Dr. Sophie Warken

Sophie Warken
Position Postdoc
Address Im Neuenheimer Feld 234 (GEOW)
Room 603
Phone +49 (0) 6221 - 54 - 96029
E-mail sophie.warken(a)uni-heidelberg.de
Group Physics of Environmental Archives

GoogleScholarResearchGate, ORCID


I am leading scientist of speleothem science and tropical climate variability at the chair of Prof. Norbert Frank (Physics of Environmental Archives) at the Institute of Earth Sciences and Environmental Physics Heidelberg. The aim of my habilitation project is to quantify climate variability and extreme events such as tropical storms, droughts or volcanic eruptions. In this context, we are developing novel methods for geochemical analysis and dating of stalagmites and corals, which allow inferences to be made about past climate changes. Our main areas of work are the Caribbean region, in particular Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as Europe and other parts of the world.

For my work on my habilitation I have been recently awarded funding by Heidelberg University's Olympia Morata Program. Our work is further supported by DFG and DAAD/BMBF:

DFG: Speleothem based quantification of precipitation and aridity and its role for Maya cultural development on the northern Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

DFG (SPP2299): Quantifying post Little-Ice-Age freshwater influences and ocean dynamics in the Central American Sea using a novel tracer combination: 234U/238U– (P)SST – 14C

DFG (upcoming): Comparison of interglacial tropical climate variability during the past 300,000 years

DAAD/BMBF: High-resolution quantification of transition metals in tropical stalagmites (Project related personal exchange New Zealand 2023-2025, together with the Waikato Environmental Geochemistry research group by Prof. Adam Hartland and Dr. Sebastian Hoepker, University of Waikato, NZ).

Research interests

  • Physics of (past) climates
  • Quantitative climate reconstruction
  • Stable isotopes and trace elements in speleothems and tropical corals
  • (Sub) tropical climate variability 
  • 230Th/U dating of secondary carbonates

Selected publications:

full list accessible on Google Scholar.

Underlined author is a student/mentee.

  • Vieten, R., Warken, S.F.*, Winter, A., Scholz, D., Zanchettin D., Black, D., Lachniet, M. (accepted). A Sequence of Abrupt Climatic Fluctuations in the Northern Caribbean related to the 8.2 ka event. The Holocene. (*Corresponding author)

  • Kaushal, N., Lechleitner, F.A., Wilhelm, M., and SISAL working group members (incl. Warken, S.), (in discussion). SISALv3: A global speleothem stable isotope and trace element database. Earth System Science Data Discussions, 1-33, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2023-364

  • Schorndorf, N., Frank, N., Ritter. S.M., Warken, S. F., Scholz, C., Keppler, F., et al. (2023). Mid- to late Holocene sea-level rise recorded in Hells Bells 234U/238U ratio and geochemical composition. Scientific Reports 13, 10011, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-36777-y

  • Kerber, I. K., Arps, J., Eichstädter, R., Kontor, F., Dornick, C., et al (incl. Warken, S. F.) (2023). Simultaneous U and Th isotope measurements for U-series dating using MCICPMS. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 539, 169-178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nimb.2023.04.003

  • Weißbach, T., Kluge, T., Affolter, S., Leuenberger, M.C., Vonhof, H. et al (incl. Warken, S. F.) (2023) Constraints for precise and accurate fluid inclusion stable isotope analysis using water-vapour saturated CRDS techniques. Chemical Geology. 617, 121268 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2022.121268

  • Warken, S. F., Kuchalski, L., Schröder‐Ritzrau, A., Vieten, R., Schmidt, M., Höpker, S. N., ... & Frank, N. (2022). The impact of seasonal and event‐based infiltration on transition metals (Cu, Ni, Co) in tropical cave drip water. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, e9278. https://doi.org/10.1002/rcm.9278

  • Warken, S. F., Weissbach, T., Kluge, T., Vonhof, H., Scholz, D., Vieten, R., Schmidt, M., Winter, A., and Frank, N. (2022): Last glacial millennial-scale hydro-climate and temperature changes in Puerto Rico constrained by speleothem fluid inclusion δ18O and δ2H values, Climate of the Past 18 (1), 167-181, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-86.

  • Steidle, S.D., Warken, S. F., Schorndorf, N., Förstel, J., Schröder-Ritzrau, A., Moseley, G.E., et al. (2021). Reconstruction of Middle to Late Quaternary sea level using submerged speleothems from the northeastern Yucatán Peninsula. Journal of Quaternary Science, https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.3365

  • Warken, S. F., Schorndorf, N., Stinnesbeck, W., Hennhoefer, D., Stinnesbeck, S., Förstel, J., Steidle, S.D., Avilés Olguin, J., and Frank, N. (2021). Solar Forcing of Early Holocene Droughts on the Yucatán Peninsula, Scientific Reports 11, 13885, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-93417-z

  • Warken, S. F., Vieten, R., Winter, A., Spötl, C., Miller, T. E., Jochum, K. P., Schröder-Ritzrau, A., Mangini, A., and Scholz, D. (2020). Persistent link between Caribbean precipitation and Atlantic Ocean circulation during the Last Glacial revealed by a speleothem record from Puerto Rico. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, e2020PA003944, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020PA003944

  • Stinnesbeck, W., Rennie, S. R., Avilés Olguín, J., Stinnesbeck, S. R., Gonzalez, S., Frank, N., Warken, S.F., Schorndorf, N., Krengel, T., Velázquez Morlet., A., González González, A. (2020). New evidence for an early settlement of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico: The Chan Hol 3 woman and her meaning for the Peopling of the Americas. PLoS One, 15(2), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227984

  • Warken, S.F., Scholz, D., Spötl, C., Jochum K.P., Pajón, J.M., Bahr, A., Mangini, A., (2019). Caribbean hydroclimate and vegetation history across the last glacial period. Quaternary Science Reviews, 218, 75-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.06.019

  • Comas-Bru, L., Harrison, S. P., Werner, M., Rehfeld, K., Scroxton, N., Veiga-Pires, C., and SISAL working group members (incl. Warken, S.), (2019). Evaluating model outputs using integrated global speleothem records of climate change since the last glacial, Climate of the Past, 15, 1557–1579. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1557-2019

  • Oster, J.L., Warken, S.F., Sekhon, N., Arienzo, M., Lachniet, M. (2019). Speleothem paleoclimatology for the Caribbean, Central America, and North America. Quaternary 2 (1):5. https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010005

  • Warken, S.F., Fohlmeister, J., Schröder-Ritzrau, A., Constantin, S., Spötl, C., Gerdes, A., Esper, J., Frank, N., Arps, J., Terente, M., Riechelmann, D.F.C., Mangini, A., Scholz, D., (2018). Reconstruction of late Holocene autumn/winter precipitation variability in SW Romania from a high-resolution speleothem trace element record. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 499, 122-133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.07.027

Data availability

Published data are available on request or under the following repositories: