VICS 2019 Meeting
The Common Era and Beyond
13-16 April 2019
University of Cambridge

VICS Working Group

VICS is a working group of PAGES Global Changes project that aims to foster interdisciplinary activities towards better understanding of the impacts of volcanic forcing on climate and societies. VICS will support the development of next-generation volcanic forcing histories, initially covering the past 2,000 years and eventually extending to the full Holocene.

VICS aims to provide a forum for the exchange of information between different communities interested in the impacts of volcanic eruptions, including communities involved in paleoclimate reconstruction, climate modeling, ice core interpretation, and historical climate/societal interactions.

VICS has three overarching scientific aims:

1. Improve volcanic radiative forcing reconstructions

2. Improve understanding of volcanically-induced climate variability

3. Improve understanding of societal impacts of volcanic eruptions


Meeting Programme

This workshop will be critical for launching the goals of phase two of VICS, which come within the scope of the Climate and Humans themes of the PAGES science structure. Volcanism is a dominant driver of climate variability in the Earth’s past on interannual to centennial timescales, and volcanic eruptions provide invaluable data for the synchronization and validation of climate proxies, and constitute test cases for climate models, helping to assure that their response to external forcing is realistic.

The workshop will focus on the following objectives:

1. Summarising the current state of the reconstructions of significant eruptions (and episodes of intense volcanic activity) and associated climate forcing, with an emphasis on events before the Common Era. Assessing the extent of (dis)agreement in observed climate responses to volcanic forcing when comparing paleoclimate data vs. model simulations.
2. Compiling the planned collaborative and open source 'best practice' review article concerning the timing and magnitude of volcanic eruptions, climate variability and societal transformation, with discussion of causal inference.
3. Continued development of strategies to engage stakeholders and the general public concerning volcanic hazards and disasters.

The full scientific programme is available HERE

Presentation format:

Talk: 12 min + 3 min questions. Please upload your PDF presentation 15 min before the beginning of your session

Poster: A0 landscape. You will be able to pin your poster on Sunday morning when you register or during the morning coffee break

Saturday 13 April

6.30 pm Ice Breaker at the Cambridge University Centre Wine Bar

Sunday 14 April

8.30 am Registration (Department of Geography, main building)

9 am Welcome introduction

9.30 am - 4.30 pm Session 1: Eruptions of the last millennium CE

5-6.30 pm Poster session

7 pm Conference dinner at Queens College 

Monday 15 April

9 - 10.30 am Session 2: Eruptions of the first millennium CE

11 am - 12.30 pm Session 3: Aerosols and climate forcing

12.45 - 2.15 pm Demystifying Nature -ECR round Table with Michael White, Editor at Nature (seminar room)

2 - 4 pm Update on case studies

5.30 pm  Public Lecture

8  pm Film Premiere: Chasing Traces from the Past

Tuesday 16 April

9 am - 12 pm Session 4: Eruptions of the Early Holocene and Pleistocene

12 - 1 pm General discussion and closure

1 pm Lunch

The meeting ends after lunch on Tuesday 16th


Keynote Speakers


Prof Siwan Davies

Swansea University

Prof Felix Riede

Aarhus University

Prof Kirstin Krüger

University of Oslo

Prof David Pyle

University of Oxford

Early Career Researchers

We are pleased to announce that 12 early career researchers were awarded a travel grant from PAGES.

The travel grant includes registration fee, some of the travel expenses, accommodation and breakfast and working meals. The dinnner on the 15 April is not included.

On Monday 15, the meeting will host a Round Table for ECRs with Michael White, Editor at Nature on the topic 'Demystifying Nature' (see the Meeting Programme)

Volcano Hiker

Organising Commitee

Matthew Toohey (Group Leader) GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany
Michael Sigl, Paul Scherrer Institut, Switzerland
Kevin Anchukaitis, University of Arizona, USA
Allegra N. LeGrande, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, USA
Francis Ludlow, School of Histories & Humanities
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Celine Vidal, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK

Local support team

Christine Lane, Anja Schmidt, Thomas Aubry & Clive Oppenheimer


Celine Vidal

Department of Geography

University of Cambridge

Downing Place

Cambridge CB23EN - United Kingdom

Office +44123339820 - Mobile +447456730248


Deadlines & Payment

  • Online registrations are closed

  • Early registration payment (see below) is closed

Late registration payments will be accepted at the rate of £200 (see below)

  • Abstract modifications (to Céline Vidal until 1st April 2019

Registration payment instructions

Payments are processed by Paypal only

Add the following note to your payment: VICS19_LASTNAME

Please be aware of exchange rate and make sure you are transferring the equivalent of 200 GBP (not euros)

Late registration: £200  PAY HERE


Your Visit

Venue, Accomodation and Social Events



The meeting will take place in at the main building of the Department of Geography of the University of Cambridge, 20 Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN. The meeting will start there on Sunday 14th at 8.30 am. On Sunday, participants shall access the site through the main gate on Downing street. The following days, the gate at the dead end of Downing Place will be open. Map of Downing site

Social events

Saturday 13 April: Ice breaker

The ice breaker will take place from 6.30 pm at the University Centre Wine Bar, operated by Cambridge Wine Merchants, located at the ground floor of the Cambridge University Centre building, Granta Pl, Cambridge CB2 1RU

Sunday 14 April: Conference dinner

The conference dinner will take place from 7 pm in the Old dining Hall of the historic Queen's College , Silver St, Cambridge CB3 9ET.

The dress code is casual smart.

Monday 15 April

Film Premiere and Q&A session: Chasing Traces from the Past, from 8 pm in the Auditorium at Fitzwilliam College . Screening starts at 8.30 pm.

Participants are free for dinner that evening. Here are some suggestions for dinner in town:


Guests are welcome to attend the social events at the charge of £70, including the ice breaker and the conference dinner.

Please pay HERE through paypal before the 10 April 2019.


Cambridge is a very touristic city with a fair range of hotels and B&Bs. To enjoy the best of Cambridge's history and culture, you can also stay in one of the Colleges. Airbnb is a good option for lower budgets.

City buses are not always on time on sundays, so you may prefer to stay within an acceptable walking distance from the city center.

For a proper Cambridge experience, you can rent a bike, but the city is fairly small and you can get around by foot.

As the meeting takes place during the holidays, we advise the participants to book their accommodation well ahead of the meeting.

ECRs who received a travel grant should not book accommodation. Rooms have already been booked by the organisers.

How to get there

Cambridge is a city on the River Cam in eastern England, located ~90 km North of London.

By train: direct trains from London Kings Cross station reach Cambridge Station in 50 min. You can check times and book tickets here

By air: there are 6 airports in London area, but you may consider the following options:

  • London Stansted (STD) is the closest international airport, where you can fly from a number of European countries. There are direct trains from the airport to Cambridge station (30 min journey). Taxis would take ~40 min.

  • Heathrow (LHR) airport, for most overseas destinations. There are coaches to Cambridge centre (2-3 hrs journey). Alternatively, you can use the underground to London Kings Cross and travel by train to Cambridge (2 hrs journey in total). Taxis would take ~2 hrs.

  • Gatwick airport (LGW) is ~2 hrs away from Cambridge by rail through London, and there are a few direct trains to Cambridge station.

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