The 2005 Hans Oeschger Medal is awarded to Laurent Labeyrie for his contribution to quaternary palaeoclimatology based on isotopic measurements on deep-sea cores and for his key rôle in the International Marine Global Change Study (IMAGES).
For the international scientific community involved in paleoceanography and paleoclimatology, Laurent Labeyrie is known as one of the world leader scientist in those areas with numerous key articles published over the last 30 years. But for this community as a whole, his name is also attached to the central rôle, Laurent has played in the international program IMAGES (International Marine Global Change Study), a long term action undertaken under the sponsorship of PAGES/IGBP and SCOR. Since about 10 years, IMAGES offers a strategy to improve our knowledge regarding the causes and consequences of rapid climatic change on the basis of detailed analyses of high resolution paleoclimatic records obtained from ocean sediments. Laurent Labeyrie has been instrumental both in the launching of the program and in its overall success with probably not far from 1000 cores, 30 to 60 m long, collected from the major ocean basins thanks to the French research vessel “Marion Dufresne”. A large part of them present sufficiently high sedimentation rates (20 cm/kyr or more) to allow paleoclimatic studies with a temporal resolution of 100 years, decades, or better, and thus offer unique oppotunity to document late quaternary rapid climate changes in the ocean through various complementary approaches.
Laurent Labeyrie and his team (LSCE / Gif-Yvette), have produced a large number of contributions on this topic since the discovery of rapid changes in the ocean at the beginning of the nineties. But Laurent who both is a very skillfull experimentalist and one the most prominent Quaternary paleoceanographers has – with his personal vision and tremendous energy – on his own been very productive in many aspects of paleoclimate research. This includes calibration of proxies from present-day ocean distribution and studies dealing with reconstruction of temperature, salinity and productivity from various geochemical indicators as well as of sea-level change. On these various topics, Laurent Labeyrie is author or co-author of more than 180 publications, most of them in international journals.