Manuel Chevalier

Affiliation. Meteorology Department, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.


Who I am

I am a paleoclimatologist focusing on deepening our understanding of late Quaternary climate change in the tropics. While I worked with several climate indicators, the bulk of my work involves pollen data because of their versatility as climate indicators and strong connection with ecological principles. I analyse these pollen records using advanced statistical techniques that I develop and tailor to quantify past climate changes and their uncertainties.

The context of my research

Accurate quantitative estimates of past climate play a vital role in characterising past climate changes in a given region and assessing the performance of Earth System Models (ESMs). However, recent studies compiling climate data have revealed a significant disparity in the quality and quantity of quantified climate reconstructions between tropical and southern temperate regions, compared to the wealth of data available from the Northern Hemisphere extratropics and, to some extent, Antarctica. This glaring disparity underscores our limited understanding of past climate variability in these crucial regions, introducing considerable uncertainty into both past and future climate simulations. Beyond the evident challenges this poses for our grasp of regional climate dynamics, these pronounced “quantification data gaps” also cast a shadow over our global understanding of the climate system’s dynamics as a whole. Given the contemporary context of ongoing and projected climate change, there exists a pressing imperative to acquire more comprehensive and refined climate reconstructions from these less-studied regions. Enhanced comprehension of past climate variations in these areas will be pivotal to provide essential pieces of the puzzle and aid in unraveling the spatiotemporal connections among various elements of the global climate system.

What I do

One aspect of my research centers on accurately estimating and accounting for the inherent uncertainties in natural proxy data to reconstruct climates beyond the instrumental period. I have pioneered a specialised reconstruction method known as CREST, designed to specifically address the challenges posed by the diverse and complex vegetation of tropical regions. My work extends beyond methodology; it delves into the intricate interplay between palaeodata and climate models. I leverage the unique strengths of both to gain deeper insights into past climate dynamics. With these innovative tools at my disposal, I explore the spatial manifestations of past climate change in the tropics, spanning time scales from centuries to the broader context of glacial-interglacial cycles.

Despite the urgency of comprehensively analysing numerous records to address quantification data gaps, I hold a deep appreciation for the unique character of each individual record. My work is dedicated to the meticulous statistical examination of these records on an individual basis, thus circumventing the pitfalls associated with large-scale, indiscriminate analyses. To achieve this, I aim to collaborate closely with regional and proxy experts, fostering the highest level of accuracy in our data modelling and interpretation. By working in partnership, we can develop collaborative initiatives encompassing a wide range of topics falling within the broad scope of enhancing our comprehension of past climate change across the Global South. Drawing upon my extensive experience with various climate proxies, derived from diverse regions and spanning different time scales, I am eager to contribute to our collective pursuit of knowledge in this field.


Irrespective of your current career stage (student, Early-Career Researcher, or established Scientist) or location in the World, I am interested in working with you to further our understanding of past climate change in the Global South. You can reach me at



Climate quantification | Palaeoclimatology | Statistics | Late Quaternary | Fossil pollen | Uncertainty statistics | Data-model comparisons | Glacial-interglacial cycles | Palaeoecology | Tropics | Temperature | Rainfall | Aridity/Humidity


Sep 1, 2023 Very excited to begin my new role as Project Leader in the PalMod Phase 3 project.
Jun 19, 2023 With great honour, I am proud to announced that I was elected to be the President of the Paleoclimate Commission of INQUA for the upcoming inter-congress phase (2023-2027).
May 20, 2023 Two new publications: 1) a novel metric to do data-model comparisons in the vegetation space here and 2) a compilation of pollen-based climate reconstructions for the Northern Hemisphere here.

selected publications

  1. Open-Access
    crestr: an R package to perform probabilistic climate reconstructions from palaeoecological datasets
    Chevalier, Manuel
    Climate of the Past, Apr 2022. DOI: 10.5194/cp-18-821-2022
  2. An uncertainty-focused database approach to extract spatiotemporal trends from qualitative and discontinuous lake-status histories
    De Cort, Gijs,  Chevalier, Manuel, Burrough, Sallie L., Chen, Christine Y., and Harrison, Sandy P.
    Quaternary Science Reviews, Apr 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.106870
  3. Open-Access
    Pollen-based climate reconstruction techniques for late Quaternary studies
    Chevalier, Manuel, Davis, Basil A.S., Heiri, Oliver, Seppä, Heikki, Chase, Brian M., Gajewski, Konrad, Lacourse, Terri, Telford, Richard J., Finsinger, Walter, Guiot, Joël, Kühl, Norbert, Maezumi, S. Yoshi, Tipton, John R., Carter, Vachel A., Brussel, Thomas, Phelps, Leanne N., Dawson, Andria, Zanon, Marco, Vallé, Francesca, Nolan, Connor, Mauri, Achille, Vernal, Anne, Izumi, Kenji, Holmström, Lasse, Marsicek, Jeremiah, Goring, Simon, Sommer, Philipp S., Chaput, Michelle, and Kupriyanov, Dmitry
    Earth-Science Reviews, Nov 2020. DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103384
  4. Open-Access
    Temperature change in subtropical southeastern Africa during the past 790,000 yr
    Chevalier, Manuel, Chase, Brian M., Quick, Lynne J., Dupont, Lydie M., and Johnson, Thomas C.
    Geology, Jan 2021. DOI: 10.1130/G47841.1
  5. Southeast African records reveal a coherent shift from high- to low-latitude forcing mechanisms along the east African margin across last glacial–interglacial transition
    Chevalier, Manuel, and Chase, Brian M.
    Quaternary Science Reviews, Oct 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.07.009