Geological and Historical Aspects of Climatic Change

  • C. E. P. Brooks


The Mild Climates of the Greater Part of Geological Time. The oldest known rocks have been dated by the uranium-lead ratio as having been formed about 1600 million years ago, but the evidences of climate given by these very early deposits are scanty, and it is not until nearly the beginning of the Cambrian period, about 500 million years ago, that a picture of world climate begins to emerge. (The succession of geological periods is shown at the bottom of Fig. 4.) All we can say of the pre-Cam-brian period is that at intervals of a few hundred million years glaciers or ice sheets covered various parts of the world; of the intervening periods we can say nothing. From the beginning of the Cambrian onwards our knowledge of the general level and zonal distribution of temperature becomes increasingly detailed, and it is quite clear that climate has alternated between mild and glacial, but that mildness has prevailed for nearly nine-tenths of the time. It seems appropriate, therefore, to begin this review of geological climates with a study of the warm periods. Two epochs may be selected as typical, the Jurassic and the Eocene.


Solar Radiation Warm Period Glacial Period Interglacial Period Climatic Optimum 
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Copyright information

© American Meteorological Society 1951

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. E. P. Brooks
    • 1
  1. 1.FerringSussexEngland

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