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Camille Contoux

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Position (last update 2013)

Oct 2010-Oct 2013, PhD student in Paleoclimate modelling at LSCE.
PhD thesis: Climate variability of the late Pliocene warm period (3.3 to 3 Ma): modelling the Greenland Ice Sheet and Megalake Chad variations. Supervisors: Gilles Ramstein (LSCE) & Anne Jost (Sisyphe).

Abstract: The late Pliocene warm period is a crucial interval in climate history and human evolution. Some regional features are poorly constrained for this period: a major one is the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). I investigate the response of the GrIS to different simulated late Pliocene climates, emphasizing on the CO2 and insolation thresholds allowing the build up of the ice sheet. Another important feature is the occurence of Megalake Chad (MLC): I investigate the variability of the MLC and its impact on the local environment in order to understand how its rise up and demise could have influenced hominid evolution during the early stages of humanity.

Research Interests

Climate modelling of the late Pliocene using LMDZ5 and IPSL-CM5A GCMs.

Megalake Chad impact on late Pliocene and mid-Holocene climates.

Constraining Megalake Chad variations with orbital variations, and the corresponding changes in hominids habitats during the mid-Piacenzian.

Caracterizing CO2 and insolation thresholds for the build-up and maintain of the Greenland Ice Sheet during the Piacenzian.

Previous Research Experience

Feb-Sept 2010: Undergraduate Research Assistant at Université Pierrre et Marie Curie, Paris 6. Thesis: Response of deep aquitards of the Paris Basin to anthropogenic pumping forcing in the Albian aquifer: integrating forcing and  calibrating the 3D groundwater flow model. Supervisor: Sophie Violette.

May-Aug 2009: Undergraduate Field and Research Assistant, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Lima, Peru. Based in Tamshiyacu (Loreto), I carried out two fields campaigns for the measure of high river discharge at the birth of the Amazon river (confluence Marañon-Ucayali). Afterwards, based in Lima, I analysed discharges throughout the years and calculated the uncertainty on the rating curves and thus on the water balance at the confluence. Supervisors: A. Crave, P. Fraizy, P. Vauchel.


2013: PhD in paleoclimate, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin.

2010: M. Sc., Hydrology-Hydrogeology, with honours, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 6.

2009: M. Sc., Surface and-subsurface geophysics, with honours, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris.

2008: B. Sc., Sciences of the Earth, Environment and Planets, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and Université Diderot Paris 7.

Publications (last update 2013)

Contoux, C., Jost, A., Ramstein, G., Sepulchre, P., Krinner, G. and Schuster, M., 2013. Megalake Chad impact on climate and vegetation during the late Pliocene and the mid-Holocene. Clim. Past, 9, 1417-1430, Contouxetal_CP_2013.pdf

Contoux, C., Violette, S., Vivona, R., Goblet, P., Patriarche, D., 2013. How basin model results enable the study of multi-layer aquifer response to pumping: the Paris Basin, France. Hydrogeol. J., 21, 545-557, doi:10.1007/s10040-013-0955-6. Contouxetal_HJ_2013.pdf

Contoux, C., Ramstein, G. and Jost, A. 2012. Modelling the mid-Pliocene Warm Period climate with the IPSL coupled model and its atmospheric component LMDZ5A. Geosci. Model Dev., 5, 903-917. Contouxetal_2012.pdf

Dowsett, H. J., Foley, K. M., Stoll, D. K., Bentsen, M., Otto-Bliesner, B. L., et al. (including Contoux, C.), 2013 : Sea surface temperature of the mid-Piacenzian ocean: a datamodel comparison. Nature Scientific Reports, 3, doi:10.1038/srep02013

Haywood, A.M., Hill, D.J., Dolan, A.M., Otto-Bliesner, B., Bragg, F., Chan, W.-L, Chandler, M.A., Contoux, C., Jost, A., Kamae, Y., Lohmann, G., Lunt, D.J., Abe-Ouchi, A., Pickering, S.J., Ramstein, G., Rosembloon, N.A., Sohl, L., Stepanek, C., Yan, Q., Ueda, H., and Zhang, Z., 2013. Large-scale features of Pliocene climate: results from the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project. Clim. Past, 9, 191–209.

Hill, D.J., A. M. Haywood, D. J. Lunt, S. J. Hunter, F. J. Bragg, C. Contoux, C. Stepanek, L. Sohl, N. A. Rosenbloom, W.-L. Chan, Y. Kamae, Z. Zhang, A. Abe-Ouchi, M. A. Chandler, A. Jost, G. Lohmann, B. L. Otto-Bliesner, G. Ramstein, and H. Ueda, 2013. Evaluating the dominant components of warming in Pliocene climate simulations, Clim. Past Discuss., 9, 1599-1625.

Leduc, G., Garbe-Schönberg, D., Regenberg, M., Contoux, C., and Schneider, R.: The Late Pliocene Benguela upwelling status revisited by means of multiple temperature proxies, in review for Geochem. Geophy. Geosy.

Salzmann, U., Dolan, A. M., Haywood, A. M., Chan, W-L., Hill, D. J., et al. (including Contoux, C.), 2013. Challenges in reconstructing terrestrial warming of the Pliocene revealed by data-model discord, Nature Clim. Change.

Sun, Y., Ramstein, G., Contoux, C., Zhou, T., 2013. A comparative study of large scale atmospheric circulation in the context of future scenario (RCP4.5) and past warmth (Mid Pliocene), Clim. Past, 9, 1613-1627.

Zhang, R., Q. Yan, Z. S. Zhang, D. Jiang, B. L. Otto-Bliesner, A. M. Haywood, D. J. Hill, A. M. Dolan, C. Stepanek, G. Lohmann, C. Contoux, F. Bragg, W.-L. Chan, M. A. Chandler, A. Jost, Y. Kamae, A. Abe-Ouchi, G. Ramstein, N. A. Rosenbloom, L. Sohl, and H. Ueda, 2013. Mid-Pliocene East Asian monsoon climate simulated in the PlioMIP. Clim. Past, 9, 2085-2099, doi:10.5194/cp-9-2085-2013.

Zhang, Z.-S., Nisancioglu, K. H., Chandler, M. A., Haywood, A. M., Otto-Bliesner, B. L., Ramstein, G., Stepanek, C., Abe-Ouchi, A., Chan, W.-L., Bragg, F. J., Contoux, C., Dolan, A. M., Hill, D. J., Jost, A., Kamae, Y., Lohmann, G., Lunt, D. J., Rosenbloom, N. A., Sohl, L. E., and Ueda, H.: Mid-pliocene Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation not unlike modern, Clim. Past, 9, 1495-1504, doi:10.5194/cp-9-1495-2013, 2013.


Contoux, C., Dumas, C., Ramstein, G., Jost, A., Dolan, A. How to initiate and maintain a Greenland ice sheet during the late pliocene warm period?, 2nd PlioMIP workshop, Bristol, 09/2013, Oral Presentation.

Mattio, L., Sepulchre, P., Contoux, C., Kageyama, M., Dixon, R., Bolton, J.: Using different paleo-scenarios and a molecular clock to explain the antitropical distribution of Sargassum subgenus Bactrophycus. IPC 2013, Oral Presentation.

Contoux, C., Ramstein, G., Jost, A., Sepulchre, P., Schuster, M. and Braconnot, P. African monsoon variations and persistence of the Megalake Chad during the late Pliocene., EGU 2013, Oral Presentation.

Contoux, C., Dumas, C., Ramstein, G. and Jost, A. Greenland Ice Sheet during the Pliocene climate optimum: a sensitivity study to CO2 level and orbital configuration. EGU 2013, Poster Presentation.

Sun, Y., Ramstein, G., Contoux, C. and Zhou, T. Mid-Pliocene climate an analogue for near future climate?, EGU 2013, Oral Presentation.

Contoux, C., Ramstein, G., Jost, A., Schuster, M., Sepulchre, P., Braconnot, P. Megalake Chad occurrences in the Pliocene: an insight into early hominid environment. PAGES 2013, Poster Presentation.

Contoux, C., Jost, A., Sepulchre, P., Ramstein, G. Modelling the mid-Pliocene Warm Period with the IPSL-GCM: contribution to PlioMIP and feedback mechanisms from the presence of Mega-Lake Chad. EGU 2012, Poster Presentation

Hamon, N., Sepulchre, P., Contoux, C., Jaeger, J.-J., Ramstein, G. Middle Miocene Hominoids dispersion and radiation: impact of climate and vegetation changes in Europe. EGU 2012, Poster Presentation.

Contoux, C., Ramstein, G., Jost, A., Sepulchre, P. The Mega-Lake Chad during the mid-Pliocene: occurrence and feedback on climate. PMIP3 meeting, May 2012, Manchester, Oral Presentation

Contoux C., Ramstein, G., Jost A. : Climate of the Pliocene with the LMDZ5A model : contributions of ocean, ice sheets and vegetation. PlioMIP meeting, August 2011, Washington, Oral Presentation


2012: Co-encadrement du stage de L3 de Nicolas Pelletier (Orsay), avec N. Hamon, G. Ramstein et C. Dumas. "Deux études du climat au Tertiaire : Évolution du méthane au Miocène. Étude de l'équilibre climat-calotte au Pliocène moyen."

2012 : Co-encadrement du stage de terrain hydrologie des M2HH (UPMC Paris 6), avec V. Plagnes, J. Thibieroz et H. Bendjoudi.

2011: Co-encadrement du stage de L3 de David Coppin (ENS), avec G. Ramstein et C. Dumas. "Etude de l’équilibre climat-calotte au Pliocène (3 Ma)."

2011 : Encadrement de la partie hydrologie/hydrogéologie du stage de terrain des 4eme année Polytech (UMPC, Paris 6). Encadrement géologie et organisation du stage : N. Bellahsen.


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