Climatic Change

, Volume 94, Issue 3–4, pp 247–259

The future of the past—an earth system framework for high resolution paleoclimatology: editorial essay



High-resolution paleoclimatology is the study of climate variability and change on interannual to multi-century time scales. Its primary focus is the past few millennia, a period lacking major shifts in external climate forcing and earth system configuration. Large arrays of proxy climate records derived from natural archives have been used to reconstruct aspects of climate in recent centuries. The main approaches used have been empirical and statistical, albeit informed by prior knowledge both of the physics of the climate, and of the processes imprinting climate information in the natural archives. We propose a new direction, in which emerging tools are used to formalize the combination of process knowledge and proxy climate records to better illuminate past climate variability on these time scales of great relevance to human concerns.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Tree-Ring ResearchUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA

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