Responses to Quaternary Climate Change
An integrated micropalaeontological approach has been used to characterize the last climatic cycle in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Three gravity cores, drilled in the Gaeta Bay continental shelf, have been analysed by means of quantitative methods applied to different taxonomic groups. In particular, calcareous nannofossils, planktonic Foraminifera, ostracods and palynomorphs have been studied to detect palaeoclimatic trends. The Last Glacial period has been identified in the lower part of two cores (C8 and C9), and an older cold period is represented in the lower part of the more proximal core (C5). The upper part of all the cores clearly records the Holocene period, whereas the Late Glacial period is not always easily detectable. Pollen seems to precede the Holocene climatic optimum. Climatic curves have been reconstructed for all the taxonomic groups and high-resolution palaeobathymetric reconstruction has been inferred on the basis of the ostracod assemblages.
Figures & Tables
Climates: Past and Present
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.