Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Paleoclimates: Understanding climate change past and present

June 15, 2010

The field of paleoclimatology relies on physical, chemical, and biological proxies of past climate changes that have been preserved in natural archives such as glacial ice, tree rings, sediments, corals, and speleothems. Paleoclimate archives obtained through field investigations, ocean sediment coring expeditions, ice sheet coring programs, and other projects allow scientists to reconstruct climate change over much of earth's history.

When combined with computer model simulations, paleoclimatic reconstructions are used to test hypotheses about the causes of climatic change, such as greenhouse gases, solar variability, earth's orbital variations, and hydrological, oceanic, and tectonic processes. This book is a comprehensive, state-of-the art synthesis of paleoclimate research covering all geological timescales, emphasizing topics that shed light on modern trends in the earth's climate. Thomas M. Cronin discusses recent discoveries about past periods of global warmth, changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, abrupt climate and sea-level change, natural temperature variability, and other topics directly relevant to controversies over the causes and impacts of climate change. This text is geared toward advanced undergraduate and graduate students and researchers in geology, geography, biology, glaciology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, and climate modeling, fields that contribute to paleoclimatology. This volume can also serve as a reference for those requiring a general background on natural climate variability.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2010
Title Paleoclimates: Understanding climate change past and present
Authors Thomas M. Cronin
Publication Type Book
Publication Subtype Monograph
Index ID 70188513
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center