Antarctica and the Southern Ocean play a key role in the global climate system (e.g. Mayewski et al., 2009; Convey et al., 2009). Processes at high southern latitudes play a pivotal role in global atmospheric and oceanic circulation, oceanic uptake of heat and carbon, and planetary energy balance, through the ice-albedo feedback.

The ability to detect and attribute climate change in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean is dependent upon climate observations; however, this region is the most observation-sparse and record-length-limited part of the globe. There are few systematic observations extending before mid-20th century, and good coverage is only available since the satellite era (i.e. the last 3-4 decades).

In this context, key questions of the PAGES 2k Network underscore an acute need for good high resolution palaeoclimate data extending out to 2000 years before present, but also with good coverage through the instrumental period so as to permit proxy calibration.

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