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Speleothems, because of their extremely high temporal resolution and the excellent opportunities for dating, provide a unique opportunity for assessing climate changes on various spatial and temporal scales. An increasing number of climate models explicitly simulate water isotopes as a tool for characterizing and diagnosing the atmospheric hydrological cycle and evaluations against palaeo-records such as the δ18O records from speleothems can provide an “out-of-sample” test of these models. However, although the >950 speleothems published provide one of the few data sources that can test models’ ability to capture decadal to millennial climate variability, they have not been used systematically yet (e.g. only 7 speleothems are included in the standard PMIP benchmark dataset). The PAGES (Past Global Changes) working group SISAL (Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis) that I am spearheading has developed a public-access database paying due attention to the documentation of measurement and age-model uncertainties to carefully screen the records. In this talk, I will present our community-endorsed protocol for using speleothem records for data-model evaluation in a sound manner.

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