, Russia)
  15h35 Co-existence of chaos and order in the weather and

climate dynamics: perspectives for the long-term weather and climate prediction

D. Sonechkin (Hydrometeorological Centre, Russia)
16h00   Pause poster-café
16h45 P. Valdes Abrupt climatic changes – a review Michael Sarnthein (Kiel University, Germany)
17h15 Climatic change during the last millenium Paul. Jones (UEA, UK)
  17h45 Is our interglacial going to be exceptionally long? Marie-France Loutre (Louvain University, Belgium)
Wednesday 9h00 J. Jouzel What is the climatic future of the Arctic ? Ola Johannessen (NRC, Norway)
  9h30 Enhanced north atlantic heat transport, late pliocene build-up of greenland ice sheet, and the final closure of panama

G. Bartolli (Kiel University, Germany)
  9h50 Sub-saharan african perspective of climatic changes K. Madu (Environmental Watch, Nigeria)
  10h10 Medieval and current warming in the north - eastern eurasia inferred from millennia tree-ring chronologies O. Sidorova (RAS, Russia)
10h30 Pause poster-café
11h15 Snowball Earth - a viable idea ? Dan Schrag (Harvard University, USA)
  12h00   déjeuner  
  14h00   Departure for the excursions to Clos Lucé and the Château de Chenonceau  
Thursday 9h00 G. Sommeria Clouds, cloud physics and cloud-radiation interactions: New data and models" Richard Somerville (UCSD, USA)
  9h45 New frontiers in water vapor feedback R.Pierrehumbert (University of Chicago, USA)
10h30 Pause poster-café
11h15 Unknown aspects of the effects of methane Jerome Chappellaz (Grenoble University, France)
  11h45 Survey of atmospheric and cirrus properties using longterm satellite datasets Claudia Stubenrauch (LMD, France)
12h30   déjeuner
1400   Uncertainties in the carbon cycle F.Joos (University of Bern, Switzerland)
14h30 Aerosols - a 20th century problem or a problem for the future? O.Boucher (LOA, Lille, France)
15h00 Is vegetation a significant factor for climatic evolution ? Sandy Harrison (MPI, Jena, Germany)
  15h30 Contribution of the mesoscale eddy dynamics to the thermohaline circulation Arctic Ocean large scale variability J.-C. Gascard (LODYC, France)
  16h00 Pause poster-café  
  16h15 Interaction of climate and microbes: Creating a base to assess global warming at the biological level H.-G. Hoppe (Kiel, Germany)
  16h45   End of afternoon session
  20h00 å Cocktails, followed by the the Dîner de Gala at the Blois Château  
Friday 9h00   How can climate models be evaluated? B. MacAvaney (BRMC, Melbourne, Australia)
9h45 Climate change research with the Earth Simulator Project Taroh Matsuno (Frontier Research Systems for Global Change, Japan)
10h30   Pause poster-café
10h45 S. Planton I To what extent features of microclimate can be

simulated in the framework of the GCM

A. Kislov (Moscow State University, Russia)
11h30 The coupling of the carbon and vegetable cycles to climate - friend or foe ? P.Friedlingstein (LSCE, France)
12h15   déjeuner
14h00   The risk of ocean circulation changes S.Rahmstorf (PIK Potsdam, Germany)
  14h30 Is a Shutdown of the thermohaline circulation reversible or irreversible? Jianjun Yin, Michael E. Schlesinger, Natasha G. Andronova, S. Malyshev and B. Li
  15h00 Are sea levels a major problem for the future? A.Cazenave (LEGOS, Toulouse, France)
16h00   Last coffee break; end of conference; bus departures for station at 16h30 and 18h15

Contributed poster papers: these papers will be available for study thoughout the entire conference

A. Bozec: Impact of the spatial resolution of the atmospheric forcing on deep water

formation in the Mediterranean sea

F. Codron: Annular modes of variability in different climate states

M. Crucifix: Pre-industrial-potential and Last Glacial Maximum global vegetation with a coupled climate-biosphere model : effects of climate and CO2

W. Godlowski: Living on the Universe with global rotation

T. Huck: Natural modes of climate variability associated with the ocean thermohaline circulation.

E. Ivanova: Glacial to interglacial paleoceanographic variations in the tropical Indo-Pacific

N. Ivashchenko: Is a next cooling stage in the current climate change just started?

I. James: Seeding of storm tracks by Rossby wave radiation: theory and implications for climate sensitivity

A. Knorre: Evaluation of annual productivity in the most sensitive forest ecosystems using annual layer structures of plants

T. Kuznetsova: Rapid changes of oscillation regimes in climate

cycles, astronomical forcing of global change in geophysical systems and its


T. Kuznetsova: Interdependence of oscillations of astronomical origin in

spectra of global air surface temperature and angular velocity of the

Earth's rotation

Y. Li: Variation of summer temperature on the east side of Tibetan Plateau and its probable causes

Y. Li: A study of the coupling relation between east Asia winter monsoon and ENSO cycle

R. Manasrah: Seasonal variation of seawater temperature and salinity during the years 1997-2003 in the northern Gulf of Aqaba

I. Mares: Signal-to-noise ratio in the climate change detection

I. Nowik: Seismo-hydro-electromagnetic interaction processes in the lithosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere system

I. Nowik: Electromagnetic signals of seismic activation of the ocean lithopshere and tsunami

C. Pfrang (author in attendance), D.E. Shallcross, C.E. Canosa-Mas, R.P. Wayne Modelling the importance of stress-induced plant emissions for atmospheric chemistry: does the release of oxygenated VOCs influence ozone concentrations in alpine locations following leaf freezing events in winter?

G. Radel: High clouds structure and cirrus microphysics from global satellite observations

S. Ragasakthi: Climate Science Education in India

S. Rousan: Invasion of anthropogenic CO2 recorded in stable isotopes of planktonic foraminifera from the northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea

J. Russel: Weaker Winds over the Southern Ocean caused Lower Glacial Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

A. Schimmelmann: A 6,500-year record of severe floods from Santa Barbara Basin, California

O. Troshichev: Effects of Solar UV Irradiation on Dynamics of Ozone Hole in Antarctica

O. Troshichev: Influence of solar UV irradiance on quasi-biennial oscillations in the Earth's atmosphere

S. Warren: Ocean surfaces on Snowball Earth