Personal homepage of Hans Renssen
Department of Earth Sciences
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences

VU University Amsterdam
phone +31 20 5987376, fax +31 20 5989940


2009-present: Full Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Dept. of Earth Sciences.

2007-2009: Associate professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Dept. of Earth Sciences

2002-2007: Senior researcher, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Dept. of Paleoclimatology and Geomorphology. Project: Nature and origin of millennial-scale climate variability ("VIDI - NWO Vernieuwingsimpuls")

2000-2002: Postdoctoral researcher, Institut d'Astronomie et de Géophysique G. Lemaître, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-NeuveBelgium. Project: Simulation of the global Holocene climate with a coupled 3D atmosphere-sea-ice-ocean-vegetation model.

1997-2000: Postdoctoral researcher, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Dept. of Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology. Project: Rapid climatic upwarming in the past: reconstruction and modeling.

1997: PhD Utrecht University, Simulation of the Younger Dryas climate with a global atmospheric general circulation model.

1992: MSc Physical Geography, University of Amsterdam


Fields of professional interest:

·       Multi-disciplinary research on Earth system dynamics

·       Palaeoclimate modelling and model-data integration

·       Impact of climate change on terrestrial systems

·       Quaternary Geology: understanding the climatic imprint in geological archives


Recently completed projects:

·       The 8,200 yr BP Holocene cooling event

·       Holocene climate instability during the termination of the African Humid Period

·       The Atmosphere during stadial-interstadial transitions

·       The effect of deforestation on climate

·       The climatic response to a massive methane release from hydrates  

·       Modelling and reconstructing precipitation and flood frequency in the Meuse catchment during the late Holocene. Funded by BSIK Programme 'Klimaat voor Ruimte'

·       WARMPAST: Arctic warming in the past. IPY project. Project information

·       RESOLuTION: Rapid climatic and environmental shifts during oxygen isotope stages (OIS) 2 and 3 - linking high-resolution terrestrial, ice core and marine archives. Funded by ESF-EuroCLIMATE programme. More information is available on the project website.

·       ORMEN: Ocean Reconstruction and Modelling of the European deglaciatioN. Funded by the RAPID programme. More information is available on the Project website


Current projects involved in

·       Leverhulme Younger Dryas project: using glacier-climate proxies to model the Younger Dryas climate in Europe. Project information

·       PATAGON: NERC-funded project  aims to develop a new regional network of proxy archives and create quantitative climate reconstructions for southern South America spanning the last ~2000 years. Project information

·       CASE ITN: The Changing Arctic and Sub-Arctic Environment. Project information

·       Past4Future. EU-FP7 project. Project information

·       HOLOCLIP: Holocene climate variability at high-southern latitudes: an integrated perspective. ESF-POLARclimate project. Project information.

·       COST-INTIMATE: INTegrating Ice core, MArine and TErrestrial records. Project information

·       MOCA: Meltwater  routing and Ocean-Cryosphere-Atmosphere response. A joint project of INQUA PALCOM and INQUA TERPRO. Project information

A complete list of publications can be found

Key publications:


Renssen, H., Mairesse, A., Goosse, H., Mathiot, P., Heiri, O., Roche, D.M., Nisancioglu, K.H., Valdes, P.J. (2015) Multiple causes of the Younger Dryas cold period. Nature Geoscience, doi: 10.1038/ngeo2557


Renssen, H., Seppä, H., Crosta, X., Goosse, H., Roche, D.M., (2012) Global characterization of the Holocene Thermal Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews 48, 7-19. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.05.022.

Renssen, H.,
Goosse, H., Crosta, X., Roche, D.M. (2010) Early Holocene Laurentide Icesheet deglaciation causes cooling in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere through oceanic teleconnection. Paleoceanography 25, PA3204. doi:10.1029/2009PA001854

Renssen, H., Seppä, H., Heiri, O., Roche, D.M., Goosse, H., Fichefet, T. (2009) The temporal and spatial complexity of the Holocene Thermal Maximum. Nature Geoscience 2, 411-414,  doi: 10.1038/ NGEO513 .

Renssen, H., Goosse, H., Fichefet, T. (2007) Simulation of Holocene cooling events in a coupled climate model. Quaternary Science Reviews, 26, 2019-2029. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.07.011

Renssen, H., Goosse, H. and Muscheler, R. (2006) Coupled climate model simulation of Holocene cooling events: oceanic feedback amplifies solar forcing. Climate of the Past 2, 79-90. PDF

Renssen, H., Goosse, H., Fichefet, T., Brovkin, V., Driesschaert, E., Wolk, F. (2005) Simulating the Holocene climate evolution at northern high latitudes using a coupled atmosphere-sea ice-ocean-vegetation model. Climate Dynamics 24, 23-43

Renssen, H., Beets, C.J., Fichefet, T., Goosse, H., and Kroon, D. (2004) Modeling the climate response to a massive methane release from gas hydrates. Paleoceanography 19, PA2010, doi: 10.1029/2003PA000968. Abstract

Renssen, H., and Bogaart, P.W. (2003) Atmospheric variability over the ~14.7 kyr BP stadial-interstadial transition in the North Atlantic region as simulated by an AGCM. Climate Dynamics 20, 301-313.

Renssen, H., Brovkin, V., Fichefet, T., and Goosse, H. (2003) Holocene climate instability during the termination of the African Humid Period, Geophysical Research Letters 30, 1184, doi: 10.1029/2002GL016636. Abstract

Renssen, H., Goosse, H., and Fichefet, T. (2003) On the non-linear response of the ocean thermohaline circulation to global deforestation, Geophysical Research Letters 30, 1061, doi:10.1029/2002GL016155. Abstract

Renssen, H.,  and Vandenberghe (2003) Investigation of the relationship between permafrost distribution in NW Europe and extensive winter sea-ice cover in the North Atlantic Ocean during the cold phases of the Last Glaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews 22, 209-223.

Goosse, H., Renssen, H., Selten, F.M., Haarsma, R.J., and Opsteegh, J.D. (2002) Potential causes of abrupt climate events: a numerical study with a three-dimensional climate model. Geophysical Research Letters 29, 18, 1860, DOI 10.1029/2002GL014993

Renssen, H., Goosse, H. and Fichefet, T. (2002) Modeling the effect of freshwater pulses on the early Holocene climate: the influence of high-frequency climate variability. Paleoceanography 17, No. 2, art. no 1020, DOI 10.1029/2001PA000649. Abstract

Renssen, H. and Isarin, R.F.B. (2001). The two major warming phases of the last deglaciation at ~14.7 and ~11.5 kyr cal BP in Europe: climate reconstructions and AGCM experiments. Global and Planetary Change 30, 117-154.

Renssen, H., Goosse, H., Fichefet, T., and Campin, J.-M. (2001). The 8.2 kyr BP event simulated by a global atmosphere-sea-ice-ocean model. Geophysical Research Letters 28, 1567-1570. Abstract

Renssen, H., and Isarin, R.F.B. (1998). Surface temperature in NW Europe during the Younger Dryas: AGCM simulation compared with temperature reconstruction. Climate Dynamics 14, 33-44.

Renssen, H. (1997). The global response to Younger Dryas boundary conditions in an AGCM simulation. Climate Dynamics 13, 587-599.

Renssen, H., Lautenschlager, M., and Schuurmans, C.J.E. (1996). The atmospheric winter circulation during the Younger Dryas stadial in the Atlantic/European sector. Climate Dynamics 12, 813-824.

Informatie in het Nederlands: artikel uit Mens & Wetenschap (Dec 2000) over klimaatsreconstructies en modelsimulaties, met name over de snelle overgang van het koude klimaat van de laatste ijstijd naar het huidige, relatief warme, klimaat
Klimaatveranderingen uit het verleden: een boodschap voor de toekomst?"