John C. Davis, Geoffrey C. Bohling, 2001. "The Search for Patterns in Ice-Core Temperature Curves", Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change, Lee C. Gerhard, William E. Harrison, Bernold M. Hanson
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Predictions of global climate change are based on large computer-simulation models that are “history-matched” to weather records compiled from the early nineteenth century onward. Climate-change model forecasts would be more convincing if they were based on the natural records of the Holocene (≈10,000 years) and were capable of simulating climate characteristics of this epoch. Temperature records estimated from δ18O measurements on ice cores from the Greenland ice cap and the Antarctic could be used to develop models based on geochronological data rather than historically brief weather records.
The 20-year average record of δ18O values from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) ice core exhibits a long-term trend of declining temperatures over most of the Holocene, except during the last 100 years, when temperatures have increased—a change widely blamed on carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels. However, the range in temperatures since the start of the industrial age is typical for the Holocene, and the current rate of increase in temperatures is unusual but not unprecedented. Past periods of consistently increasing (or decreasing) temperatures have not persisted much longer than the current interval, so temperature trends may well reverse in the near future. There are distinct cyclic patterns in temperatures recorded in the GISP2 ice core, including a pronounced sawtoothed 560-year sequence of relatively abrupt change followed by a gradual reversal. The present trend may be the initial phase of such a pattern. In summary, the present climate does not appear significantly different from the past climate at times prior to industrialization.
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Access A Broad Range of Paleoclimatic Studies. Current debates regarding potential man-induced modification of climate make this volume especially timely. Introductory sections address the major and minor physical controls, or drivers, that affect Earth's climate. Several chapters describe the naturally occurring range of variation of climatic conditions and illustrate past changes in global temperatures. Case studies show how ancient temperature conditions are determined, as well as new techniques that have significant potential as proxies for assessing paleoclimates. Several chapters demonstrate the magnitude and length of duration of numerous temperature variations, which occurred during geologic time periods.