Comparative studies are made on the development of lamination in Recent, Paleogene and Permian lake sediments. The study concentrates on the relationship between primary production and lamina formation. The main phytoplankton development in lakes is correlated with environmental changes and it is often preserved in the lamination in chronological succession. Seasonal patterns may be especially represented. Morphological identification and classification of laminites is achieved by studies of Recent lake sediments. This leads to possible comparison, even in badly preserved ancient examples. Paleogene lamination can be clearly correlated with the Recent lamination by the relatively tenuous relationships of the phytoplankton. Permian lake sediments, however, are difficult to decipher, as the phytoplankton species are different or absent as a result of taphonomy. Nevertheless, morphological comparisons suggest periodic sedimentation and lamination development that is clearly similar to that in lakes today. As the same physical properties apply, this seasonal sedimentation can also be used as an additional tool for the reconstruction of environmental and climatic changes in the Carboniferous-Permian boundary strata.
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The climate of the early Earth was probably very warm and has, in general, reduced since the Archean. However, it now seems that the world is about 0.6°C warmer than it was 100 years ago and estimates of the rate of global warming over the next century range from 0.16°C to 0.35°C per decade. Concurrently, global sea-level is predicted to rise from 2.4 to 10 cm per decade. These rates of change are much faster than those normally associated with the geological record, causing geologists and palaeontologists to reassess their data and their forecasts on rates of future change.
With the current interest in global climatic change and, more specifically, with global warming, it is clear that palaeontologists have valuable information to provide on the impacts of past climatic change. This volume contains papers from an international array of such geologists and palaeontologists, showing how studies of micro- and macrofossils, plant and vertebrate fossils from a range of geological ages have contributed to our understanding of how climate affects both local and more widespread areas. The contributions are arranged in geological order, ranging from the Permo-Carboniferous to the post-glacial recovery of the last 18,000 years, with an emphasis on climate change during the last two million years, particularly in NW Europe.
Climates: Past and Present will be of interest to palaeontologists, geologists and palaeoclimatologists who specialize in climatic reconstructions and any professionals enagaged in research into the geological aspects of climate change.