Archives and Proxies along the PEP III Transect
The PEP III Transect (Gasse and Battarbee, this volume) spans an immense range of environmental and cultural diversity. It includes regions that have been the cradle of Old World civilisations dating back many millennia, it is home to some of the most advanced and favoured societies on the planet, some of the least hospitable environments and some of the most vulnerable and economically impoverished peoples on earth. Documenting and understanding the ways in which climate has varied across the whole length of the Transect and teasing out the past interactions between climate and human welfare pose immense challenges to the scientific community. Moreover, the challenges encompass themes that are of outstanding practical importance for our future as well as part of our compulsive fascination with the past.
The challenges require us to make full use of the instrumental record of recent climate variability and this is the concern of the first part of this chapter. But that alone does not suffice.Valuable though it is, the brief instrumental record fails to encompass the full range of natural climate variability in both time and space that has characterised the last few thousand years. In order to provide a record of that variability, it is necessary to turn to a whole range of ‘archives’, both documentary and environmental, and to analyse them using methods that can capture datable and decipherable signals of past variability. For this, we rely largely on what are usually termed ‘proxies’. After outlining the scope for instrumentally based climate reconstructions across the whole length of the Transect, the present chapter seeks to give a brief introduction to the archives and proxies that provide a basis for reconstructing past environmental and climatic variability within the PEP III domain.
KeywordsTree Ring Past Climate Proxy Signature Instrumental Record Climate Reconstruction
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.